GIRLS HOOPS: Mustangs grind out 57-47 victory over Spirits

Gilroy's Dani Hemeon looks for a pass as she drives down the

Behind a 14-point second half from Chelsea Hill and a reliable
defense, the Mustangs avoided the upset 57-47, extending their
winning streak to 10 games.
Taking the floor for the first time in a week, seven days removed from an intense three-point victory over league power North Salinas, the Gilroy High girls basketball team looked out of sync as they struggled against a troublesome Notre Dame squad in Tri-County Athletic League action Tuesday night in Gilroy.

However, behind a 14-point second half from Chelsea Hill and a reliable defense the Mustangs avoided the upset 57-47, extending their winning streak to 10 games.

“We came off of that North Salinas game, I think there was a lot of emotion involved there. Sometimes you have to have a reality check, and tonight I think we got it,” GHS head coach Tim Jones said. “That reality check was, you can’t turn it on and off. It’s not at your disposal to just say we are going to play when we want to play.”

At the onset, the week layoff seemed to have minimal effect on the Mustangs. Five quick points from Ashley Lambert and another four from Ashlee Williams gave Gilroy a 9-2 lead three minutes into the contest.

But a five-minute scoring drought left the Mustangs down 12-9 at the end of the opening quarter and uncharacteristic turnovers and missed layups littered the rest of a discombobulated first half.

“We were lackadaisical, throwing the ball away and never did anything that we had been doing up until this point of the season,” Jones said.

A three-point play at the second quarter buzzer converted by Hill salvaged the tie heading into the break.

“You couldn’t ask for anything more than that in that situation,” Jones said.

Knotted at 26-all to start the third quarter, Hill drained a 3-pointer on the Mustangs’ (13-1, 4-0 TCAL) first possession of the half, giving Gilroy its first lead since the five minute mark of the first quarter.

The Mustangs proceeded to outscore the Spirits 18-6 in the third quarter to open a 44-32 advantage into the fourth. But the Mustangs were not out of the woods yet.

“We had a little bit of momentum in the third quarter and built a bit of a lead,” Jones said. “And then we went back to what we had been doing in the first half.”

Spirits’ (9-8, 2-3 TCAL) forward Alyxis Guerra caught fire in the final period, posting 10 points, including a 3-pointer – one of two in the quarter – to pull the visitors within nine points with 3:40 to play. Mariel Bush narrowed the gap to seven on the Spirits’ following trip down the floor.

Michelle Sosa kept the Spirits at a comfortable distance, though, scoring the next four points for the Mustangs and a pair of Hill free throws iced the victory and called for a collective sigh of relief.

“We played a little out of character tonight,” Jones said.

The Mustangs conclude the week’s schedule with a road date against Alisal on Thursday night at 7 p.m. in Salinas.

NOTES: Hill finished with a game high 23 points, while Sosa, Lambert and Williams all contributed eight points apiece. Kaylana Mah had six to round out the leading point producers.

The victory keeps the Mustangs’ home record clean at 6-0. GHS’s last loss came on Dec. 7 against Mountain View.

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