BOYS HOOPS: Mustangs defeat Alisal, look toward first-place Salinas

Go mustangs!

Mustangs move to 4-1 in league, travel to play first-place
Salinas on Wednesday.
Chima Ikeme posted 16 points and 15 rebounds, Dietrich Baumgartner had 11 and Ryan Valentino-Pickett scored 10 as the Gilroy High boys basketball team flipped the switch after a slow first quarter and sent away visiting Tri-County Athletic League opponent Alisal 77-57 on Monday night.

Down by seven (20-13) at the start of the second quarter, an 11-0 run provided the cornerstone for things to come for the Mustangs.

Baumgartner’s three lay-ups at the tail end of steals on the defensive side, plus a pair of Cameron Yawary short-range buckets, highlighted the run. However, with both teams not afraid to play high-tempo, get-out-and-run basketball, the pace quickened allowing the Trojans to stick around. Behind the hot hand of Marc Farfan, who had 19 first-half points on 8-of-8 from the floor, the Trojans, despite being outscored 26-13 in the second quarter, were only down 39-31 at halftime.

The lead stayed at eight through the third quarter where the Mustangs relentless lineup changes and substitutions, coupled with the blistering pace, began to take its toll on the Trojans as the advantage ballooned. Six different Mustangs registered points in the final period.

“Our depth gives people trouble,” GHS head coach Matt Tait said. “I’m playing 16 guys every night and that helps us wear people out.”

It didn’t take long for the cushion to expand. A Valentino-Pickett trey to begin the fourth followed by a converted take to the hoop from Baumgartner and two Chris Catanzaro lay-ups in transition opened the flood gates for a 20-8 fourth.

The Mustangs (11-6, 4-1 TCAL) now shift their focus to Wednesday night and another league road test against first-place Salinas to wrap up the first half of league play.

The Cowboys (16-1, 5-0 TCAL) haven’t lost since Dec. 18.

“Everything is a step and right now Salinas is the big dog in the league right now,” Tait said. “They are big and their guards are tough. They are coached well and they do what they do well if you let them, as is everybody else. But we are trying take them out of what they do anyways. It will be a battle of wills.”

Tait said that though his team lacks some size in comparison to the Cowboys, he is looking for the tempo to be a key factor.

“We are doing the things that we want to do,” he said.”Our tempo will be more of an issue for Salinas than it is for Alisal.”

The two teams split the season series a year ago with each winning on its respective home floor.

League standings through 1/24 Overall League

Salinas 16-1 5-0

Gilroy 11-6 4-1

San Benito 9-9 4-2

Palma 11-6 3-2

Everett Alvarez 8-8 1-4

N.Salinas 6-9 1-4

Alisal 5-11 0-5

JV NOTE:

Brandan Holler deposited 12 points while Ron Reed nabbed 12 rebounds as the Gilroy High junior varsity basketball team took care of business against Alisal 58-24 on Monday.

Tommy Cox had 10 points and David Gonzalez contributed nine points and four steals in the win, which moved the Mustangs to 13-4 overall and 4-1 in league.

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