Shades of old rivalry emerge in Gilroy vs Live Oak

Gilroy Mustangs

An old rivalry was renewed with all the bells and whistles Friday night.
The Gilroy boys basketball team rolled by Live Oak for the second time in a week only this time, things got a little heated down the stretch.
There was a technical foul, an intentional foul, fans got loud and heated words between players that brought back memories of a time before Christopher and Sobrato supplanted the traditional rivals.
Despite it all, Gilroy rode a first-half surge to a 56-38 win over Live Oak for the Mustangs’ second win in eight games.
“It got scrappy at the end. That’s what happens when you have a bit of a tempo change in the game. It was just the right type of game for it to get a little bit of messy,” said coach Abrem Estorga. “The Acorn section lit up. That was good. It felt like a little bit like how it should be.”
The Acorns, meanwhile, fell to 1-8 after going down 36-16 at the half.
“Honestly, Jeff is doing a good job with his guys,” Estorga said. “We’re both in the same place—a little bit similar position. What he’s instilling is more than basketball, and the same with us: How to conduct ourselves, how to be resilient and how to face adversity. I think both of us recognize we have some growth areas.”
Kevin Azcueta led all shooters with 15 points, 10 of which came in the first quarter.
“I felt pretty good. I warmed up in the other gym pretty well; got my shot up,” Azcueta said.
Elijah Floyd followed with a double-double putting up 10 and 13, including six points in the opening quarter.
Gilroy rode Azcueta and Floyd’s 16 points to an 18-3 lead after one.
“When they’re clicking and when they have a good rhythm, they’re very hard to stop,” Estorga said. “… Those two guys lifted us up in the beginning and I think our other guys responded. They came focused to play.”
After the early outburst, Gilroy saw balanced scoring the rest of the way, as Connor Doyle put up 11 points to lead a group of seven other players besides Azcueta and Floyd who had points in the game.
Live Oak, meanwhile, struggled to find a consistent stroke, being held without a player cracking double figures for the second night in a row.
Garrett Cardona, Joe Goble and Symon Tan all led the Acorns with seven points. No one else had more than five.
However, that still made for a competitive game.
Live Oak made a run in the third quarter that looked to make things interesting in the fourth.
The Acorns trailed by 12 in the latter minutes of the third and had three possessions that could have brought the deficit down to 10 or less, but the shots didn’t fall.
Finally a free throw by Michael Kropff and a jumper by Doyle put Gilroy up by 15 going into the break.
That 2-minute stretch was highlighted by physical play that the refs let go and finally drew the ire of coach Jeff Yeung who loudly questioned the officiating during the break drawing a technical.
Azcueta hit both free throws to put Gilroy up by 17 and Live Oak couldn’t get back its rhythm of the third quarter.
Live Oak came as close as 48-34, but no closer.
“It’s always good to beat a local team, but we got to stay focused for the next one,” Azcueta said.
Gilroy now has to turn around and play Pacific Grove 3 p.m. Saturday on the road. Live Oak, meanwhile, is off until Jan. 5 when the Acorns host Oakwood.

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