Dominant second half propels Gilroy to big win over Monterey

Gilroy Mustangs

Ahead of Tuesday’s start to league play, the Gilroy girls basketball team got a much-needed win in very convincing fashion.
The Mustangs downed Monterey thanks to a dominant second half, 50-26.
Gilroy and Monterey were tied 14-all going into the half when the Mustangs came out firing.
Led by Adina Valencia’s nine points in the third quarter, Gilroy outscored the Toreadores 17-5 en route to a 36-point second half.
Coach Mitchell Pierce said he really didn’t have to say much to get the girls going for the second half. He said halftime was low key but the players bought into what the coaches were telling them.
“It wasn’t much of a halftime speech. It was more going over the plays and going over what our adjustments were going to be,” Pierce said. “They just came out and got into what we talked about and they executed. I’ll take it.”
Valencia led all shooters with 18 points for the game, followed by Maddy Cox with 11 points, including seven in the fourth quarter.
Pierce also gave major credit to his younger players for giving quality minutes on the floor, especially in the pivotal third quarter.
“We saw some of our freshmen get into the flow of the game more,” Pierce said. “As they get more into the game, I think it’s just going to help all the more. So Alyssa Harden and Vanessa Zazoya and obviously Maggie (Brinkman) is starting for us. Our the juniors are carrying us, but when the freshmen are able to get in and get into the flow of the game, I think they are all the more starting to find a stride.”
Gilroy came out cold for the first five minutes of the game, not hitting a shot until Jackie Morales broke the streak with a free throw.
That opened the flood gates.
Morales missed her second free throw, but Valencia was there for the rebound and drained a 3-pointer that kicked off a 10-point run for a 10-2 lead after one quarter.
That lead didn’t hold, however, as the Mustangs’ offensive woes continued into the second quarter.
Being held to four points, Gilroy watched as Monterey erased the deficit and forced a tie going into halftime.
Monterey dominated the boards allowing the Toreadores to put up their best quarter of the game.
However, out of the break, Gilroy took off early and didn’t look back and it began to wear on the Toreadores.
“I felt like the bench came in and was able to get into the game and help us. I think that was a key factor in the third quarter,” Pierce said.
Monterey committed 20 turnovers in the second half and eventually frustration got the better of the girls resulting in a technical foul when a player reacted with anger after a jump ball call.
After that call, and subsequent free throws, Gilroy went on a 17-0 run that carried into the fourth quarter when it finally ended with Monterey down 42-21.
From there, Gilroy ran away with things, putting up 19 points in the fourth quarter for its second win of the season.
Gilroy had a hard-luck loss to Carmel on Jan. 2, falling 40-34 where the Mustangs started with just six players available.
“I think we needed a W. We had some close games. We played with five people most of the game against Carmel. We had six but Alyssa sprained her ankle in the first two minutes,” Pierce said. “We pretty much played the game with five people. It was a game we had an opportunity to win. We played hard.
“We have a little more momentum on the win side and I think this team can compete and we’re hoping to start tomorrow against Salinas.”
The Mustangs take on Salinas 7 p.m. at home Tuesday night to kick off Gabilan Division play.