Mustangs to be Tested in Stacked Mitty Tournament

The record is impressive but the list of opponents hasn’t been
for the most part this season.
Gilroy – The record is impressive but the list of opponents hasn’t been for the most part this season.

That changes today for the Gilroy girls’ basketball team when it competes in the Archbishop Mitty New Year’s Classic. It’s a tournament loaded with quality teams.

Start with the host school, which has been ranked in the top 10 nationally this season. The Monarchs’ only loss is to unbeaten Collins Hill, Ga., considered by some as the finest team in the country. They own a 13-point win over highly regarded Christ the King from New York. But Gilroy wouldn’t even have to face Mitty unless it reaches the final.

And the first-round game for the Mustangs against St. Francis-Mountain View provides enough of a challenge to start.

Forget the Lancers’ 3-5 record because their quality of opponents has been top notch. St. Francis has dropped four straight entering the tournament.

The Lancers have a sharpshooter in Kelsey Houlihan and height in 6-2 Ali Geppert. Like Gilroy, the Lancers have had a long break since their last game Dec. 16 when they dropped a 45-43 decision to Santa Cruz.

“They’re a West Catholic League team so you know they will be good,” GHS assistant coach Ana Patejdl said.

The Mustangs (7-1) will be short-handed as they are still awaiting the return of junior Amanda Spellman, who has yet to receive medical clearance for her injured ankle. They will, however, have Vanessa Wilkins back in the lineup. Wilkins missed the last game against Yerba Buena with a deep thigh bruise.

“We will know where we are and where we need to be after this weekend,” GHS head coach James Wilkins said. “This will undoubtedly help us for the TCAL season.”

Coach Wilkins takes a long-range view of this tournament. He told his girls he was more concerned with how they played than whether they won or lost.

“I do not worry about the record,” Wilkins said. “That’s not what we’re after at this point. If we go and show we can compete and hang in there I will be happy.”

If there is one advantage the Mustangs have coming into the game, it’s that they have been successful in close games. GHS, currently on a four-game win streak although idle since Dec. 15, won the first three of those games by a total of 12 points. Meanwhile, St. Francis has dropped their last two games by a total of six points.

The Lancers, however, are averaging almost 50 points a game with Gilroy a shade under 40. Thus, the Mustangs will not only have to score more points but will need maintain their defense which has yet to permit more than 43 points in a game this season.

Mitty Tournament

Today’s schedule

Davis (9-2) vs. Valley Christian (9-1), 1pm

Gilroy (7-1) vs. St. Francis-Mountain View (3-5), 3pm

Sequoia (3-4) vs. Presentation (8-1), 5pm

Soquel (6-4) vs. Archbishop Mitty (5-1), 7pm