Gilroy High senior Sam Guerrero, seen here in game action last season, is the top returner for a boys basketball team that has shown the ability to win close games against evenly-matched teams, a positive sign for this season. File photo.

If the Gilroy High boys basketball team plays like it did in a 58-51 win over Live Oak High on Nov. 30, Mustangs coach Joe Te will be satisfied. 

It wasn’t just the end result that Te was happy with—it was the determination, effort and execution the team displayed that got the coach excited. 

“I love their attitudes, they’re willing to learn and that’s all I can ask for,” he said. “(Going forward) I just want us to get better and get more disciplined because I think we’ll win some games when we’re a lot more disciplined than other teams are.”

The Mustangs, who entered the week 2-1, host their annual Bob Hagen Tournament from Dec. 8-10. Anzar, Live Oak, Sobrato, Lincoln, Evergreen Valley and Aptos are in the field. Gilroy opens tournament action with Anzar on Dec. 8 at 8pm. 

Te is hopeful the Mustangs play like they did against Live Oak. In a game of evenly matched teams, Gilroy got the jump on the Acorns with a 24-12 second quarter run, erasing an 11-7 deficit after the opening quarter. 

Gilroy managed to double up the Acorns in the second despite a plethora of fouls that put Live Oak in the double bonus with 4 minutes, 25 seconds left until halftime. Senior guard Devin Montes was the only GHS player to hit double figures with 12 points, though Sam Guerrero, Isaiah Anaya and Danny Sanchez scored nine points each. 

A versatile 6-foot-2 senior forward, Guerrero is the team’s best player and a difference-maker in that he can create his own shot. 

“Sam is the heart and soul of the team for sure,” Te said. “Him, Isaiah Anaya, Dylan Allinson and Devin Montes have been with us since their freshman year so they’re all pretty solid.”

Montes plays bigger than his 5-6 frame and is a ferocious perimeter and on the ball defender. Sanchez is one of the team’s main ball-handlers and displayed some dribble-drive ability in the Live Oak game. Anaya also has the ability to get to the basket off dribble penetration. 

Senior forward Juan Cervantes was strong on the boards and played well in whatever set the team ran. Sophomore forward Kaiden Gonzalez provided the team with solid play and 6-4 junior center Joshua Aldape is raw but eager to learn and develop, Te said. 

Montes hit a running floater to beat the shot clock buzzer and give Gilroy its largest lead, 49-38, with 6:14 to go. On the team’s previous possession, Montes scored on a similar drive to the basket. Allinson had another solid game and blocked a Live Oak 3-point shot attempt with 10 seconds left to put an exclamation point on the victory.

Guerrero will be relied upon for his ability to score, rebound and defend, and for being one of the more experienced players on the team. The lefty had a terrific season last year and is one of the more consistent players around. 

Gilroy graduated eight seniors off last year’s team and even though it returned a handful of players who saw significant varsity minutes a year ago, it takes time for a team to get in sync and play as one seamless unit. 

“We’re trying to get to know each other again as half the team is old and half the team is new,” Te said. “Being together is the best part of this. We did a lot for summer league but the problem is we didn’t have most of these guys. The core five was there, but the new five was not.”

The Mustangs could take satisfaction knowing they edged St. Francis of Watsonville and Live Oak in their first two games of the season, opponents similar in talent level. 

“We’re finding close ways to win,” Te said. “It starts with discipline and trust.”

The Gilroy players displayed plenty of scrappiness against Live Oak and Te said that would be a huge positive if they continued to play with that type of intensity and attitude the rest of the way. 

“I hope that scrappiness is in them, but I know I try to instill that every single day in practice,” he said. “We try to go after each other and try to get better. We don’t have the athletic ability as some teams but together we can do some damage. I always tell them last time I checked, it’s still a team game, so that’s all we have to do.”

Sports editor Emanuel Lee can be reached at [email protected]

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Emanuel Lee primarily covers sports for Weeklys/NewSVMedia's Los Gatan publication. Twenty years of journalism experience and recipient of several writing awards from the California News Publishers Association. Emanuel has run eight marathons with a PR of 3:13.40, counts himself as a true disciple of Jesus Christ and loves spending time with his wife and their two lovely daughters, Evangeline and Eliza.


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