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May 29, 2023

Gilroy wins first title since 2005-2006 season

The Gilroy High boys basketball has clinched at least a co-championship in the Pacific Coast League Cypress Division. However, the Mustangs (13-10 overall, 8-1 in league) can clinch the title outright in their regular-season finale against second-place St. Francis of Watsonville (7-2 in league) on Thursday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. at Gilroy High. 

Gilroy actually lost its first league game to North Salinas before reeling off eight consecutive victories. The Mustangs, behind 23 points from standout big man Jaylin Williams and 14 points from Drew Gumin, grinded out a 56-49 win over Pajaro Valley in a Feb. 4 contest. Williams, a 6-foot-6 senior center who is built like a tank, has bullied opponents throughout the season.

“[The win] was huge, it got us to CCS,” Williams said. “Now we can go to the playoffs and dominate out there, too.”

Williams was all over boards, grabbing at least 15 rebounds and then turning most of them into second-chance points for Gilroy.

“We came out really fast and I loved that,” Williams said. “We kept the pace going over and over.” 

Williams said that’s how they got ahead big in the first half. They took a 29-18 lead going into halftime. Pajaro Valley pulled to within five points in the third quarter, but the Mustangs extended the lead with a 6-0 run to go up 41-30. Williams said coach Mike Suarez told them in order to close out the game they had to beat Pajaro Valley’s full-court press with precision passing.

“And that’s what we did,” Williams said.    

Suarez said he knew they were facing a great opponent in Pajaro Valley, which had won its previous four games. 

“We knew it wasn’t going to be an easy task,” Suarez said. 

The Grizzlies lost to the Mustangs in their first meeting on Jan. 16 in Watsonville. Suarez said it’s difficult to beat a team twice in the same season.

“Coming in focused and being at home, this was a great win for our whole team and our whole program,” Suarez said.

Suarez said this season is a banner year for the Mustangs as they march toward a league title for the first time since the 2005-2006 season, when it was part of the now-defunct Tri County Athletic League.

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