Mustangs jump out big, hang on against Pajaro Valley


Gilroy won its game against Pajaro Valley Friday, but the Mustangs were left reeling after it was over.
The Grizzlies held the Mustangs to five points out of halftime and got to within three points inside of the final 90 seconds of the game. But Gilroy held on thanks to strong freethrow shooting to win 47-42.
Gilroy Coach Abrem Estroga gave massive credit to the Grizzlies coach Andre Bailey for getting PV on the right track.
“They have displayed a tremendous amount of progress in one year’s time,” Estorga said. “It’s not that we played bad; they made us play bad. That was something we didn’t expect. It took us off guard.”
Gilroy came out swinging in the first round, putting up 17 points behind Connor Doyal’s seven points and Pedro Tapia’s pair of 3s.
The defense held Pajaro to four points and the lead grew to 15 at the half.
While the Grizzlies got back into the game with 11 points in the second quarter, Alex Benevides got rolling with six points in the post.
And Gilroy did it without some big guns down the stretch.
Tapia got injured diving for a loose ball, one other player was benched a second didn’t see time until the second half.
Kevin Azcueta kept Gilroy afloat with his five points that allowed the Mustangs to maintain a 10-point edge.
Then to start the fourth quarter, things got interesting.
Pajaro Valley got on a 12-3 scoring run to pull within two at 39-37.
From there it was a slugfest where both sides traded blows, but neither could knock the other to the floor.
Estorga called timeout and said he reminded the boys that they needed to focus on each possession.
“We’ve had a problem focusing every possession,” Estorga said. “One possession at a time, is pretty good. We can focus on that and execute, especially on the defensive side. When we don’t focus we allow a lot of bad things to happen. We rely on our help and rotation rather than playing straight up defense.”
After seeing its lead shrink to two, Gilroy went on a 5-0 run all from freethrows.
Eventually, Pajaro Valley ran out of time.
“Bishop Hayes came in and he did well. He got a couple of offensive boards and made some freethrows at the end. Really he did what our game-plan was: Attack the paint and make a high-percentage shot,” Estorga said. “He hasn’t always done that in games and today we needed him and he stepped up.”
That and Pajaro Valley didn’t foul inside of 40 seconds down by four.
“Sometimes we benefit from a missed opportunity, so we were thankful for that,” Estorga said.
Estorga said he put a lineup on the floor anticipating the foul, but Pajaro Valley seemed content to force a turnover or a bad shot, which allowed Gilroy to milk precious clock.
Doyle led with 11 points for Gilroy, followed by Azcueta with 10.
Tapia, Benevides and Jonny Olvera all had six points in the effort.


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