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Hilmar handles Orestimba
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Hilmars Valerie Ewing heads for the basket in the face of an Orestimba defender during Mondays win. - photo by FRANKIE TOVAR / The Journal

Hilmar High redirected its ship Monday night when the Orestimba High Warriors rolled into town. After dropping consecutive games to Modesto Christian and Riverbank High, the Yellowjackets (17-6 overall, 5-5 TVL) saved their Trans Valley League season with a dominant 57-41 victory over the Warriors (5-20 overall, 0-10 TVL) to put them in the top tier of league standings.

“We needed to get some momentum back before playoffs,” Hilmar’s head coach Don Inman said.

Senior Oliviah Gemperle continued her campaign as Hilmar’s leading scorer with a 22 point effort against Orestimba—her fifth game this season with 20 or more points. Gemperle stood tall in the paint for the majority of her buckets and was regularly sent to the free throw line where she went 9 for 14. Gemperle also led the night in rebounds—a category in which she also leads this season— alongside her twin sister Savannah with 11 rebounds apiece.

“Oliviah’s very, very consistent,” Inman said. “We moved her to forward this year to take advantage of her rebounding ability; she brings her game every night.”

Hilmar and Orestimba batted the lead back and forth in the opening minutes of the first quarter but the ‘Jackets eventually took and maintained the lead despite their difficulty finding offensive rhythm. By the second half the combination of the Gemperle sisters, Dominique Miranda, and Kinsey Pettigrew quickly put distance between the ‘Jackets and Warriors that was never covered.

Second place Ripon High and arch-rival Escalon High are all that remains on Hilmar’s schedule as the ‘Jackets seek a third place TVL finish before the start of the post-season. Hilmar hosts Ripon on Thursday before traveling to Escalon the following day.

“With Ripon, you have to play without mistakes,” Inman said. “We’re going to have to play our best basketball of the season.”