Alec Cano of Hilmar (4-1) scored a game-high 17 points in Tuesday’s preseason meeting with Denair High (3-3) and the Yellowjackets swarmed to a 50-23 win at home to secure their fourth straight pre-league win.
“Coming off a tournament it was interesting to see how we would do and our intensity needs to increase. We want to prepare for January by grinding it out during December,” said Hilmar Coach Paul Willis.
“Luckily I don’t take too much from a preseason game since we were also shorthanded, but Hilmar did what they had to and played a solid game,” said Denair Coach RJ Henderson. “This gives us an opportunity to improve.”
Denair was playing without their star player in Isaac Starks on Tuesday night which proved to hinder the team’s ability to put points on the scoreboard.
From the onset it just seemed as though the Coyotes of Denair would have a long night trying to put the ball into the basket.
Only 16 points were scored by Denair in the first half alone as Hilmar built a 32-16 lead heading into the break.
“Not the greatest performance but it’s been a tough transition for us to get to where we want to be and things are beginning to settle in and we are assuming our roles as well,” said Willis.
Hilmar forced Denair to play out of sync and maintained a steady level of consistency throughout the game.
Denair was outscored by Hilmar 13-4 in the third quarter and by the end of the fourth, Denair had only scored three points.
Hilmar’s second half run of 18-7 put the nail in the coffin and forced Denair to take their third loss in their previous four games.
“The team needs to come together and learn to play with or without a guy like Starks, so moving forward we know we have a tough road ahead,” said Henderson. “Time to sleep it off and move ahead since we’re playing all these Division I schools in the Godinez tourney.”
Kole Gaglio finished second on the team for Hilmar with 10 points, Nino Ta-a added 7 and Nick Olvera finished with 6 points.
“We have a tough preseason schedule still ahead of us so it will be interesting to see where we are,” Willis added. “The win gives us come confidence and we were focused on a team effort today and had lots of guys score and play good defense for us, but we need to score more off turnovers.”
Hilmar’s next game will be in the Pacific Grove Tournament against Colfax at 8 p.m. Friday.