Hilmar High (5-3) went through a rough patch at the Pacific Grove tournament this past weekend, dropping back-to-back games, but the Yellowjackets moved past the minor slump with a big preseason win on Tuesday.
Facing Southern Athletic League’s Orestimba, Hilmar was able to put together a strong game plan that wore down the opposition with an early full-court press and eventually it led to an overall strong performance from the entire roster for head coach Paul Willis.
Alec Cano and Nino Ta-a paved the way with a team-high 15 points for the game and Hilmar broke their two-game losing streak, defeating Orestimba, 65-49, at home on Tuesday night.
“They had a couple players gone but needless to say, we actually played a good team game, shared the ball well and when we were into our rhythm there were nice things especially coming off a couple of losses,” said Willis. “We learned from some of our mistakes.”
They did and it showed on Tuesday night.
A total of eight different players scored for Hilmar.
“That is what I preach all the time, playing like a team,” said Willis. “When we are balanced in scoring, that is when we have proof we can do things.”
In the first quarter alone, Cano, Ta-a and Nick Olvera combined for 18 of the team’s 23 points.
Hilmar forced 14 turnovers and dominated from the beginning, holding Orestimba to only 10 points in the opening quarter while notching 23.
Both sides put up 12 in the second quarter and Orestimba cut the once 18-point lead to only 8 during the third quarter, setting up an interesting fourth.
“It was still tight in the end but luckily our defense was able to hold them off,” Willis said.
Hilmar was able to outscore Orestimba 14-8 in the final quarter to secure the team’s fifth win of the year.
Olvera and Jonas Tate finished with eight points and Kole Gaglio and Xavier Burke each added 7 points for the game.
“It’s about getting back on track and our job is to get ready for January,” Willis added.