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Jackets control Coyotes at home in preseason showdown
Hilmar v. denair girls pic1
Hilmar's Hailey Chavez passes Denair opponent Christina Eldridge and attempts a score during Monday's game. - photo by CANDY PADILLA / The Journal

Denair High (0-2) traveled to Hilmar High (2-1) for a friendly preseason contest on Monday afternoon between both girls varsity basketball teams.

Hilmar sophomore Hailey Chavez was critical in Monday’s showdown after adding a double-double for the night. Along with a great defensive effort, the ‘Jackets were able to keep the undersized Coyotes from scoring as they forced 17 steals for the game, leading from start to finish.

Kayley Pettigrew added a game-high 12 points for the game and the ‘Jackets rolled to a 50-20 victory, winning their second of three games to begin the year.

“I felt we had a great team effort. We had our energy on defense; we’ve been preaching a lot and first game of season told us we needed to do better,” said Hilmar Coach Don Inman. “Really we had the defensive energy throughout the game.”

“Our defense was solid for the most part and everyone was being active,” said Denair Coach Taryn Garza. “We will be working on our offensive sets including zone offense. My hope and goal for the girls is to get one day better every day we practice or step out on the court for a game.”

After falling to Orestimba by eight points last week, Hilmar fixed a few things and managed to overcome the poor performance by playing a much more complete game on Monday.

Once the first quarter concluded it seemed as though the game would be within reach after Hilmar pulled out with just a four-point lead to go up 12-8.

“First quarter was an iffy first few minutes and then the kids responded well after that,” said Inman.

The second was a different story after the lady ‘Jackets followed with a 14-4 run to go up 26-12 by the halfway mark.

Denair once again struggled to put up points at the start of the second half, after they scored just four points in each of the final three quarters.

“The energy on defense we had it throughout the game and offensively it took us time to get cooking but once we got it going, we had a good game,” said Inman.

Hilmar’s 42-16 lead by the start of the fourth made it evident that the Coyotes would not be able to overcome the deficit as they dropped their second straight game despite losing by two points to Hughson this past Saturday.

Hilmar’s Chavez finished with a double-double, adding 10 points and 12 rebounds, three assists and four steals. Erin Benning added six points, six rebounds and four blocks of the team’s seven for the game.

Kayley Pettigrew was 4-for-6 from the three-point line as she finished with a game-high 12 points scoring all in the second half.

 “It was a positive step in the direction we need to go,” said Inman. “I felt the defensive effort was everybody working hard.”

Kristin Bello, who led the team with her effective point guard play, tied Chavez for second on the team in points scored with 10. As a team, Hilmar hauled in 40 rebounds for the game as well as coming away with 17 steals.

Denair’s top scorer was Katie Hernandez with eight points. Katie Oliver added six rebounds.

Hilmar’s next game will be at Monterey High at 6 p.m. Thursday.

The next game for Denair will be at home against Stockton Christian at 6:30 p.m. Thursday.