Hilmar High's boys basketball team was quick to forget their 77-49 loss to Ripon earlier in the week after coming out with guns blazing in Friday's Trans-Valley League battle with Hughson.
For the second time this season Hilmar was able to contain the Huskies of Hughson, but this time by a larger margin of victory and with a total team effort that led to a plethora of rebounds and blocked shots.
Led by Kole Gaglio's game-high 23 points, Hilmar was able to cruise through a 65-35 win to earn the team's fifth TVL win of the year so far.
“The Ripon game really deflated us, but this is a big game because we came out with energy and it should give us energy down the stretch,” said Gaglio. “We just have to keep sharing the ball since good things happen when we share the ball.”
“I always talk about you are only as good as your last loss and of course on Tuesday night, it was pretty bad,” said Hilmar head coach Paul Willis. “We didn't shoot very well so tonight was huge being on the road at Hughson which is big. All we hoped for was to keep the game close cause they can shoot.”
In their first meeting back on Jan. 3, Hilmar topped Hughson in a close 70-66 final.
On Friday night, Hughson struggled to shoot like they did in the first game, while Hilmar kept their composure and made the majority of their shots, especially from three-point range.
One of those was senior Xavier Burke who added five three's for the night, including 19 points for the game.
“We just knew we had to make a statement coming off a game like Ripon, since we lost the last game by a lot, so we had to prove and show we are still a good team in the TVL,” said Burke.
It didn't take long to make that statement true when Burke drained a three in the opening 75 seconds.
From there, Hilmar took off, never trailing for the remainder of the game.
“We got hot right away then Kole kind of kept it going and from there they couldn't handle us and I think the win will help us push for the rest of the season to earn a playoff spot,” said Burke.
The 'Jackets led the Huskies 19-14 after the first and went up 33-26 at halftime.
After that, Gaglio took over the game, scoring 13 of his game-high 23 in the second half alone.
Hughson also struggled to match the overwhelming height advantage of Hilmar with Gaglio and Jonas Tate both standing well above 6-foot-4.
With the aggressiveness on both sides of the court, Hilmar was able to force Hughson at every possession and rarely allowed second chance points.
Tate ended the night with eight points to go with his 12 rebounds and 10 blocks, ending the night with a double-double.
“I didn't think I was actually going to perform as well as I did tonight, but I am really happy I was able to go out and do better than the last game against Ripon,” said Tate. “This game was to prove how we can come back from a big loss, and it was a confidence booster since we can do well.”
The 'Jackets ended the night with a 12-1 run in the fourth quarter to complete the regular season sweep of the Huskies.
Hilmar is 13-8 overall and 5-2 in the TVL while Hughson falls to 12-8 overall and 1-6 in the TVL.
Hilmar's next game will be on the road at Riverbank at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday.