Hilmar varsity boys’ basketball played their best game of the season so far on Tuesday night after hosting Trans-Valley League foe, Riverbank High, in the first meeting of the year.
It was an all-around effort according to head coach Paul Willis who was more than satisfied with the team’s 72-38 rolling of Riverbank after completely dominating the second half.
“We had a great night. Great team effort and played good defense. Limited them to one shot per possession, which helped,” said Willis of picking up the team’s second league win after three games.
Hilmar improves to 10-7 overall and 2-1 in the TVL.
In the 'Jackets last four games, they are 3-1, and have scored 70 or more points in that span. Hilmar has put up 68 or more points in seven of the team’s 10 victories.
“We had some good wins, and some incredibly tough losses and we are starting to see who we are,” said Willis. “I want good ball movement and good team offense and to box out and play good defense. We really want to see our identity and tonight was a good step.”
Hilmar outscored Riverbank 32-22 in the first half and 40-16 in the second half, including a 24-10 run in the third quarter.
All this was led by a tremendous effort from Kole Gaglio and Jonas Tate who controlled the paint and the tempo.
Gaglio dropped a game-high 32 points, including 15 in the third quarter alone to go with his eight rebounds. Tate added a double-double with 11 points and 10 blocks to go with his nine rebounds. Carter Azevedo finished with nine points and seven assists.
“Riverbank is a good team and plays relentless, always man to man pressing, but we did some good things offensively and good things happened,” said Willis. “We had guys who stepped up all over the place and that gave us confidence.”
Up just 10 at the half, Hilmar made some adjustments according to Willis and it paid off in the end.
Hilmar took away the middle and forced the outside shots, which gave them the edge with their far superior height advantage.
“We got used to the pace of the game. It was a fast game, which usually we don't play well in and it sort of continued in the second and we slowed things down and defense picked up,” said Willis.
Junior Devin Petitt of Hilmar dropped a pair of three's in the second quarter and seniors Xavier Burke and Zach Berberia contributed on both ends of the court.
The drastic lead change occurred almost instantaneously and with about five minutes remaining in the game, Hilmar was up by 27.
“The TVL is a tough win and anytime you can get a win its well-earned, it’s always like that, win or lose, it’s a tough league and tonight was well earned,” said Willis of the win. “We have a tough league on the road, so we have to take care of home and we did tonight, we took care of our home.”
Hilmar will host Ripon Christian at 7:30 p.m. Friday.