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July 6, 2022

Basketball | King City Lady Mustangs turn season around

KING CITY — South Monterey County athletics have been fortunate that Covid-19 hasn’t postponed any games as of late, but due to delays earlier in the season, the King City Mustangs girls’ basketball team had to play four games in five days.

At the beginning of the week, the Lady Mustangs were behind Greenfield for first place in the Santa Lucia Division.

Their first game was on the road against Pacific Collegiate, which they beat earlier in the season 50-15. King City dominated them again with a final score of 62-15 — the highest point total that the Lady Mustangs have scored this season.

All season, King City’s Gisela Contreras has provided the Lady Mustangs with the instant offense as its leading scorer. She led the team with 10 points to beat Santa Catalina, 51-34.

The third game in three days proved the most difficult because Gonzales’ Angel Martinez, one of the best players in the entire Pacific Coast Athletic League, was coming into town. The Lady Spartans needed to win two of their remaining four games to make the playoffs.

King City’s starting point guard Victoria Hamilton hits a three in her fourth game in five days. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

Going into the game for the Mustangs, the game plan was to get the ball out of Martinez’s hands and force someone else to beat them.

“That was pretty much the game plan,” said Victoria Hamilton, King City’s starting point guard. “Last game, they had her cherry-pick on us. We just played aggressively, and once they got the rebound, we had to find her in transition and make sure someone was guarding her.”

The Lady Mustangs’ aggressive play got them off to an early 6-0 run to start the game, but Martinez scored five of Gonzales’ seven first-quarter points. The Mustangs still outscored the Lady Spartans in the first, 8-7.

In the second quarter, Gonzales was able to stand the Mustangs’ second unit and take their first lead of the game, 10-8.

That lead didn’t last long when Hamilton, who led the King City team in assists and steals, got back in the game. She scored six points in the second quarter to help reclaim the lead at half, 15-14.

“I was feeling confident coming out,” Hamilton said. “I did pretty well last game. So coming into this game, I just carried that momentum.”

In the second half, the Mustangs played fast and aggressively, forcing turnovers and getting easy baskets. The Mustangs increased their lead to 33-26 at the end of the third.

“Throughout the season, we have been working hard on our conditioning,” Contreras said. “It really helps out, and that’s why we have been winning this week.”

Contreras finished with 14 points, shooting 3-5 from the field.

In King City’s win against Gonzales, Samantha Richardson finished with a season-high 14 points, going 4-5 from the field and 2-3 from the three-point line. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

Gonzales didn’t go away, as they came back in the fourth only to be down one point. When King City’s Samantha Richardson checked back in, she took over and hit two threes to help the Lady Mustangs secure the win, 50-39.

Richardson finished with a season-high 14 points, going 4-5 from the field and 2-3 from the three-point line.

The Mustangs capped off their week by beating Pajaro Valley, 52-40, which gave them four double-digit wins this week.

After starting the season 2-4, King City has turned it around, going 8-1 since their last loss to Paso Robles. The Lady Mustangs are two wins away from setting up a date with Greenfield for the league title.

“It was a long week,” said King City Head Coach Frank Padilla Jr. “But we came out 4-0, and that was our goal at the beginning of the week. We are just trying to keep pace with the number one team. Hopefully, we get two more wins and set up a nice match-up with Greenfield at the end of the season.”

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.
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