King City’s defense wasn't enough for the Soledad Aztecs, who beat the Mustangs 52-43, on Jan. 21. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

SALINAS VALLEY — The Covid-19 aftereffects are leaving some South Monterey County basketball teams to play multiple games a week to make up for previous cancellations.

“We were only able to get two practices this week,” said Soledad Aztecs head coach Nick Twitchell, whose team played four games last week. “The stuff we need to get through and workout has been hard to get to.”

However, it didn’t stop the Aztecs from going 2-1 in the week. With only one more game against the King City Mustangs, would they have enough gas left?

The Aztecs showed no signs of fatigue as they made the King City offense turn over the ball and rush their shots on Jan. 21. Soledad led the Mustangs 14-3 at the end of the first quarter.

The Mustangs’ defense started to show up as they began to force some turnovers to cut the Aztecs’ lead to 10.

Soledad’s Daniel Raso looks to score against King City on Jan. 21. (Jason Gallardo/Staff)

Coming into this game, King City had been off for about a week due to postponements. After winning their league opener against Marina, the Mustangs dropped their last two games.

The off-shooting continued for the Mustangs as Soledad took a 28-17 lead at halftime.

King City shot their way back in the game, with Jjey Martinez hitting four threes in the third quarter to pull them within eight points at one time.

The Aztecs’ Jason Mendoza capitalized on a couple of King City turnover mistakes and finished the third quarter on a run to increase his team’s lead to 44-35 at the end of the third.

The Mustangs shooting continued in the fourth quarter, as they cut the lead from 11 to six points with 5:21 left in the game.

Soledad wouldn’t allow King City to get any closer, with Mendoza driving the ball and getting fouled. He sunk two free throws that ended the King City run.

Soledad won the game 52-43, making the Aztecs 3-1 this past week. Mendoza led the Aztecs in scoring with 24 points, while Martinez led King City in points.

“We saw a lot of things we could exploit through Jason,” Twitchell said. “That’s why he had a really good game.”

Soledad will play another three games this week due to previous matches being rescheduled.

For the Mustangs, they will have another chance against the Aztecs this Wednesday, Jan. 26, at home in King City.

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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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