SALINAS VALLEY — After the Greenfield High girls’ basketball team beat Pajaro Valley last Saturday, the Lady Bruins clinched their first-ever league title; the King City Mustangs team, however, is looking to share part of that history with a win that would make them co-champs of the Santa Lucia Division.
Back on Jan. 24, Greenfield beat King City, 55-35. Anyone watching the last matchup between these teams could see that the Lady Bruins had a clear advantage in height. The halftime score was 30-25, but in the third quarter, Greenfield dominated, outscoring the Mustangs 17-3.
Since that loss, the Lady Mustangs have rattled seven straight wins, and six of those have come by double digits.
King City won’t have any answers to match the Bruins’ height. During their seven-game winning streak, the Lady Mustangs’ defense press has been their key to getting quick turnovers and converting them into easy baskets.
If King City wants to pull off the win on Tuesday night in Greenfield, they will need players Julia Mendez and Liz Hernandez to grab rebounds and limit the Bruins’ offensive rebounding and second-chance points.
During the Lady Mustangs’ seven-game winning streak, their top five scorers — Mendez, Gisela Contreras, Samantha Richardson, Victoria Hamilton and Malaya Carrillo — have either broken their career-best or tied it.
Contreras, who leads the team in points this year, scored a career-high 24 points in her last game against Rancho San Juan.
“I am super excited,” Contreras said. “I know it will be a good matchup and an exciting game to be playing in. The way we’ve been playing recently is setting us up for a good game, bringing in more confidence in not just me but my teammates as well.”
Offensively, the Lady Mustangs will have to hit some outside shots to force the Bruins’ defense zone to leak out to open up more driving lanes. Starting point guard Hamilton will be a vital part of the King City offense, not only assisting but also having to hit a couple of shots at the top of the key to open up her other guards.
This year the Lady Bruins basketball team, regardless of gender, is the best basketball team in the history of Greenfield High School. The win over Pajaro Valley secured the first basketball title in school history.
Since league play started, Greenfield’s nine of 11 wins have been by 20 points or more. Leading the way have been players Jessica Rodriguez and Latai Matalu, who have been double-double machines this year.
One of the most impressive things about the Lady Bruins is their adaptability to play fast and slow. During last Friday’s win over Gonzales, when they were down 16-8, they started to press the Gonzales guards, forcing multiple turnovers to get them back in the game.
Linda Ornelas had a career-high 21 points in the win against Gonzales.
“Going into the game on Tuesday, I feel confident in my team,” Ornelas said. “We have put in a lot of work and we are out here to have fun and prove that we can play. Especially since it is my senior year and the other seniors last year, we want to go out with a bang and have great memories.”
Going into the game on Tuesday, the apparent advantage goes to the Bruins, as they have the size and the depth to play fast if needed.
If the Lady Mustangs are looking for a crack in the Bruins’ shield, all one has to do is look at their last two games. Greenfield’s three-point win against Gonzales was the smallest margin of victory this year, and in the Pajaro Valley game, 36 points was the lowest amount they scored in a win this season.
King City will take on the Bruins on Tuesday, Feb. 15, at 7 p.m. at Greenfield High School.