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King City
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August 17, 2022

Girls Basketball | King City Mustangs’ season comes to an end

KING CITY — The last time the King City Mustang girls’ basketball team won a league game was in 2018; this year’s team, however, broke that streak with a season to remember.

In the past four years, the Lady Mustangs have gone 0-20 in league games. King City senior player Victoria Hamilton, who has been on the varsity team since her freshman year, was hoping to finally win a league game in her final year.

“Going into my senior year, I was 0-20,” Hamilton said. “I was hoping just to win some games this season. I wasn’t expecting to come in second place in our league.”

At the beginning of the season, the Lady Mustangs didn’t start great. They were 2-4 in the preseason, but that didn’t shake their confidence.

“We were playing teams in a higher league than us,” said teammate Gisela Contreras. “We knew that we were going to face those types of teams in our league.”

On Jan. 6, King City played Santa Catalina in their first league game. The Lady Mustangs were able to snap their 20-game losing streak by winning 59-34.

“This was a huge accomplishment for us this year,” Hamilton said. “The first league game we won this year, I hugged coach Frank (Padilla) and told him we finally won.”

In 11 of the 12 league games, the Lady Mustangs went 10-1 with a chance to be co-champs in the Santa Lucia Division. The only team standing in the way was the Greenfield Bruins, who had already beaten them earlier in the year.

Again, King City came up short against the Lady Bruins, 48-41. After the Feb. 15 loss and the playoffs uncertain, the realization that they may have played their final game this season started to set in for the Lady Mustangs.

“I was sad,” Hamilton said. “I thought we had a good chance to beat Greenfield. At the same time, I thought this was the last time I would get to play with all my friends.”

This year’s team had a total of six seniors. Most of them have been playing basketball together way before high school.

“We have been best friends since middle school,” Contreras said. “I remember us winning first place in a tournament in middle school. We had high hopes for high school.”

At last, King City got the call that their season would be continuing, and they were put in the CCS Division III bracket with a first-round game against Monterey.

Right before the Feb. 18 playoff game, one of the King City players tested positive for Covid-19. Then, in the game’s third quarter, Hamilton left with a knee injury. Monterey wound up winning, 59-32, ending the Lady Mustangs’ season.

“This year was very emotional playing my final games with them,” Contreras said. “I didn’t think that the time would go by so fast. I was playing a sport with my favorite people, which made it even harder to let go of.”

This year’s senior class of girls might not have won the league title, but they were able to give life to a program that had been down for many years.

“It was overall a great experience,” Hamilton said. “I wouldn’t have traded it for the world.”

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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