It’s not about how you start, it’s about how you finish.
That’s the story of the 2012-13 North Salinas High girls basketball team.
After a 2-2 start in the MBL Gabilan Division, the Vikings reeled off eight straight league wins — and ninth overall — to win their fourth league title in seven years.
To clinch the title, North Salinas defeated Hollister 43-33 on Thursday night at home. The Vikings claimed the title outright by virtue of Seaside’s win over Christopher. North Salinas and Christopher came into Thursday tied at 9-2 atop the league.
The Vikings (19-5 overall) shrugged off a slow start, going 0-for-8 from the field in the first five minutes, to finally catch and pass the Haybalers (13-11, 7-5 league) in the third quarter.
Trailing 18-13 late in the second quarter, North Salinas got back-to-back steals and lay-ups from Allyah Urzua and Nicole Hermosillo-Wright in the final 37 seconds to cut it to 18-17. Wright’s lay-up came as the buzzer sounded.
Hollister scored the first basket of the second half at the 6:56 mark of the third quarter, but instead of fueling the Balers, it awakened the Vikings.
North Salinas went on a 14-2 run to close the third quarter with a 31-22 lead. Keying the game-changing run was Darjhian Tennant and Wright. Tennant scored two inside hoops and Wright hit a pull-up jumper and later completed a four-point play that put the Vikings up 29-22 with 4:59 left in the third quarter.
Hollister, which didn’t make a basket for the field for nearly 13 minutes covering the third and fourth quarters, managed to stay in the game at the free-throw line. The Haybalers made six straight free throws to pull to within 33-28 with 4:35 to play in the game.
North Salinas answered with three offensive rebound put-backs by Tennant to make it 39-32 with 1:13 left. The Vikings closed the game knocking in all four of their free throws in the final minute.
Tennant finished with a game-high 20 points and nine rebounds, Wright had eight points, Kayla Harper seven points and 12 rebounds and Alyssa Springs’ eight rebounds.
Hollister was led by Denise Martinez’s nine points.
Seaside 43, Christopher: 37: At Seaside, the Spartans spoiled the Cougars’ chance of sharing the MBL Gabilan title.
Sabrina Neal led the Spartans with 17 points. The Spartans finished 15-8 overall and 7-5 in league.
Christopher finished the regular season 15-6 and 9-3 in league.
King City 65, Soledad 39: MTAL tournament at King City, behind a huge team effort, the Mustangs ran past the Aztecs in the second half.
After gaining a seven-point lead at halftime, King City outscored Soledad 35-16 in the second half to move into the MTAL tournament finals today against Pacific Collegiate. The game will be played at 6:30 p.m. today.
For King City, Sarah Shepherd, Jessica Davis, Allyson Hughes and Savannah Valladarez combined for 53 points of Mustangs’ points. The Mustangs improved to 17-8 overall
Soledad’s Felicia Villarruel scored 18 points and Meg Paraguya had 11 points. The Aztecs finish the regular season 15-8 and will be seeded in the CCS tournament on Sunday.
Salinas 54, Notre Dame 47: At Salinas, the Cowboys swept the season series against the Vikings, finishing up at 14-12 overall and 5-7 in the MBL Gabilan Division.
The Cowboys were powered by a 24-point second quarter in this one after Notre Dame shot out to a 16-7 lead in the first quarter.
Salinas spread the offensive around, with no players registering double figures. Notre Dame’s Sarah Muzik led all scorers with 18 points. The Spirits finished the year 12-12 and 4-8 in league.
Pacific Collegiate 58, Santa Catalina 42: MTAL Tournament at Santa Catalina, the top-seeded Pumas, who finished unbeaten in league play, defeated the No. 4 Cougars behind Morgan Green’s 39 points.
The Cougars were led by Kylie Moses’ 21 points and seven rebounds and Tierney Hightower’s 18 points and six rebounds.
Santa Catalina will play at Coastal Divison champion Anzar today for the right to earn the fourth automatic seed out of the MTAL.
Monte Vista Christian def. Alvarez: At MVC, the Mustangs defeated the Eagles to earn a share of the MBL Pacific Division with Watsonville.
Pacific Grove 45, Greenfield 38: MTAL Tournament at Greenfield, the No. 3 Breakers upset the No. 2 Bruins thanks to the efforts of Luke Lowell’s 16 points and Jordan Borne’s 11.
For Greenfield, Noah Huerta finished with 14 points and Josue Gutierrez and David Vega 10 points each. Despite the loss, Greenfield automatically qualifies for the CCS tournament.
Pacific Grove will play at No. 1 seed Carmel in the tournament finals. Carmel defeated King City in Thursday’s other tourney semifinal.
Alisal 6, Gilroy 1: At Gilroy, Lorenzo Vasquez ended the regular season with a bang — scoring four goals and assisting on the other two goals as the Trojans finished the regular season unbeaten.
Also picking up goals were Santiago Morales and Willy Miranda. Miranda, Morales and Jesus Mitra also assisted.
Alisal finished 17-0-3 overall and 10-0-2 in the MBL Gabilan Divison.
Alisal will take its 49-match unbeaten streak into the playoffs next week.
Watsonville 3, Pajaro Valley 0: At Watsonville, the win moved the Wildcatz into second place in the MBL Gabilan Division with a 6-5-1 record.
Pajaro Valley finished third in the league at 5-5-2.
Salinas 1, North Monterey County 1: At Salinas, the Cowboys scored a second-half goal to come out with a draw against the Condors.
North Monterey County (9-8-3, 4-6-2 MBL Gabilan) got its goal in the first half off the foot of Angel Flores.
Salinas finished the regular season at 4-5-3 in the MBL Gabilan Division.
Monterey 3, Palma 0: At Palma, Edgar Plascencia had a goal and two assists to help the Toreadores finish the regular season with a win.
Nash Pesic and Hyunsik Lee had the other goals for Monterey. Goalkeeper Tim Morse made two saves.
Palma’s Eduardo Paz had five saves. The Chieftains finished the year 7-10-2 overall and 3-7-2 in MBL Pacific.