The Alvarez High girls basketball team seemed bent on leaving Gilroy High or Alisal High with a bad taste in its mouth.
It ended up being the Eagles’ rivals.
Alvarez stunned Alisal 64-58 on Thursday night in the regular-season finale for both teams.
Alisal had a chance to win at least a share of the Monterey Bay League Pacific Division championship, which would have been its first since 2005.
The Eagles had different plans.
Alvarez finished the game on a 14-1 run in the final 2:34 to pull off the stunner. After the game, the Eagle players jumped up and down and celebrated as the Trojans were left to wonder what if.
Alvarez’s final two games this week were against Gilroy and Alisal, the two teams tied at the top of the Pacific Division standings. It came within three of downing the Mustangs two days before the showdown against Alisal.
The Trojans thought they had finally gained some separation on the home team in the second half. Tied at 40-40 with 48 seconds to go, Rocio Becerra made a shot inside the paint to give the Trojans the lead. After a steal, Brittany Valdez sank a three-pointer, and the Trojan faithful went wild, as the visitors went ahead 45-40 at the end of the third quarter.
Alisal slowly crept the lead upward and eventually got it to nine a couple of times. Becerra got a rebound on a third attempt and put it back in giving Alisal a 55-46 lead with 4:25 to go in the game.
Alvarez suddenly struck, as Deaysia Gamble got back-to-back steals and makes to cut the spread to 55-50 with 3:32 left.
But Alisal stemmed the tide, with Natasha Castro getting a make to give Alisal a 57-50 lead with 3:18 to go.
Neither team could do much in the next few seconds. Alvarez got some steals to prevent Alisal from establishing momentum. Alisal’s defense forced Alvarez into some bad shot attempts.
The tide finally turned with 2:43 to go in the game when Carina Welch got fouled and made one of two free throws.
After a turnover, Alvarez came right back, and Nini Ruiz got fouled from about 15 feet away on the left side and banked in a shot to the roar of the crowd.
Alvarez got a fast break, and Gamble found Welch for two more.
And the Eagles grabbed the lead when Ana Ceja sank a three-pointer in the corner with 1:39 to go, giving the home team a 58-57 advantage.
Alisal still had its eyes on the prize. The Eagles continued to apply pressure and force turnovers. Free throws in the final 90 seconds pushed Alvarez’s lead to two possessions.
Natalia Castro stopped the bleeding with 39 seconds to go by making one of two free throws to get Alisal to within 61-58.
That ended up being Alisal’s last make of the game.
Ruiz led Alvarez with 15 points. Nine came in the second quarter when she sank three three-pointers.
Ceja finished with 13 points and Gamble had 12 points.
For Alisal, Natalia Castro totaled 15 points. Brittany Valdez had 13 points, including nine in the third quarter on three treys. Brilliana Franco had 11 points.
Both teams will next play in the CCS Division I tournament coming up next week, their fate to be decided this weekend.