The Salinas High boys basketball team has had its share of hot streaks and cold spells this year, but it turned up the heat just in time Tuesday night.
Trailing by seven at halftime, the Cowboys scored the first 10 points of the second half and never trailed the rest of the way in beating Alvarez 64-53 in a first round Central Coast Section Division I game in the Alvarez gym.
The Cowboys, now 12-13 overall and the fifth-place team out of the Monterey Bay League Gabilan Division, play at No. 5 seed Milpitas on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Alvarez, the MBL Pacific Division champion, ends its year with an overall mark of 16-9.
“It’s one of the puzzles of this team in that you never know what you’re going to get,” Salinas coach Jens Gordon said. “It’s a flip of the coin.”
He got a little bit of everything against the Eagles — hot and cold.. The Cowboys survived a ragged first half that included six turnovers in the first quarter and seven straight missed shots late in the second quarter that allowed the Eagles to take a 31-23 lead.
A basket and free throw by Richard Torres with six seconds to play in the half pulled Salinas within 33-26 at halftime.
Salinas made its move as soon as the third quarter began. Torres started it with a 3-pointer, Nat Hunsdorfer began his way to a big second half with a basket and Paul Van Schuyver, whose clutch shooting kept the Cowboys close in the second quarter, did a nifty flip of a layup that gave Salinas a 36-33 lead with 5:29 to go in the third quarter.
Alvarez came back to tie the game on a 3-pointer by Max Alvarez at 41-41 with 2:10 left in the third quarter that ended with Salinas up 46-43.
The Cowboys came out blazing in the fourth quarter, and when Van Schuyver hit a 3-pointer with five minutes to play, Salinas had a 56-47 lead.
Alvarez never got closer than six the rest of the way.
The Eagles were held to 20 points in the second half.
“We changed things and went to a zone defense in the second half,” Gordon said. “We were getting hurt on the offensive boards and were able to sink in and get the rebounds.”
LaRon Logwood and Hunsdorfer combined for 16 second-half points. Van Schuyver finished with a game-high 15 points with Logwood and Torres netting 13 each.
Salinas held the Alvarez one-two scoring punch of Edrick Gamble and Lanier King scoreless in the second half.
King, who averaged 12.4 points per game in league, scored all 12 of his points in the first half. Gamble, who averaged 10 points per game, was held to three points total. Aaron Borum topped Alvarez with 14 points.
Salinas: Torres 5 1-1 13, Van Schuyver 6 2-3 15, Logwood 5 3-5 13, Flores 1 0-0 2, Hunsdorfer 2 5-7 9, Calder 1 0-0 2, Campos 3 0-0 6. Totals 23 10-16 64.
Alvarez: Borum 6 2-4 14, Alvarex 1 0-0 3, Carrillo 1 0-0 2, Gamble 1 1-4 3, King 5 0-0 12, Hernandez 4 0-0 10, Gomez 4 0-0 9. Totals 22 3-8 53.
3-point goals: Salinas (4) Torres 2, VanSchuyver 2. Alvarez (6) King 2, Hernandez 2, Alvarez 1, Gomez 1.
Total fouls: Salinas 9, Alvarez 15.
Gonzales 76, Oceana 52: At Gonzales, the Spartans won their first CCS playoff game in six years with the D-IV victory over Oceana of Pacifica.
The win sends the Spartans to play fifth-seed Menlo School of Atherton (11-13) on Thursday at 7 p.m.
Gonzales (13-12) led by seven at halftime and out-scored Oceana 36-19 in the second half.
“Our bench picked us up,” Gonzales coach Ruben Alvarado said. He singled out Carlos Alvarez and Christian Rosales.
Chrystian Harrigan had 20 points to lead the Spartans, Israel Gallegos had 11 and Jose Loza 10.
Alisal 63, Independence 60: In San Jose, the Trojans advanced to the second round of the CCS D-I playoffs by beating No. 10 Independence.
Up 37-24 at the half, Alisal was led by Jesus Salinas with 20 points, Hugo Huerta with 18 points and Jessy Hurtado with 14.
Alisal on Thursday travels to Homestead (Sunnyvale).
San Mateo 84, North Monterey County 57: At San Mateo, the Condors lost the opening-round of the playoffs.
North Monterey County, unseeded in the Division III, was led by Jordan Graves with 24 points and Kevin Montemayor with 17 points.
At the half, No. 12 seeded San Mateo was up 41-27.
North County finishes the year 13-12 overall.