Basketball: Bueno hits 8 3-pointers in playoff win

Jessica Bueno fires a 3-pointer for the Balers during the first quarter of Tuesday’s game against Alvarez.

Apparently the Alvarez High girls basketball team didn’t have a scouting report on San Benito High sharpshooter Jessica Bueno. Because if the Eagles did, they would’ve stuck two players on the 5-foot guard. Instead, Alvarez kept on giving Bueno room to shoot, and the Eagles paid for it dearly.
Bueno erupted for a career-high 27 points—she connected on eight 3-pointers—in leading the host Haybalers to a 58-49 win in a Central Coast Section Division I playoff opener on Tuesday. The No. 11 seed Balers (14-11) advance to play at No. 6 seed Homestead (22-2) of Cupertino on Thursday.
“All signs point to it being an extremely hard task, but we’ll give it a shot,” Balers coach Mitch Burley said.
One thing is for certain: You can bet Homestead, which went a perfect 12-0 to win the lower El Camino Division of the powerful Santa Clara Valley League, won’t be giving Bueno nearly as much room as she had against Alvarez.
“Actually I was,” Bueno said, when asked if she was surprised that Alvarez didn’t have a player in her face whenever she was stationed around the 3-point line. “If I’m open, I might as well shoot it. Even if I’m not having a good shooting night, my motto is to never give up. So any time I have a look, I’m going to keep shooting.”
San Benito, which finished third in the Monterey Bay League’s upper Gabilan Division, had its hands full with an Alvarez (11-12) squad that took fourth in the MBL’s lower Pacific Division. However, the Eagles had a huge rebounding advantage in the first half, as they converted six offensive rebounds into 12 points.
The Balers started to slowly pull away in the second half, as Bueno got hot at the perfect time. The senior scored 21 of her 27 points after halftime, popping six 3-pointers in that span to help the team maintain a comfortable advantage throughout the final two quarters.
“It feels good because we didn’t want our season to end here on our home court,” said Bueno, who rebounded with a magnificent performance just one game after scoring only a single point in a 42-21 loss to Seaside. “The girls have so much passion on the court right now.”
Cecilia Vasquez had nine of her 10 points in the first half, making some key shots to prevent Alvarez from building a decisive advantage in the opening quarters. Alvarez led 14-6 with 1:25 left in the first quarter before Callee Heen and Bueno hit back-to-back 3-pointers.
Balers forward Madisyn Gutierrez-Urban provided the team with toughness on the boards and some key putbacks. The Balers won despite being without freshman point guard Alyssa Ito, who suffered a severely sprained ankle against Monte Vista Christian on Feb. 16.
“I was proud of the team for coming back from a not very good start,” Burley said.

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