San Benito Rolls to 50-37 TCAL Win Over Visiting North
If such a thing as a should-win game exists for the San Benito boys basketball team exists this season, hosting North Salinas should be pretty close to just that.

And last night, the Haybalers didn’t disappoint, dispatching the reeling Vikings by a score of 50-37.

San Benito jumped on their visitors early, building a double-digit lead midway through the second quarter, and then pieced together enough runs to keep North Salinas at bay the rest of the way.

The ‘Balers (10-12) came into the contest confident, having defeated the Vikings 58-49 on Jan. 7. With just two wins on the season–and none in the Tri-County Athletic League–under its belt, North Salinas figured to be an instant cure for San Benito’s own two-game losing streak.

Not that it was that easy.

“It came in spurts,” said ‘Balers head coach John Becerra of his team’s offense. “I don’t think our intensity was like normal. We’d score points in execution and then we’d get a little wild. When we’d execute our offense, we’d get some lay-ups.”

Despite seeing just six Vikings dressed for the game, San Benito sophomore Brian Haggett said his team knew North Salinas wouldn’t roll over.

“We knew we were going to have to hold them off; get a couple of runs,” said Haggett, who scored 10 points. “We knew we had to get out there and execute our offense.”

San Benito’s game-long forays to the hoop were courtesy of unselfish play.

“We had pretty good passing,” said Haybalers forward Daryl Baladad, who contributed 12 points and 7 rebounds. “We’re becoming more of a team. We’re sharing the ball better.”

Meanwhile, after widespread academic casualties whittled down his team’s roster, North Salinas head coach Earl Rowland was pleased his Vikings weren’t undone by San Benito’s early lead.

“I’ve got six guys and they’re playing their hearts out,” said Rowland, whose team dropped to 2-18 on the year. “The kids I’ve got won’t quit. They’ll play ’til the sun goes down.”

Forward Todd Janisch scored a game-high 15 points for San Benito. ‘Balers guard Marty Bueno posted a fine, all-around game, finishing with six points, five rebounds, six assists and six steals.

North Salinas was led by Marvin Gervacio and Sal Moran, who scored 13 and 11 points, respectively.

After evening its TCAL record at 4-4 with four games to play, San Benito hopes it can follow up by avenging its earlier loss to Live Oak when the teams meet tomorrow in Morgan Hill. The ‘Balers fell to the Acorns 59-53 in a game that came down to the wire on Jan. 12.

Becerra knows his team will need to elevate its game to another level if it hopes to prevail.

“It’s going to be a tough ballgame, especially at their place,” said Becerra. “Against them, it’s going to be tougher to execute because they play much better defense. We’re not going to be able to get those lay-ups.”

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A staff member wrote, edited or posted this article, which may include information provided by one or more third parties.


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