SALINAS VALLEY — Soledad and Gonzales boys’ basketball teams were able to get one more game in last Wednesday before the holiday break.
After dropping three straight games, the Soledad Aztecs have now won two consecutive matches to improve their record to 6-3 for the season.
On Dec. 21, the Aztecs traveled to play San Lorenzo Valley, which currently has a 3-6 record. The Aztecs, one of the top teams in the Mission Division, were able to handle San Lorenzo Valley, beating them 57-43.
The victory was expected by a Soledad team that returned a lot of talent from a year ago, but the growth and emergence of Pablo Morales, who was just a freshman last year coming off the bench, has been inserted into the starting lineup this year — and he just might be the Aztecs’ best shooter.
Morales had a team-high 22 points against San Lorenzo Valley. With plenty of scorers on the Soledad roster, he has scored double figures in five of their nine games.
Morales’ improvement is critical for the Aztecs because if they are going to win a league title, they have to go through a team from Oakwood School, which is 9-1 so far this season.
Gonzales Spartans have played one of the most robust non-league schedules this year, taking on Soledad, Salinas High, Palma, Seaside and Harbor so far. All those teams are expected to contend for a league title in their divisions.
On Dec. 19, the Spartans played a tough contest against the North Monterey County Condors, coming up short 48-46.
Then, on Dec. 21, they competed against Pacific Grove, which has a 3-5 record. Entering Wednesday’s match, Gonzales was looking to break their six-game losing streak before league play starts on Jan. 3 against the Greenfield Bruins.
Unfortunately, the Spartans came up short again in their last game of the year, with Pacific Grove winning 73-46.