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January 28, 2023

Basketball | South Monterey County teams prepare for new season

SALINAS VALLEY — With fall sports over, it’s time to move indoors as the basketball season gets started in South Monterey County. This year local boys’ and girls’ basketball seasons should be interesting as some teams are replacing key players from a year ago.

King City Mustangs

After barely missing the playoffs a year ago, the King City Mustangs will look to chase a title in the Cypress Division. The Mustangs will have to replace their sharpshooter, Bryce Blair, from last season, but they do have Adrian Garcia and Jjey Martinez returning this year. Don’t be surprised if the Mustangs are in the title hunt late in the season.

The Lady Mustangs will also be in the Cypress Division after coming in second in the Santa Lucia Division last year. The bad news for the Mustangs is that they have to replace their starting backcourt. The Lady Mustangs have many questions, but they should push for a playoff spot.

Soledad Aztecs

The defending Santa Lucia Champions, the Soledad Aztecs will be in Mission Division this year. Typically, teams that win a championship take a setback, but this year the Soledad team can be the best in school history regarding talents. League MVPs Daniel Raso and Jason Medoza all return from last year’s team. The Aztecs will also get a big-time boost with the return of Jeremie Banuelos, who left last year for personal reasons.

If you’re looking for a team to have to make a big-time leap this year, keep your eye on the Lady Aztecs. They have size and some girls who can shoot from the outside. Don’t be shocked if they are in the league title conversation late in the season.

Greenfield Bruins

Coming off a 4-18 overall record last season, the Greenfield Bruins boys’ team has moved from the Santa Lucia Division to now the Cypress Division.

The Lady Bruins, who are reigning Santa Lucia Champions, will also be in the Cypress Division this year. They lost some key players like Jessica Rodriguez and Linda Ornelas, who was the league MVP last year. The good news is that they have their center back, Latai Matelau, and last year’s Defensive Player of the Year Ariana Villagomez.

Gonzales Spartans

Gonzales Spartans will be in the Cypress Division, and they will have to replace Gabe Mendez this year. The Spartans are far from winning a title, but they could be better than last year.

The Lady Spartans are in the Santa Lucia Division this year. They should be one of the favorites to win the league this year. Gonzales will have to find a new way to create offense as Angel Martinez has moved on.

Jason Gallardo
Jason Gallardo is the sports reporter for King City Rustler and Salinas Valley Tribune, a unified publication of Greenfield News, Soledad Bee and Gonzales Tribune. He covers high school sports for South Monterey County.

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