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Kofa beats Tempe-Corona del Sol
It's usually the taller players who lead the team in rebounds.
Don't tell that to Kofa's 5-foot-3 point guard.
Sophomore Sally Gastelo led the team in rebounds and the Kings blew out Tempe-Corona del Sol 58-36 at home on Saturday afternoon.
Gastelo had 11 points to go with 14 rebounds — coming from a combination of fighting for them in the paint and chasing them down on the outside.
“She's just feisty. She doesn't give up,” said Kofa senior post Jacky Fuentes, who had a team-high 18 points to go with 13 rebounds.
“Sally has so much fire and she's probably the most aggressive player on our team,” Kofa coach Mary Kaye Garcia said. “She doesn't care that she's 5-3 she plays like she's 6-foot. She's a monster down there.”
Jocelyn Castaneda scored 10 points for the Kings and Adly Wiley added eight.
The offense for the Aztecs (3-5) mostly consisted of two players. Sophomore guard Taylor Kalmer scored 20 points on 8 for 26 shooting and Kaelin Shaffer went 4 of 14 from the field for 10 points.
“We knew that (Kalmer) was their biggest shooter so we had to get a hand up and everybody did a good job of switching,” Gastelo said. “I think we defended her really well.”
“When you can narrow it down to one or two shooters you can focus on, I think it's a little easier defensively and Adly did a great job on (Kalmer),” Garcia said.
The Kings (6-3) held a comfortable lead during the first two quarters and went into halftime up 25-15. Corona del Sol scored the first four points of the second half — a pair of free throws by Kalmer and a basket by Shaffer — to cut the Kofa lead to six but the Kings responded with a 15-5 run, capped by a basket by Julie Patane to make it 40-24.
Kofa also got a 12-0 run early in the fourth quarter to make the lead insurmountable.
“After this game, I think we're getting closer to how we started,” Fuentes said.
The Kings bounced back after a 53-47 loss on Thursday to El Centro-Southwest in which Garcia said Kofa committed 41 turnovers.
“We've been struggling the last couple games. We worked a lot on staying in control of the ball because we average way too many turnovers as a team — and we know that,” she said.
Even in its losses, Kofa has kept it close — losing 36-32 at Lake Havasu and 49-46 at Cibola. Now more than halfway through the regular season, the Kings still fight an uphill battle to get into the playoffs. The top eight teams of a section make the section tournament and as of Saturday, the Kings are No. 9 in Arizona Interscholastic Association Division I Section I Power Points.
“We take each game at a time but at the back of our head we're thinking state, state, state,” Garcia said. “We need to keep winning games to get those power points.”
Jesse Severson can be reached at email@example.com or at 539-6881. Find him on Facebook at facebook.com/YSJesseSeverson.