Last season, Mason Gallegos had one job for Nipomo on offense: come in and make threes.
This season, he still makes threes, but his offensive repertoire has expanded and was on full display in a 67-45 win over Morro Bay on Thursday night.
“In the offseason I worked on my game — driving it, getting my handles a lot better. I definitely look to drive first instead of shooting,” Gallegos said.
But he still loves the deep ball. Gallegos scored 24 points on the night, including three 3-pointers, but the wiry 6-foot-1 senior also mixed in a couple fast-break layups, including a smooth lefty buzzer-beater at the end of the third quarter that put Nipomo (5-13, 2-2 Los Padres) up 47-36.
“Mason has been really consistent for us this year,” Nipomo first-year coach Daniel Hyun said. “I’m not surprised. He’s going to have more games like this the rest of the season, and we need it.”
“We kind of got a rhythm,” Gallegos said. “With our team, when we are knocking down shots and we get that rhythm, everyone is upbeat playing better defense and the game is just flowing.”
Morro Bay battled back in the third quarter after Nipomo jumped out on a 12-1 run to start the game and led 29-20 at half. But Nipomo’s defense was able to hold Morro Bay’s top scorer Spencer Cecil to just six points in the game with constant double teams down low, and capped the win with 20-9 fourth quarter.
“When we collapse on those big guys inside and they put up shots and we get the rebounds, we’re going. We get the rebound and we run with it,” Gallegos said. “Big ups to Luke (Wilenius) and Noah (Gibbons) for playing awesome defense.”
Wilenius finished the game with 11 points, including six key points in the third quarter to keep the Pirates at bay.
Marjoe DeLa Cruz led Morro Bay in scoring with 14 points, and Noah Agapay added 12.
“We just didn’t get out on (Gallegos),” Morro Bay coach Tyler Fechner said. “We talked about getting out on the shooters at half time, and it was better in the third quarter, but we just left them alone a little bit too much.”
Thursday’s win comes on the heels of a 90-38 win over Orcutt Academy on Tuesday.
“This win and the last one definitely gives us confidence,” Gallegos said.
Nipomo continues league play against Templeton on Tuesday. Morro Bay (9-7, 0-3 Los Padres) takes on Lompoc.
Santa Maria 87, Templeton 64
Blake VandeHoef scored 19 points to lead the Eagles in a road loss.
Matteo D’Alfonso added 14 points, and Robby Kaiser scored 13 for Templeton (4-10, 1-2 Los Padres League).
Templeton travels to Nipomo on Tuesday for a 6:30 p.m. game.