Arroyo Grande freshman Gage Gomez is used to the haters by now — the ones who think he’s too young, too small or can’t play at the varsity level.
Gomez proved the haters wrong Friday night in Atascadero.
Gomez hit his first six shots of the game, all 3-pointers, and finished with a team-high 18 points in a 61-56 win over Atascadero to close out the regular season.
“There are people that are going to talk; you just got to shut them out and play your game,” Gomez said.
The 6-foot-1 lefty came off the bench in the second quarter and hit three 3-pointers in a row to put Arroyo Grande up 31-24 at the break. He didn’t cool off after a trip to the locker room, either. Gomez hit three more from long range to start the third quarter and stretched the Eagles’ lead to 10.
“I was feeling great,” Gomez said. “I was just on fire. Once I made one, I just kept it going, and they just kept going in. So it was a lot of fun.”
Arroyo Grande coach Ryan Glanville said he saw it coming.
“Obviously, you can see why he’s playing up with us, he can really shoot the basketball,” Glanville said. “I’m not at all surprised he shot it like that tonight because he comes to practice every single day focused and ready to work.”
Gomez and some of the other guards on the Arroyo Grande bench have picked up extra minutes over the past few weeks when the Eagles’ top shooter, Patrick Angle, hurt his shoulder and missed some playing time.
“It helped boost my confidence a lot, for sure,” Gomez said of the extra playing time. “I wasn’t afraid to just go out there and play.”
Angle looked to be 100 percent against Atascadero and finished with 13 points. Arroyo Grande senior Will Silmon added 14 points.
Arroyo Grande (16-11 overall, 9-5 PAC 8) finished the regular season in third place in the PAC 8 with the win, while Atascadero (15-10, 8-6) finished fourth. Atascadero junior Kyler Warren had a game-high 22 points in the loss as the Greyhounds only double-digit scorer.
Both teams will eagerly await the release of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A playoff brackets which will be released on Sunday at 1 p.m.
Other top games from Friday night:
St. Joseph 69, San Luis Obispo 64
Senior point guard Seth Moore hit nine 3-pointers for 27 points as the Tigers fell to the second place Knights (22-5, 11-3 PAC 8). Carson O’Conner had three 3-pointers for 12 points for San Luis Obispo (12-17, 4-10 PAC 8).
“They fought hard all the way to the end,” San Luis Obispo head coach Jeff Brandow said.
Coast Union 67, Shandon 27
Jez Lawson had 24 points, 11 rebounds and six assists as the Broncos (20-3, 10-0) completed a undefeated Coast Valley League season. Jack Mackinnon had 18 points, and Auggie Johnson chipped in 13 points.
Arroyo Grande 75, Atascadero 42
The Eagles were led by Brynn Thoming’s 22 points as Arroyo Grande finished the PAC 8 season firmly in second place. Kinsey McBryde had 15 points, Peyton Pelech had 14 points and AJ Bertlesen added 10 points.
Arroyo Grande (19-6 overall, 12-2 PAC 8) trailed only undefeated Righetti in the standings.