HAPPY CATZ Watsonville High senior Alexis Valenzuela, right, celebrates after he scored the first goal of Wednesday night’s game against Salinas High. The Wildcatz defeated the Cowboys, 2-0, in non-league action. (Juan Reyes — The Pajaronian)

The Watsonville High boys’ soccer team received some late-game heroics from an unsung hero in Wednesday night’s non-league match against visiting Salinas High.

Senior Alexis Valenzuela scored his first goal of the season to help lift the Wildcatz past the Cowboys, 2-0.

Salinas was undefeated going into the contest.

Valenzuela’s strike came in the 52nd minute on a loose ball in front of the left side of the post. His shot sailed just above the opposing goalkeeper and into the back of the net for the game’s first goal.

Watsonville coach Roland Hedgpeth said he’s glad to finally see his team come through in a clutch moment, especially after missing out on numerous opportunities to score in the first half.

“This was a very good team,” Hedgpeth said. “I’m glad we could come out and finally score…it’s been all season long, not scoring at the right time.”

Hedgpeth said he challenged the team to knock the ball around a bit more in the second half and use the space given to them.

Sophomore Juan Contreras scored his third goal of the season in the 61st minute. Senior Julian Garcia was credited with the assist.

Senior Daniel Medina recorded a clean sheet, his second one this season for the Wildcatz (6-3), who host Monterey High in non-league action on Friday at 6:45 p.m.

Monte Vista Christian 5, Marina 0: Sophomore Cristian Linares scored two goals and recorded an assist as the Mustangs defeated the Mariners on Monday in non-league action.

Evan Mariscal had two goals, while Logan Pluckhan added a goal for M.V.C. (4-1-3), which begins Pacific Coast Athletic League Cypress division play against Palma High on Jan. 15 at 3:30 p.m.

Boys basketball

North Monterey County 64, St. Francis 54: Senior Joey Garibay led the Sharks in scoring with 24 points in a non-league loss against the Condors on Tuesday night. 

Seniors Dominick Nakagawa and Lawson Orradre each scored nine points, while junior Isaiah Gonzalez contributed eight points for the Sharks (8-3), who begin PCAL Cypress division play at home against Pajaro Valley High on Monday at 7 p.m.

The Sharks lost a non-league game in overtime against San Benito High, 59-55, on Jan. 3.

Gonzalez led the Sharks with 15 points, followed by Garibay (10), Nakagawa (9), Orradre (7), and junior Davin Avila with six points. Jaiden Freidt scored 25 points for San Benito.

Girls basketball

Aptos 63, Soquel 30: Senior Natalia Ackerman continued to impress, as she recorded another double-double in a Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League win against the Knights.

Ackerman racked up 27 points and 18 rebounds, giving her 14 double-doubles this season.

Jaylen Dang had eight points, followed by Gabby Giuffre (7) and Emma Stefanini (7) for the Mariners (8-4), who play at Harbor High on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

M.V.C. 63, Carmel 35: Junior Hanna Harvey took charge with 15 points to help the Mustangs get past the Padres on Wednesday in non-league action.

Seniors Madison Hill had 12 points and Angelina Cortes contributed 10 points. Sophomore Marissa Cortes had 10 points and a pair of blocks for the Mustangs (9-4), which begin PCAL Gabilan division play at Seaside on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

St. Francis 55, Oakwood 17: Senior Grace Kovacs scored a game-high 18 points as the Sharks routed Oakwood on Tuesday in non-league action.

Junior Audrey Hernandez added 15 points, while junior Mariah Lyle contributed 10 points for St. Francis (8-6), which begins PCAL Cypress division play against Soledad on Tuesday at 7 p.m.

Hernandez had 15 points in last week’s 58-33 win against Monterey. Kovacs added 14 points, while freshman Elena Nino had seven points and seven rebounds.

Men’s basketball

Cabrillo 84, Hartnell 59: The Seahawks sailed past the Panthers on Wednesday to help coach Tony Marcopulos capture his 20th Coast Conference-opening win. Next up, Cabrillo (9-8, 1-0) travels to San Jose City College today with tip off slated at 5 p.m.

Women’s basketball

Cabrillo 90, Hartnell 50: Sophomore Savanah Quintina-Martin scored a game-high 17 points to help the Seahawks get past the Panthers in Wednesday’s Coast Conference opener.

Quintana-Martin, a Watsonville High alumna, added eight rebounds and five assists, while Michaela Thornton nearly put up triple-double figures by scoring 16 points to go along with eight rebounds and seven steals.

Freshman Abbi Saxton, an Aptos High alumna, recorded a double-double by scoring 12 points and snatching 11 rebounds.

Julisa Vega, a Watsonville High alumna, came off the bench, racking up 10 rebounds and contributing seven points.

Alyssa Torres, a North Monterey County High alumna, had eight points and three rebounds for the Seahawks (6-8, 1-0), who play San Jose City College on Friday with tip off slated at 7 p.m.


Reporting Scores: Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores, stats and highlights to [email protected] following games or call 831-761-7335. Please include your name and a contact number in the email.

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A Watsonville native who has a passion for local sports and loves his community. A Watsonville High, Cabrillo College, San Jose State University and UC Berkeley Graduate School of Journalism alumnus, he primarily covers high school athletics, Cabrillo College athletics, various youth sports in the Pajaro Valley and the Santa Cruz Warriors. Juan is also a video game enthusiast, part-time chef (at home), explorer and a sports junkie. Coaches and athletic directors are encouraged to report scores HERE.


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