Having to face the same team a third time in a season is often a tough task, but playing that same opponent a fourth time increases the pressure, and when injuries are involved, the challenge intensifies, which was the situation facing the Sonoma Valley High School varsity basketball girls Tuesday night in Petaluma.
After splitting their Sonoma County League regular-season matchups, longtime rival Petaluma upended the Lady Dragons in the first round of the postseason SCL Tournament, which figured to be their last clash of the year.
But it turned out that wasn’t the case as Sonoma received the 11th seed in a 12-team field for the North Coast Section Division-3 playoffs and were pegged to play on the road against, of course, the sixth-seeded Trojan girls.
Having already played the second half of the SCL season and tourney without their injured best player, former all-league, All-Empire junior standout Mackenzie Albrecht, the Sonoma girls were without two other starters because of recent injuries, juniors Shelby Camilleri and first-team all-league center Ciara Smith.
In Tuesday night’s NCS Division-3 opener, the hobbling Lady Dragons played their usual tough defense, but offensively they were stagnant, constantly turning the ball over from the effects of full-court pressure by Petaluma, which also dominated the rebounding.