Their annual voyage into the Arizona desert for some holiday hoops got off to a rough start for Sonoma Valley High School’s varsity basketball girls, who fell short in back-to-back tournament decisions before posting a victory.

In Friday’s opening round tourney game of the challenging Cactus Jam in Tempe, the Lady Dragons got rocked 56-21 by Lynden of Washington state, and then they were edged 50-45 by a big, physical Holy Cross of Surrey, British Columbia, team in Saturday’s second round.

Yesterday morning, the Sonoma girl cagers used a strong second-half surge to snare a 42-36 win over Bellevue Christian of Washington in their final Cactus Jam game, with senior Giana Monterosso earning all-tourney honors.

Leading the Lady Dragons past Bellevue Christian were junior Mackenzie Albrecht’s 13 points and seven rebounds; junior Delaney Swanson’s 10 points and six rebounds; junior Alexa Hall’s eight points, three rebounds and two assists; Monterosso’s four points, four rebounds and two assists; juniors Laryssa Baker and Sierra Lilly’s three points each; junior Ciara Smith’s one point, three rebounds and one block; and junior Hanna Lemaire’s three rebounds and three steals.

Sonoma was paced in its loss to Lynden by Swanson’s 11 points and six rebounds; Albrecht’s five points, six rebounds and three steals; Smith’s two points, six rebounds and three blocks; Monterosso’s two points, three rebounds, three assists, two steals and a block; Hall’s one point; and senior Megan Neely’s three rebounds and two steals.

Pacing the Sonoma girls against Holy Cross were Albrecht’s double-double of 18 points and 10 rebounds to go with three steals; Swanson’s double-double of 11 points and 10 rebounds to go with four steals; Hall’s six points; Monterosso’s two points and four rebounds; and two points apiece by Lilly, Neely, junior Shelby Camilleri and sophomore Bella Bollman.

Upon their return from the desert, the Lady Dragons will open their Sonoma County League season on Wednesday, Jan. 8, when they host longtime rival Petaluma in Pfeiffer Gym – junior varsity plays at 6, and the varsity tips off at 7:30 p.m.

The Sonoma girl cagers will then host SCL foe El Molino on Friday, Jan. 10.