Hoping to bounce back from their first Sonoma County League loss after three SCL wins, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity basketball boys got off to a slow, tenative start against an aggressive, pressuring Elsie Allen team Tuesday night in Pfeiffer Gym.
With both teams clamping down on defense, but falling short on offense in a low-scoring first half, the Lobos, who couldn't convert their shots, especially under the basket, held slim 8-6 and 18-16 first quarter and halftime leads, respectively, over a Sonoma squad that had difficulty getting shots off.
But then the game turned into a "tale of two halves" for the Dragons, who trailed Elsie Allen by seven points early in the third quarter before finally elevating their play and using a 14-3 run, capped by junior Cyle Gusse and senior Jesse Summers’ back-to-back treys, to take a 30-26 lead into the fourth quarter.
In the final period, the visiting Lobos consistently tried to regain the lead, but were negated each time by a Sonoma player, including junior Ryan Wilbanks’ big trey; junior Tristan Mertens and Gusse’s key steals and scores; and Summers’ clutch four-for-four free-throw shooting in the final seconds sealing the 47-40 win.
Leading Sonoma to its fourth SCL victory were Summers’ game-high 21 points to go with three rebounds and two assists; Gusse’s 11 points, five rebounds, two steals and one block; Mertens’ four points and three steals; Wilbanks’ four points; senior Vinny Albano’s three points, three rebounds and three assists; and senior Andy Chavez and junior Noe Baron’s two points each.
The Dragons, who played visiting defending champion Analy last night – results not available at presstime – have a bye early next week and then they travel to Sebastopol for a quick rematch with Analy on Thursday, Jan. 30, before returning home to host SCL foe El Molino on Tuesday, Feb. 4.
Sonoma’s jayvee hoops kept up their winning ways of late by turning in an inspiring rally-from-behind performance in nipping visiting Elsie Allen 46-45 on Tuesday.
Leading the Dragon jayvees were sophomore Spencer McNairy’s 15 points, three rebounds and a block; sophomore Max Yankovich’s 12 points; sophomore Kevin Hurtado’s six points and 10 rebounds; sophomore Travis Claeys’ six points and seven rebounds; sophomore Joe Peterson’s five points, three assists and two steals; sophomore Edwin Reyes’ two points and three steals; and junior Christian Jimenez’s three rebounds and two assists.
Sonoma’s frosh hoops boys controlled the action of their Tuesday home game from the tipoff to the final whistle in routing Elsie Allen 60-17, led by Colton Mertens’ game-high 26 points with four treys, Eric Bailey’s 16, Nazier Lyle’s 10, Japhy Koch’s and Andrew Toovey’s four.