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.