Beginning their stretch drive toward securing a higher seed for the Sonoma County League postseason tournament, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity basketball boys entered last night’s SCL battle in Santa Rosa with a chance to pull into a second-place tie with Piner.

Getting off to a slow start, the Dragons trailed 16-7 after the first quarter, before putting together a 19-9 second-period run to take a one-point halftime lead.

After a high-scoring third quarter, Sonoma had a two-point advantage going into an evenly played fourth period, which the Prospectors managed to win by a basket that tied the game at 58-58 and sent it into overtime.

Unfortunately for the visiting Dragons, who got a standout overall performance from senior Jack Murphy, they came up two points short in the extra period and ended up dropping a 68-66 heartbreaking decision to Piner, which also won their first meeting and claimed the league-season series.

Pacing Sonoma were junior Cyle Gusse’s 22 points, nine rebounds and four blocks; Murphy’s 18 points, three rebounds and tough defensive play; senior Jesse Summers’ 15 points, six rebounds and two assists; junior Tristan Mertens’ four points and two assists; senior Vinny Albano’s three points, five rebounds and two assists; junior Ryan Wilbanks’ three points; and junior Alex Gustafson's four rebounds.

The SCL third-place Dragons host league foe Healdsburg tomorrow, Saturday, Feb. 8, in Pfeiffer Gym, with the freshmen starting at 4:30, the junior varsity playing at 6 p.m., and the varsity tipping off at 7:30 p.m.