In the first of two Sonoma County League games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Sonoma Valley High School varsity basketball boys faced a pivotal showdown Tuesday night in Santa Rosa with SCL third place at stake; and a chance of avoiding a tough postseason tournament opener at the top-seeded Analy.
Knowing they were in for a battle after winning the first meeting, the Dragons hoped to begin in an upbeat mode and control the tempo, but instead stumbled out of the blocks, and Elsie Allen took advantage of the visitors’ cold shooting and turnovers to take 22-10 and 32-18 halftime and third-quarter leads, respectively.
With senior Jesse Summers being the only Dragon managing to score, Sonoma finally broke the lid on the basket to start the fourth quarter and mounted a comeback to make it just a four-possession deficit, when the Lobos, on their senior night, sealed the game with seven free throws down the stretch for a 44-30 win.
Pacing Sonoma’s boys were Summers’ game-high 17 points to go with three rebounds and two steals; senior Jack Murphy’s four points, three rebounds and one block; junior Alex Gustafson’s three points; junior Trevor Welch’s two points and three rebounds; junior Ryan Wilbanks’ two points and one block; junior Cyle Gusse’s one point, four rebounds, three steals and three blocks; and senior Vinny Albano’s one point and four rebounds.
The Dragons hosted longtime rival Petaluma in their regular-season finale last night – results not available at presstime – and no matter the outcome, they finish in fourth place and will play a 7 p.m. postseason SCL Tourney opening-round game at top-seed, three-time champion Analy on Tuesday, Feb. 18, in Sebastopol.