One of the longest and most competitive rivalaries in Redwood Empire girls’ basketball between the Sonoma Valley and Petaluma high school varsity basketball teams can add another down-to-the-wire thriller to their storied history of competitive Sonoma County League clashes.

Before Wednesday night’s postseason SCL Tournament opener in Pfeiffer Gym, Sonoma coach Sil Coccia honored Petaluma’s retiring longtime coach Doug Johnson for directing the Trojans since girls’ hoops became official – 36 years, 677 wins, 23 sectional appearances, nine SCL titles and one state final.

Then both teams took the court in full defensive mode, with third-seed Petaluma holding a 7-5 first-quarter lead before the two foes found their offenses in the second period, when the second-seed Lady Dragons, who continued to hurt themselves with turnovers, took a 15-14 scoring edge, but still trailed by a point at the half.

In the second half, the tourney battle was back to tough defensive play by both squads, and the Sonoma girls continued to trail, finding themselves down a bucket entering the fourth period. Every time the Dragons had a chance to tie or take a lead, the visiting Trojans managed to hold them off and escape with a 36-33 win.

While Petaluma travels to Sebastopol tonight to play top-seeded champion Analy for the SCL Tourney title, the Lady Dragons and their 14-12 overall record await their North Coast Section fate as the NCS Division-3 seeding meeting takes place this Sunday, Feb. 23.

Pacing Sonoma in its loss to the Trojan girls were junior Alexa Hall’s 12 points; junior Delaney Swanson’s six points, eight rebounds and two steals; senior Megan Neely and junior Shelby Camilleri’s four points and three rebounds each; senior Giana Monterosso’s three points and three assists; sophomore Bella Bollman’s two points and two steals; junior Hanna Lemaire’s two points; junior Ciara Smith’s 10 rebounds and six blocks; and junior Sierra Lilly’s three rebounds.

Rounding out the Lady Dragons’ postseason roster – directed by head coach Coccia and assistant coaches Dino Minatta and Sheila Brady – are senior Maddie Burningham, juniors Laryssa Baker and Mackenzie Albrecht (injured), and sophomores Jenny Eggers and Renee O’Donnell, who were brought up from Sonoma’s junior varsity.