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.