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Dragon boys nipped in OT heartbreaker at Piner

Senior Jack Murphy (right), who turned in a standout all-around effort in Sonoma’s heartbreaking overtime SCL loss at Piner on Tuesday, backs up junior Noe Baron (No. 42) on the boards during the Dragon boys’ recent league win over Elsie Allen in Pfeiffer Gym. Bill Hoban/ Index-Tribune

Senior Jack Murphy (right), who turned in a standout all-around effort in Sonoma’s heartbreaking overtime SCL loss at Piner on Tuesday, backs up junior Noe Baron (No. 42) on the boards during the Dragon boys’ recent league win over Elsie Allen in Pfeiffer Gym. Bill Hoban/ Index-Tribune

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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.