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Sonoma girls denied own Classic title by Northgate

Sonoma’s Ciara Smith (front-left, No. 33) and Mackenzie Albrecht (back, left), who was an all-tourney selection, battle for the ball during the Sonoma girls’ Dragon Classic title loss to Northgate Saturday night in Pfeiffer Gym. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

Sonoma’s Ciara Smith (front-left, No. 33) and Mackenzie Albrecht (back, left), who was an all-tourney selection, battle for the ball during the Sonoma girls’ Dragon Classic title loss to Northgate Saturday night in Pfeiffer Gym. Bill Hoban/Index-Tribune

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After a late surge won their Dragon Classic opener, and after being forced into overtime to earn a semifinal victory, Sonoma Valley High School’s varsity basketball girls knew they were going to have to step up their game if they wanted to claim their own tournament’s crown.

In Saturday’s Dragon Classic championship showdown in Pfeiffer Gym, the Lady Dragons had to contend with a competitive and cohesive Northgate team that easily defeated defending champion Montgomery in its opener, and Analy in the semifinals.

Managing to limit the turnovers that have so far plagued the offense, Sonoma battled through an evenly played first quarter and forged a 14-14 standoff early in the second period.

When Northgate turned up the defensive pressure, forcing 12 turnovers in the second and third quarters building a 35-26 advantage and looking to pull away, the Lady Dragons fought back in the fourth period to within two possessions of the lead before their rally fell short, and the title slipped their grasp by a 48-40 margin.

For their standout, all-around play in helping Sonoma defeat Terra Linda 66-49 in the first round, and upend Menlo-Atherton 51-46 in an overtime semifinal, before being edged in the championship game, junior forward Mackenzie Albrecht and sophomore point guard Bella Bollman receive all-tourney honors.

Leading the Lady Dragons in their win over Terra Linda were Albrecht’s double-double of 16 points and 15 rebounds to go with two assists and two steals; junior Alexa Hall’s 12 points on four treys and five rebounds; junior Delaney Swanson’s 11 points, six steals and four rebounds; Bollman’s eight points, six assists, four rebounds and three steals; junior Hanna Lemaire’s seven points, three rebounds and three steals; junior Sierra Lilly’s six points on two treys; senior Megan Neely’s four points and three rebounds; and junior Ciara Smith’s two points and eight rebounds.

Sonoma was led past Menlo-Atherton by Albrecht’s 12 points, eight rebounds and three steals; Hall’s 11 points with three treys; Swanson’s nine points, 14 rebounds, two steals and one block; Lemaire’s nine points and four rebounds; Smith’s six points and three rebounds; Bollman’s two points, four rebounds and three assists; and Neely’s and senior Giana Monterosso’s one point each.

Pacing the Lady Dragons in their title loss to Northgate were Albrecht’s 14 points and 10 rebounds; Swanson’s 12 points and nine rebounds; Hall’s five points and two assists; Monterosso’s four points, seven rebounds, three assists and one block; Bollman’s three points, three assists and three rebounds; Neely’s two points; and Smith’s four blocks and three rebounds.

Rounding out Sonoma’s varsity girls’ roster – directed by head coach Sil Coccia and assistant coaches Steve Semenero, Dino Minatta and Sheila Brady – are senior Maddie Burningham and juniors Laryssa Baker and Shelby Camilleri.

The Lady Dragons play at Acalanes tonight, before competing in Miramonte’s Mats Tournament in Orinda, where they’ll face Clayton Valley Charter at 5:30 p.m. this Thursday, Dec. 12, play Arcata at 4:30 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 13, and battle Foothill at 12:45 p.m. on Saturday, Dec. 14.