Jack Boydell pumped in 34 points Wednesday, as the Sonoma Valley High Dragon cagers beat the Franklin Yellowjackets, 67-63, in its opening round game in the Dixon Ram Jam Winter Classic.
Sonoma came out strong and led 21-13 after the first quarter and held a 31-23 lead at the half.
“We did a lot of nice things in the first half,” said Dragon Coach Mike Boles. “We were able to handle their trap and converted. Our defense was very solid. We discussed needing to clean up the defensive boards at half time as well as limit opponent’s point off turnovers.”
Franklin narrowed the gap in the third quarter, but the Dragons were hanging on to a 43-37 lead.
The fourth quarter got wild. The Yellowjackets tried to make up ground, but the Dragons kept holding them off until the last minute when Franklin took a one-point lead at 63-62.
But Franklin’s lead didn’t last long as Max Gustafson hit a trey with 19 seconds left in what turned out to be the game-winner. Riley Phelan secured the win when he was fouled pulling down a rebound, and Phelan’s two free throws made it a 67-63 win.
“It was a good win,” Boles said.
“We were able to sustain Franklin’s run,” he continued. “While they did take a lead, we made some key shots in the last three minutes. We did have issues with their traps in fourth quarter. They got us to speed up and played into their hands. But, we were able to execute in final minute.”
Boydell led the Dragon attack with 34 points on 15 of 24 shooting. “Jack had a superb game,” Boles said.
Gustafson had 11 points including three three-pointers – all in the fourth quarter – and he pulled down seven rebounds. Dylan Samaniego had 10 points while Phelan had seven points, six assists and seven rebounds. “Riley played a well-rounded game,” Boles said.
Tyler Garrett pulled down nine rebounds and dished out four assists. “Tyler was a huge player in this game,” Boles added.
The win gives the Dragons a 5-6 record and advanced them into the semi-finals against Vacaville at 3:30 p.m. Thursday. Results not available at press time.
Should the Dragons beat Vacaville, they’d advance to the championship game at 8:15 p.m. Saturday. Lose, and they play for the third-place championship at 2 p.m. Saturday.
Last Saturday, Dec. 23, the Dragons traveled to Middletown where they fell to the Mustangs, 56-52.
Boles said it was a disappointing loss.
“I thought we played well enough to win, we had our chances, but we just couldn’t get over the final hurdle,” he said.
He said it was a great tune-up. “It was a fun environment as Middletown fans were into the game, there was lots of noise, and the stands were pretty full for a late afternoon game,” he said.
The Dragons took a 17-10 first-quarter lead, and had a 29-24 halftime lead. Sonoma struggled in the third quarter, but still held a three-point lead going into the fourth quarter.
But Sonoma couldn’t hold onto the lead
“We didn’t execute in the fourth,” the coach said. “This is the time little things are most critical and results are magnified.”
Samaniego led the Dragons with 13 points and two assists, Boydell was 12 points and five boards, Gustafson had a dozen points and eight boards while Garrett had eight points, nine rebounds and two assists.