After they lost to Analy last Friday, the Sonoma Valley High Dragon cagers knew they’d have to win their final two games to get into next week’s Sonoma County League Tournament.
After Wednesday’s 62-21 trouncing of El Molino, it’s one down and one to go.
“Friday (against Piner) is a must win,” said Dragon Coach Mike Boles. “For us, it’s a playoff game.”
Wednesday night, the Dragons were in control from start to finish. The Lions had an early 4-3 lead, but the Dragons ran off 10 unanswered points to take a 13-4 lead. El Molino hit a three at the 3:55 mark to cut Sonoma’s lead to 13-7, but that was as close as the Lions got the rest of the night.
The Dragons proceeded to go on a 22-0 run over the next eight-plus minutes to open up a gaudy 35-7 lead.
The Dragon defense kept the Lions off the board over the last four minutes of the first quarter and the first seven minutes of the second quarter.
In the first half, the Dragons couldn’t miss from beyond the three-point line as they sunk five in the first quarter – three by Max Gustafson and one each from Dylan Samaniego and Jack Boydell – and two more in the second quarter as Samaniego connected again and Justin Cox hit the first of his three treys.
Boles subbed in waves for most of the game, sending four, and even five players in at a time.
With the Dragons holding a 38-10 lead at the half, the game was all but over at that point.
The Dragons didn’t take their foot off the gas in the second half – and they kept hitting treys. Boydell and Cox connected in the third quarter while Cox and Gustafson connected in the fourth.
The teams played with a running clock the last minute-and-a-half, once the Dragons stretched the margin to 41 points.
“I’m real proud of the kids,” Boles said. “They’ve played for each other all year. And tonight they played for our seniors.”
It was senior night and the Dragons honored Gustafson and Samaniego in pre-game ceremonies.
“Tonight, we got good looks. Nothing was forced and they waited for the good shot,” Boles said.
“This was a total team effort,” he added.
And it was as everybody played and nine Dragons scored. Gustafson led the charge with 13 points, Boydell had 12, Cox had nine, Samaniego and Tyler Garrett had eight, Riley Phelan had seven, Trent Garrett and Nicholas Spanger had two and Brendan Hogan had one.
“Max (Gustafson) came out with a mindset to shoot. We started feeding him after he got his first three,” Boles said. “And Justin (Cox) looked strong and had three treys.”
The win gives the Dragons a 12-13 overall record and a 6-5 SCL mark. Sonoma finishes the regular season Friday at Piner. They need to win in order to have a chance to qualify for the fourth seed in next week’s SCL Tournament.