The Lady Dragon cagers hadn’t played since Dec. 16, and the rust showed Thursday night as Sonoma lost to the Novato Hornets, 40-29.

The crud, which seems to be going around, has also afflicted the Lady Dragons. “We’ve had a lot of people sick,” said Coach Jann Thorpe. “I don’t want to use that as an excuse, but …”

Sonoma looked out of sorts and just never seemed to find its rhythm.

Novato jumped out to a 5-0 lead before Alyssa Schimm got the Lady Dragons on the board. The Hornets stretched the lead to 13-4 late in the first quarter before Schimm hit a free throw and Kennedy Midgley hit a basket to narrow the gap to 13-7 at the end of the quarter.

The Lady Dragons made a run in the second quarter. Trailing 15-7, Sofia Vitale hit a three, Sydney Von Gober hit a deuce and Schimm sunk a pair of free throws to get within a point at 15-14.

But that was as close as they got as the Hornets hit a three and a free throw in the last minute-and-a-half to take a 19-14 halftime lead.

The Hornets outscored Sonoma 14-5 in the third quarter to all but put the game away with a 33-19 lead.

The Hornets didn’t let up and the Lady Dragons couldn’t buy a basket as Novato at one point late in the fourth quarter led 40-21. In the last three minutes, Annie Neles hit a trey and Erin Glyfe hit a deuce and a trey to make the final 40-29.

Eight Dragons scored, but Schimm’s six points was tops.

“We’ve got to get people to step up and score,” Thorpe said.

Glyfe had five, Von Gober and Annika Ginter had four, Vitale and Neles had three and Kaliyah Hensic had a pair.

The loss drops the Lady Dragons to 4-6 on the year.

The Lady Dragons had a game scheduled for Saturday, Dec. 30, with Maria Carrillo, but it got moved to Jan. 15.

Sonoma opens its Sonoma County League schedule Wednesday at Piner. And follows it with their SCL home opener on Friday, Jan. 5, against Healdsburg.

“I’m looking forward to a fresh start,” Thorpe said.