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Last Petaluma home show a good one

Published: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.
Last Modified: Monday, February 4, 2013 at 3:48 p.m.

It has been a long, twisting and sometimes tortuous road for the Petaluma High School boys basketball team, but it ended at a happy destination Friday night when the Trojans held on to defeat Elsie Allen, 56-49.

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Petaluma's Eric Hunsicker shoots over Elsie Allen defenders. The senior scored 14 points in his last game on his home court.

DWIGHT SUGIOKA/FOR THE ARGUS-COURIER

Petaluma finishes out its season at Sonoma Valley Friday, but last week's game was the final home court appearance for Clay Swanson, Jaymes Potts, Eric Hunsicker, Noah Forrey, Augie Bundeson and Nathan kirk. Coach John Behrs started an all-senior lineup and they responded with an emotional all-out effort.

“I'm happy for the seniors,” said Behrs. “This win was awesome for them. It was great to see the gym full and a lot of kids here. It was like old times. This gives the program something to build on.”

“It was a good way for us to go out at home,” said Hunsicker, who has been a team leader and the Trojans' main force underneath the basket all season. “This was my last game at home and I left it all on the court.”

“It was a pefect way for us to end on our court,” agreed Bundesen, who contributed aggressive defensive play and rebounding all season. “It was exciting at the end.”

He was referring to a fourth-quarter Elsie Allen comeback that sliced a 16-point Petaluma third-quarter lead to three points in the final minute before the Trojans finally took charge for good.

Petaluma played aggressively from the start, with all five starting seniors — Potts, Hunsicker, Swanson, Forrey and Bundesen scoring in the opening quarter as the Trojans slipped in front, 10-7,

Petaluma continued to play with fire, harass Elsie Allen's Lobos with aggressive defense and attack the basket in the second quarter. The trouble was, the Trojans couldn't put the ball through the hoop if they had been standing on a ladder. Time after frustrating time, second and third efforts refused to find the basket and some of the Petaluma shots were fortunate to hit the backboards.

Still, a big 3-point connection by Potts and pair of late free throws from Bundesen kept the Trojans to within two at 21-19, at the break.

Things turned completely around for the Petalumans in one of their most impressive quarters of the season when they returned from the intermission.

Suddenly, the Trojans did everything right. They scored from inside — four buckets from in close. The scored from outside — two 3-pointers from Clay Swanson and another from Potts. They scored from the free throw line — four of five in the period with Hunsicker, Potts and Bryce Kawaguchi all contributing.

By the end of the period, Petaluma led, 42-26, and the large Petaluma rooting section was having a great time.

Then the Lobos, led by irrepressible, and at times irresistible, Angel Sanchez, charged.

Petaluma again found baskets hard to find, Sanchez and Joe Hoeup shot (and sometimes hit) from all over the court, Elsie Allen put on an 11-0 run, and with 50 seconds left, the Lobos trailed by only one long-range basket, 50-47.

Flashes of a nightmare game earlier in the season at Elsie Allen when the Lobos rallied from 10 points down to win on a buzzer-beater 3-pointer by Sanchez flashed through the Trojans' collective minds.

“I saw their heads hanging a little,” acknowledged Behrs, but we regrouped and went out with a little fire.”

That fire was provided by guards Swanson and Forrey. Swanson interrupted the Lobo streak with a drive to the hoop and, after an inside Lobo basket, Forrey barrelled to the basket, was fouled and coolly canned a pair of game-clinching free throws.

Swanson made sure with a steal on the Lobos' final possession and Potts turned the theft into a final Petaluma basket.

Hunsicker and Potts with 14 points each and Swanson with 10 led balanced Petaluma scoring. Sanchez and Hoeup were pretty much a two-man scoring show for the Lobos, with Sanchez scoring 24 and Hoeup 20.

Petaluma is 6-16 on the season, but four of the wins have come in SCL play, where they are 4-7 on the season with just the Sonoma game left on their agenda.

“The season has been fun,” said first-year coach Behrs, noting that illness, injury and other problems have hampered Petaluma efforts. “We're not very deep, but when everybody has been out there, we have played pretty well,” he said.

JVs impressive

The Petaluma junior varsity continued its successful season with a 64-55 win over Elsie Allen's very quick JVS. Petaluma is now 9-2 for the season.

John Moliinari led a long list of Petaluma scorers with 11 points and was also a key contributor to the team's defense and its prime ball handler at the guard position.

Molinari was not alone in his contributions to the Petaluma cause. Ben Sanderson and Ken Cox scored 10 points apiece, Charley Walker contriubted four, Peter Baldwin bucketed five, Drake Paretti popped in five, Johnny Chavez chipped in one, Zack Stromberg scored six, Shane Maxwell scored one and Justin Mahrt added four.

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