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Casa topples T-Girls with defense

Published: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.
Last Modified: Tuesday, February 4, 2014 at 6:52 p.m.

Casa Grande High School’s girls turned up the volume on their already high-tempo defense Saturday night to blast their way to a booming 48-35 win over rival Petaluma.


Casa Grande’s Kayla Ryan takes the ball to the hoop over Petaluma defender Allison Scranton. Casa won the match of rivals in its home gym, 48-35.

Casa’s Gauchos, playing with only eight girls, jumped in the face of Petaluma’s T-Girls at the opening tip and were still challenging every pass and every dribble at the final buzzer.

Casa Grande made 14 steals on the game and forced Petaluma into 28 turnovers, with 16 coming in the first half when the Gauchos built a 22-12 lead.

With season-long scoring leader Brooke Santander sidelined with a leg injury, senior Meagan Burke sparked a hot-shooting Casa Grande offense with a career-best 17 points, hitting three shots from 3-point range as the Gauchos shot over the top of late-arriving Petaluma defenders.

“Megan had a great game, but I was proud of all of the girls. They played good defense and they played hard for 32 minutes,” said Casa Grande coach Dan Sack.

“We couldn’t handle their defense,” said Petaluma coach Doug Johnson. “No one wanted to shoot.”

The game was tight through the first period, with Casa Grande driving to the hoop for baskets from Joy Jovick, Grace Arancio and Burke, while Petaluma countered with three inside basket from center Allison Scranton, two on put backs of missed shots.

The six points represented half of Scranton’s 12-point production for the night.

“You can’t stop her if she gets the ball inside,” Sack said of Scranton. “We were able to use the quickness of our active guards to make it difficult for her to get the ball.”

Even as they battled the Gauchos to almost a stand still in the first quarter, reaching the buzzer down just 7-6, the T-Girls were showing signs of trouble. They committed eight turnovers in the period and were called for four fouls to just two for the Gauchos. Those troubles were magnified in the second period, when Petaluma made eight more turnovers and committed six more fouls.

Meanwhile, Casa Grande began exhibiting the outside shooting that was to carry it throughout the game, with Angela Llevarias hitting twice from beyond the arc and Burke adding another 3-pointer. Petaluma had just two baskets in the quarter. Both were from beyond the arc with Cassie Baddeley and Maddie Mehciz connecting.

Although the outcome was pretty much decided, both teams continued to play tenacious defense through a ragged final quarter that featured more free throws than action. Each side scored just two baskets in the final round, with Jovick and Arancio driving for Casa Grande baskets and Scranton adding a final pair of inside hoops for the T-Girls.

Now, it is back to league play for both teams. Petaluma, 13-10 overall and 6-3 in Sonoma County League games, plays its final home game of the season Friday night against El Molino. Casa Grande is 13-9 overall and 5-5 in the North Bay League with a home game against Rancho Cotate on Friday.

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