Petaluma's tenacious T-Girls jumped in the face of Analy's high-flying Lady Tigers at the opening tip and stayed there the rest of the evening Friday night, defensing their way to a 38-27 victory over the Sonoma county League regular-season champions to win the SCL Tournament title. The loss was the first of the season to another SCL team by the Lady Tigers.
Petaluma shockingly held Analy to 12 first-half points. While the home crowd in Analy's historic Sebastopol gym waited for the Lady Tigers to explode back into the game, it never happened. Petaluma continued its intense play through the second half, and only a pair of meaningless baskets in the last minute allowed Analy to cut its final deficit to 11 points.
"This was a good win," understated Petaluma coach Doug Johnson. "We played awfully well. The girls played their hearts out."
Johnson noted that Petaluma employed a new defense that had been introduced to the T-Girls at mid-season, but hot used until Friday night. "We went over it on Thursday and it worked out pretty well," the coach said.
Another key for the T-Girls was the ability to bust through the Analy full-court defense, designed to help the Lady Tigers get into the running game. That Analy strategy was foiled by the superb ball handling of guards Lisa Guptill and Jenna Teagarden, "Lisa came in and made an impact right off the bat," noted Johnson. "She played a great game."
"We play well against aggressive teams," senior Guptill noted. "This is great. We had never beaten them in this gym."
The win not only gave Petaluma the tournament trophy, but it was also extremely soul-satisfying for the T-Girls, who had lost twice to Analy during the regular SCL season. It could also improve their seeding in the North Coast Section Division III Tournament. Petaluma is now 19-10 on the season. Analy (17-10) will receive a first-round home game by virtue of winning the league championship. The NCS seeding meeting is Sunday.
Petaluma's helping defense pretty much put clamps on Lady Tigers' big girls Jenna Petray and Isabell Nieoermair, and Analy couldn't answer from the outside, making only one 3-point attempt the entire game.
The majority of Petaluma's scoring came inside where good passes led to 12 points each from Joelle Krist and Allison Scranton.
But the win was a team effort with Teagarden, Cassie Baddeley, Olivia Baldwin, Sophia Bihn, Maddie Mehciz an Guptill all making notable contributions.
Petray led Analy with seven points, with Jessie Davidson adding six.