Petaluma High School's boys basketball team hit a slippery spot in the third quarter and skidded to a 65-58 Sonoma County League loss at Piner Friday night.
Despite hitting only two baskets, one a 3-pointer, in the second period, Petaluma trailed at the half just 25-19,and moved to within three points of the homestanding Prospectors early in third period on a hit from beyond the arc by Clay Swanson. But Petaluma both went cold and got sloppy with the ball, and by the end of the quarter, the Trojans trailed, 46-35. Despite a hustling effort in the final period, the Petalumans were never able to dig out of the hole.
"We got a little stressed in that third quarter and started throwing the ball all over the place," said Petaluma coach John Behrs.
Petaluma shocked Piner early, scoring the game's first seven points, with Jaymes Potts providing a 3-point hit and Eric Hunsicker and Swanson each contributing baskets.
Piner's full-court pressure defense began to yield dividends for the Prospectors in the second half. Although the tactic produced few Petaluma turnovers, it did disrupt the Trojan offense, and when the Petalumans did get a decent shot, the ball refused to find the net. Petaluma had just five points in the period and only two baskets, one on a drive by Swanson and one on a 3-point connection by Potts.
Ultimately the difference was Petaluma's inability to keep Marquise Camp and Keith Adams away from the basket. Too often for the Trojan welfare, they worked inside with impunity and Camp provided a pair of key 3-point connections in the second half. Each had 15 points in the game.
"I thought we stepped up our defense in this game," noted Behrs, "But we have to be more consistent."
Swanson was a huge bright spot for the Trojans, hustling from baseline to baseline and, at times shouldering the entire Petaluma offensive load. He finished with a game-high 19 points. Potts worked hard on the backboards, pulling down six rebounds and also contributed 14 points to the Petaluma attack.
Petaluma's junior varsity was impressive in defeating the Piner JVs, 45-38.
Ben Sanderson led Petaluma with 11 points, while point guard John Molinari and Kevin Cox scored nine apiece.