Casa Grande High School's Gauchos put together the right combination for victory Friday night, and there is nothing complicated about the winning formula. For the Gauchos, winning was as simple as 39 points from Cetrick Yeanay combined with a stifling defense. The combo was more than enough to put the Gauchos into the championship game of their own Brett Callan Memorial Tournament.
Analy's muscular Tigers were no match for Yeanay and were knocked spinning into the tournament consolation game by Casa's 60-48 victory.
Casa Grande will try to win the tournament title for the second time in its eight-year history Saturday evening a 6 p.m. when it faces Fairfield's high-flying Falcons. Fairfield won a shootout with Las Lomas, 82-75, to earn its spot in the finals.
Petaluma's Trojans lost for the second time in as many tournament games, wasting a halftime lead in a 49-38 loss to Windsor in Friday's first game. Petaluma will try to earn a tournament win Saturday against Alameda in a 1:30 p.m. game.
Windsor plays George Washington from San Francisco in the consolation finals at 3 p.m. and Las Lomas plays for third place against Analy at 4:30 p.m.
To say Yeanay carried the Casa Grande offense in the win over Analy would be like saying the Blue Angels can fly. The senior scored 65 percent of his team's total points. At the end of the first half, Analy led Yeanay 26-25, but trailed the Gauchos, 36-26.
"I just got my confidence back," Yeanay said of his dazzling performance following an eight-point total the night before in a win over George Washington. "I had a feeling like everything I put up would go in. I was disappointed when it didn't go in."
Counted in his big total were six 3-point connections.
The other part of the Casa Grande winning equation was a suffocating defense that forced Analy into 23 turnovers. "We knew they liked to run, so we picked them up at three-quarter court. We wanted to force them to make a few extra passes," said Casa Grande coach James Forni. "The players did a tremendous job executing the defense — of getting to the right spot at the right time."
Junior forward Will Crain continued to play well for the Gauchos, scoring eight points, grabbing seven rebounds and blocking two shots. Point guard Tyler Nadolski dished off five assists and Scott Cole contributed five points, made four steals and had two assists.
Junior forward Chance Orgega led the foul-plauged Tigers with 13 points, while Grant St. Martin drained three 3-pointers and finished with 11 points.
Petaluma literally gave away a golden opportunity for a tournament win and a badly needed confidence boost in the evening's first game, turning the ball over nine times in a disastrous third quarter that saw an 11-point halftime lead disappear.
Led by the hard work of Joe Lynch on both ends of the court, Petaluma built a 27-16 intermission lead and looked to be in complete control.
But Windsor's pressure defense forced the multitude of Trojan turnovers and inpatient shooting completed the Petaluma collapse.
Petaluma still led, 31-27 at the end of the third quarter, but it was just a matter of time before the Jaguars completed their comeback.