The winter heats up in a hurry for the Casa Grande and Petaluma high school basketball teams who go head-to-head next week.
The girls team face off Monday, while the boys clash on Tuesday. Both games are in the Petaluma gym, with varsity tipoff for the girls at 7 and the boys at 7:30 p.m.
Since the teams are now in different leagues, the meeting will be the only one of the season between the two rivals unless they happen to face one another in Casa Grande's Brett Callan Memorial Tournament the weekend before Christmas.
The teams met twice in Sonoma County League play last season, with Casa Grande winning both, 73-58, at Casa Grande and, 68-50, at Petaluma.
But much is different this season.
Casa Grande has moved to the North Bay League, while Petaluma has remained in the SCL, so Tuesday's contest is a non-league match.
Although Casa Grande has several players returning, the Gauchos have an entirely new starting lineup from last season.
The Gauchos opened their season with two wins in their first three games, defeating San Marin, 72-66, and Vintage, 68-40, before losing to College Park, 76-68, last Saturday.
Leader for the Gauchos in the early going has been junior guard Cetrick Yeanay, who opened the season with a 32-point performance against San Marin.
Petaluma counters with an outstanding scoring guard of its own in Clay Swanson, who was selected to the All-Tournament team in Ukiah's Fred Iten Invitational.
Petaluma won one of three games in that tournament, losing to host Ukiah, 68-48; bouncing back to defeat Fort Bragg, 36-28; and losing in the consolation finals to Fortuna, 65-48.
The Trojans have several players returning from last season, but they are under the direction of a new coach, with John Behrs moving up from the junior varsity to take over the varsity position.
Casa Grande has nothing scheduled before the Petaluma game, while the Trojans will play at Alameda on Monday.
It is much the same situation in the girls game, where Casa Grande's talent-loaded 2011-2012 team handled Petaluma's young T-Girls twice in SCL games last season, winning, 63-33, and, 69-35.
But Casa Grande lost its three senior leaders from that team and is in a re-shaping mode, while Petaluma returns all its key players from last year's very young team.
Petaluma is off to an impressive 4-0 start to its season, following up a 41-37 win over Novato with three straight wins in Drake High School's round-robbin Anne Scott Tournament.
The T-Girls defeated Tamalapis, 55-41, Fairfield, 46-40 and Drake, 49-44 in the tournament.
Guard Katy Bisges outside and center Allison Scranton inside have been the T-Girl leaders in the early going.
Casa Grande, after playing highly regarded Heritage tough in a non-counting preliminary game, officially opened its season with two wins in three games in its own Big House Invitational Tournament last weekend.
The Lady Gauchos defeated Eureka, 51-37; lost to Windsor, 49-38; and then defeated Redwood, 55-45, in their tournament.
Lyndsey Murnin, Brooke Santander, Lexie Scholetter and Dana Dolcini — all important players on last season's SCL championship team — return for the Lady Gauchos.