Casa Grande High School's boys basketball team held off a Petaluma third-quarter challenge to pull out a 52-36 win in a people-packed Petaluma High School gym Tuesday night.
The game was an intense contest of defense and wills from tip to final buzzer, with Casa Grande having enough shooting and rebounding advantage to turn back the upset-minded Trojans.
Despite intense defensive scrutiny by the Trojans, Casa Grande shooting guard Cetrick Yeanay found enough open space to drop in 15 points for the Gauchos, He also dished off five assists.
Forward Kyle Kaupe added 10 points, getting them all in the second half, while Aaron Dal Poggetto scored eight and Francis Christy seven, most in the first half. Kaupe also had 12 rebounds, Christy scored eight and Jake Ielmorini five for the Gauchos. Point guard Tyler Nadolski passed off seven assists.
Guard Clay Swanson, despite spending long stretches on the bench in foul trouble, led Petaluma with 13 points, while teammate Eric Hunsicker, at times a lone Trojan voice on the backboards, added 12 and a ton of rebounds.
Casa Grande, with Yeanay and Nadolski hitting key 3-pointers, managed to build a 27-17 halftime lead.
Petaluma, behind the inside work of Hunsicker and a 3-point connection and a driving hoop by Swanson, cut the lead to 34-28 before the Gauchos were able to regain control on another big 3-point hit by Yeanay and four points from Aaron Dal Paggetto early in the fourth period.
First-year Petaluma coach John Behrs was pleased with the Trojans despite the scoreboard outcome.
"We played hard," he said. "I was happy with our effort. Casa Grande has a great program and we made them work for it (the win)."
Casa Grande coach James Forni said the Gauchos were rusty. "We haven't played a game in 10 days and it showed," he said. "We were really sloppy.