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T-Girls bounce back in Piner Tournament

SUMNER FOWLER/FOR THE ARGUS-COURIER A determined Jaden Krist helped Petaluma take consolation honors in the Piner Gold Rush Girls Basketball Tournament.

GEORGE HAIRE,

Petaluma jumped to a double-figure lead and held it for the entire contest as the T-Girls captured the consolation bracket of the Piner Gold Rush Girls Basketball Tournament by easily getting by El Molino, 52-25, on Saturday afternoon in Santa Rosa.

The win was the second for Petaluma in the tourney after the T-Girls suffered a lopsided defeat at the hands of the eventual champion Colfax in the opening round. Colfax was forced to come from behind in the second half to overhaul Novato, 56-38, for the tournament title later on Saturday.

Four starters scored early, and coach Jon Ratshin substituted liberally in the lopsided T-Girl victory over El Molino. It was the strongest overall effort by the Lady Trojans in the three-day tourney as they raised their early season record to 3-1.

With guard Kaleigh Pate looking more like the top prospect from last season leading the way, the T-Girls moved the ball quickly around the Lady Lion perimeter defense and Petaluma players wound up with good looks at the basket. Pate knocked in seven points, but her sharp passing, along with another complete-game performance by veteran Nicole Costa, helped locate open players behind Lady Lion defenders throughout the game.

Costa scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds while playing only half the game. Reserves Sheriene Arikat and Angelia Scaccalosi each added 10 points in the balanced Petaluma offense. Scaccalosi drove hard to the basket every time she touched the ball in limited minutes, and it paid off with good passes by Pate and Costa.

Late substitution Kassidy Bacon scored six points for the T-Girls in the fourth period.

Ratshin changed up the T-Girl defenses and occasionally mixed in a full-court zone defense, and it forced seven Lady Lion turnovers in the third period. It was the most focused defensive effort of the season by Petaluma.

El Molino came into the game with a record of 1-4 after defeating Sonoma County opponent Elsie Allen in the second round. Almost every shot opportunity by the Lady Lions was contested, and often the balls were off line. The defense of the T-Girls, paced by Costa, Pate and Arikat, was that intense.

Petaluma 50, Summerfield 28

The T-Girls shook their tournament scoring doldrums when they got past Summerfield Waldorf in the consolation round. After falling behind, 12-6, in the first quarter, Petaluma rallied to take a narrow three-point halftime lead, and coasted to victory over the Division 4 entry from Santa Rosa.

“It was another cold start for us,” admitted Ratschin. Petaluma finally overhauled Summerfield at the end of the second period, and was never headed the rest of the way.

The Lady Mustangs fell to 1-5 for the early season.

Steady forward Costa scored 12 points for the T-Girls as they found the range in the second half. Costa was also the team leader in rebounds, averaging six per contest.

Sophomore Arikat topped the Trojans in scoring for the second consecutive game with a season-high 15 points. Jaden Krist gave balance to the T-Girl scoring with six points, with most of her scoring coming underneath.

High scoring Isabelle Dean counted 18 for the Lady Mustangs. Dean averages 19.3 points per game.

Colfax 52, Petaluma 17

Colfax blew open the first-round game in the third period and went on to post an overwhelming win over the T-Girls in the Piner Tournament on Thursday evening. The defending tourney champions from the Sacramento area exploded for a 24-2 advantage following intermission to make a rout of it.

Petaluma rotated the entire roster into the game, but it made little difference as the Lady Falcons combined a tight full-court defense with a barrage of buckets to advance to the second round. Center Caleigh McClenahan (6 feet, 2 inches) scored six points and pulled down seven rebounds in the uninterrupted rally. McClenahan finished with 11 points for Colfax.

“That is the first time we have seen pressure like that,” explained Ratshin. “It is hard to recreate the speed of that press in practice. I was disappointed with our reaction.”

Petaluma went without a field goal in the third stanza, and the T-Girls finally scored on two successful free throws by sophomore reserve Arikat. On several possessions, Petaluma went without a shot attempt because of the ability of Colfax to take away passing lanes. There were too many wasted trips down the floor for the T-Girls.

A low-scoring first half (17-12) gave a hint that the T-Girls could stay within reach, but the Lady Falcons scored five baskets in less than two minutes after halftime to eliminate that hope.

The normally high-scoring duo of Krist and Costa were limited to only seven points between them by the tight Colfax defense. Petaluma had only one field goal in the second half, and it was a 3-pointer off the glass by sophomore Lilah Bacon.

Arikat had five points off the bench to pace the T-Girls.

It was the first game of the season for the Falcons, who finished 18-12 in the Sac-Joaquin Section last season.