To call the Tomales High start to its boys rivalry game in St. Vincent’s DeCarli gym Tuesday night bad would be a huge understatement. The visiting Braves scored zero points, as in nothing, in the entire first period as the Mustangs zipped to a dominating 46-28 win.
As was the case for the entire game, Tomales, with only seven players, had a terrible time getting shots basket-bound against the suffocating St. Vincent man defense, often resorting to shots from downtown Rohnert Park.
Meanwhile, the Mustangs, led by Miguel Bunting, opened the game sizzling, and they didn’t much cool off the entire game. Bunting scored nine points in the opening salvo and went on to score 14 despite spending a great deal of inactive time as coach Jarred Pengel rotated his players freely throughout the game. When Bunting wasn’t scoring, he was assisting his teammates with pinpoint passing.
Also instrumental in St. Vincent’s early assault was center Joe Berniklau, who dominated the paint at both ends of the court, grabbing rebounds and blocking Tomales’ efforts for inside baskets.
To the Braves’ credit, they refused to be crushed by their bad start and, after big Concho Padilla had finally given them points with a rebound and put back, pulled to within nine at 19-10, led by Riker Whitt, who continuously drove into the danger zone that was the Mustang inner defense.
The game stayed reasonable, although one-sided, until Berniklau and Matt Pierson, working off passes from Bunting, turned it into a rout in the final quarter.
Andy Azevedo and Whitt each scored 11 points for Tomales. Azevedo, the Braves’ scoring leader, was under intense defensive pressure from St. Vincent the entire game.
Pengel said it was nice to be able to get everyone playing time against the Mustangs’ rivals. “It was good for the kids and hopefully it was good for the parents as well,” he said.
Now 2-9 on the season and 1-1 in North Central League II play, the coach said is convinced the Mustangs can still be a factor in the league race.
“We’ve played well, but we don’t know how to finish games,” he said. “We haven’t learned how to win. We just have to learn how to finish.”
Tomales is now 2-7 overall.
Last week, St. Vincent sandwiched a win between a pair of losses, but only one of the defeats really hurt.
That loss was a North Central League II fall against Sonoma Academy. The Coyotes jumped out to a 15-1 opening-quarter lead and never looked back, romping to a 51-27 victory.
The Mustangs bounced back to defeat Technology, 52-47, in another league contest. The game was close from the start, with the Mustangs earning the win with a 14-point final quarter.
St. Helena beat the Mustangs in a non-league contest, 45-38. St. Vincent led at the half, 20-18, but faded in the final quarter when the Saints outscored them, 45-38.
Tomales lost its NCL II opener to Rincon Valley Christian 67-31.
Azevedo carried the Tomales scoring with 19 points.