If the Petaluma Trojans make any noise in the Sonoma County League basketball race this season, their games in the cozy home gym on Fair Street will be a big factor.
Playing in front of a boisterous but good-natured student section at the end of the playing floor, the Trojans opened the home end of the SCL schedule with a lopsided 68-34 win over El Molino on Saturday. It was the third win in as many tries in the revamped Trojan Gym for the Scott Behrs-coached team that seems to play well in the atmosphere in which young Trojan fans jump aboard in full throat.
The Trojans methodically ran past an out-matched El Molino club on a rare Saturday league contest by racing to a 19-4 lead in the first quarter. Petaluma was paced by the offensive efforts of senior forward Jack Anderson. Anderson connected on a pair of shots from behind the arc, and he finished the first stanza with 10 of his game-high 17 points. He was 3 of 6 in the opening minutes, and it allowed Petaluma to substitute liberally while the Trojans aggressively defended the interior.
Everything the Lions tossed up was under pressure, especially on the inside, where Anderson and Devin Gottschall controlled the painted area. El Molino shot a frigid 2 for 19 in the first and deciding quarter. Seven missed shots were from the 3-point area.
Starting point guard Robbie Isetta and reserve interior player Kenny Alexander combined for 15 points in the second quarter as the Trojans extended their advantage to 42-19 at intermission.
Alexander became a fan favorite in this one, and he finished with 10 points between time on the floor and applying ice to his knees.
The regulars for Petaluma tightened the defensive screws in the third period as the Trojans outscored El Molino, 15-3. Different-look presses were abandoned by the 2-minute mark, and both teams substituted in varying combinations.
The most excitement for the Trojan students came early in the third period, and directly in front of them when Anderson grabbed a deflection and drove for a slam dunk to end his work for the night. Late entry George Tynes blocked a Lion shot that also generated more ramped-up student racket.
Petaluma improved to 2-0 in the SCL with a couple of early season victories. The Trojans’ overall record is 8-7.
Through most of the second half, first player off the bench Trey Davis continued to work the Petaluma offense, and finished with six points and two assists. Gottschall finished with seven points despite playing less than half the game.
El Molino matched the scoring of the Trojans in the final stanza, but the game had been long since decided. The Lions slipped to 3-11 for the season. Shane Spelman had five points for El Molino in the second half.
Petaluma walloped the visitors, 71-31, in the junior varsity contest.
The win was the second straight to start SCL play for the Trojans, who, earlier in the week beat Elsie Allen in Santa Rosa, 56-44.