Several players return, but a new Trojan look

Although Petaluma High’s basketball team returns five players from last season, it is definitely a new year for the Trojans.

The newness begins at the top, where Anton Lyons takes over as head coach. Lyons comes to Petaluma after having coached at Las Lomas, Northgate and Windsor. He also has an extensive playing background. He was a league MVP at Santa Rosa Junior College, played D1 basketball at the University of Idaho and professional basketball in Germany and Australia.

He says this year’s Petaluma team has a lot of potential, but with only two seniors, he is looking for not only immediate success, but also for the future. “Development is the key,” he says.

One of those seniors, is newcomer Alex Siedler, who will join 6-foot, 5-inch junior Julian Garrahan in giving Petaluma strength inside.

The other senior is 6-foot, 3-inch Ryan Sullivan, a veteran from last season’s varsity who is being counted on to play a major role on this season’s team.

Lyons is carrying two sophomores, guard Ryan Giacomini and Cole Garzoli. Both have seen playing time in the early going and both are expected to contribute on the varsity level.

Everyone else, nine in total, are juniors. They include an inside-out combination in Garrahan and Esteban Bermudez.

Garrahan has played well in Petaluma’s first two games, both wins over Maria Carrillo (66-60) and San Rafael (43-33). To say he played sparingly as a varsity sophomore would be an understatement.

“He only played 15 minutes all year,” Lyons says. “I’m not surprised with the way he is playing, but I think the community will be surprised.”

Bermudez often started in his sophomore campaign, and he was one of the team’s best outside shooters. He is being asked to do much more this year. “Esteban’s role is to distribute the ball,” Lyons explains.

Returning to the varsity after seeing playing time as sophomores are Eric Perez and Ivan Cortes. Both will be counted on to make major contributions.

Matt Baumsteiger, Luke Ronshausen, Reece Lakritz and Liam Gottschall move up from last season’s 17-8 junior varsity team battling for varsity playing time.

Lyons has been impressed in the early going with Lakritiz’ potential as a scorer and Gotschall’s work on defense.

The Trojans will run when the opportunity is there, but when they go into a set offense, the objective is to get a shot in close. “We want to score inside-out,” Lyons explains.

But, for the new coach, scoring is the product of a good all-around game.

“Rebounding and defense are the keys,” he maintains.

Lyons’ assistant coaches are Andrew Riley, Steve Mahrt and Brian Siebel. He is also being helped by two former St. Vincent head coaches. Jarret Pengel is coaching the junior varsity, while long-time varsity coach in both Sonoma and Marin counties Lance Phillips is coaching/teaching the freshmen.

Petaluma will not compete in Casa Grande’s Brett Callan Tournament this year, but will play in Cardinal Newman’s Rose City Tournament on Dec. 12-14 and host its own Petaluma Classic Tournament on Dec. 27-30.

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