T-Girls sharp in Foundation Game

Petaluma pulled away from visiting San Rafael in the second half and the T-Girls opened the basketball season with a convincing 56-37 win in the season opening Foundation Game on Tuesday.

It was a physical outing for both clubs, with fouls reaching double digits, and a couple of technical fouls before the action concluded. The T-Girls and Lady Bulldogs were shooting double bonus shots from the charity stripe midway through the fourth stanza. Normally the officials allow the players to get early season jitters out of their system, but this one was rough from the beginning.

Nicole Costa, who led Petaluma with 14 points, got spun around on a hard foul with only a few minutes off the clock, and it was called a technical for the excessive contact. While rough, the play on both sides of the floor did not appear intentional, and the officials controlled the action with a steady series of foul calls.

The win by the T-Girls evened the Foundation results at one each after a Bulldog victory in Marin County that opened the campaign last season. Foundation games are sanctioned by the CIF, but do not count on the record of either team.

Man defense was the order of the night, but the offenses of both teams had a step advantage in moves toward the hoop. With Costa leading the way, the T-Girls opened with a 12-9 advantage in the first period, and they never looked back.

Costa scored all of her points in the first half when she found good looks at the top of the key for outside shots and occasional drives. The senior forward had four blocks and converted 5-of-7 foul-shot opportunities.

Petaluma was in midseason form on the line, converting 15-of-22 chances.

Junior center Jaden Krist was slow to get involved in the battle underneath, but she came out strong in the second half. Krist had only one lay-in basket in the first two periods but finished with 11 points and a team-leading eight rebounds.

T-Girl coach Jon Ratshin shuffled his entire roster in and out of the contest to get a good look at different combinations of players.

“I think that the girls are more focused this season, and they seem to be more anxious to play,” he noted. “I plan to substitute quite a lot tonight. We have some younger players who have good scoring potential. Kaleigh Pate could have a good year.”

Pate had a strong outing, directing the Petaluma attack while scoring nine points.

Sophomore Sheriene Arikat scored six points in limited time for Petaluma.

Lady Bulldog Joeddie Jean was a force on the inside for the visitors as she grabbed 11 rebounds while knocking in nine points. Many of her return shots fell off the rim as she battled hard on the inside. Jean had a team-leading 162 rebounds for San Rafael last season when it finished 6-21 and tied for sixth in the Marin County League.

Sophomore Paris Buchanan came off the bench to make a strong bid for playing time for the T-Girls with seven points and four steals. Buchanan also handed out two assists when both teams went to full-court pressure.

Games that count for the T-Girls begin on Tuesday when they host College Park of Pleasant Hill at 7:30 p.m. Later in the week, Petaluma will travel to Piner in Santa Rosa to open the Prospectors Tournament on Nov. 30. The T-Girls will face defending tournament champion Colfax in the opener.

Petaluma captured the junior varsity game against San Rafael 35-24.

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