Sailing smoothly along through three quarters, Petaluma’s T-Girls basketball team hit a major storm toward the end and had to hang on desperately for a 43-42 win over Piner’s upset-minded Lady Prospectors last week in the Petaluma gym.

Led by the hot-hand of Nichole Costa, Petaluma built a seemingly solid 28-17 halftime lead over the cold-fingered Lady Prospectors. Costa nailed a three to start the game, and she went on to score seven of her nine game points in the first half.

At one point in the second period, Petaluma poured through 11 unanswered points as its lead swelled to 26-11. Sophomore Sherlene Arikat had six of the points in that run, including two on an impressive hook shot. She finished with 13 for the game.

A combination of poor Piner shooting from the outside and a tenacious T-Girl defense that kept the visitors out of the inside, helped the T-Girls dominate the first two periods. Piner’s nine points in the second quarter came on a trio of treys, two by sophomore Lizbeth Zavala, who finished with 23 points.

Petaluma went inside to center Jaden Krist in the third quarter, and the junior responded with three crucial baskets as the T-Girls maintained their nine-point lead (36-27) going into the final stanza.

All sorts of bad things happened to Petaluma in that last round.

Superb at ball handling and protecting the ball through the first three quarters, the T-Girls inexplicably threw it all over the court, failed to protect under pressure, walked and made sundry other miscues in the late going. Petaluma unofficially had 11 turnovers in the fourth quarter.

Angelina Scaccalosi started the final period with a driving lay-in for Petaluma. The T-Girls never scored again from the floor, getting only five free throws for the remainder of the game.

It was enough — barely.

With the intensity of the game increasing in inverse proportion to the dwindling of the time, Piner got a no-doubt three and a wild-looking runner from Mckenna Chantha and, finally, a desperation 3-pointer from Zavala that banked off the backboard and through the net to make it a 43-42 game with less than 1.8 seconds left.

The T-Girls managed to inbound the ball and escape with their league unbeaten record (6-0) intact.

Petaluma is now 15-5 for the season. Piner fell to 11-9 overall and 2-4 in league.