An impressive beginning fizzled into a 1-2 showing for the Petaluma High School boys basketball team in Cardinal Newman’s Rose City Invitational Basketball Tournament.
For the first time this season, the Petaluma boys basketball team closed the deal in their opening tournament game, upsetting Windsor’s Jaguars, 51-47.
As it turned out, the first game was the high point of the tournament for the Trojans, who then lost to Cardinal Newman, 59-44, and Santa Rosa, 56-39.
After a sluggish start against Windsor, Petaluma’s tenacious defense gave the Trojans a tenuous second-half lead they managed to hold through a frenzied final period.
“Learning how to close out a good team is going to bode well for us in the future,” said Petaluma coach Scott Behrs.
Good shooting kept Petaluma in the game in the first half until its defense spelled the difference over the final two periods.
It took three players — Kenny Alexander and George Tynes, with help from Julian Garrahan — but Petaluma was finally able to put the clamps on Windsor’s 6-foot, 6-inch Christian Jerrigan in the second half.
Jerrigan mauled the Trojans for 14 points in the first half, but scored only eight in the second and was not a factor down the stretch, getting just four points and one basket in the fourth quarter.
Equally important was the defensive hold Petaluma captain Zack Clark put on Windsor’s high-scoring guard Jordan Merical. Clark held the senior to one 3-point basket and prevented him from working the ball inside to Jerrigan.
With Jerrigan clogging up the middle, Petaluma pretty much had to confine its offensive efforts to the outside, but the Trojans were equal to the task, dropping home six crucial shots from beyond the arc.
Guards Eddie Bermudez (10) and Robbie Isetta (8) led the balanced Trojan scoring.
Alexander, who sat out much of the game with foul problems trying to contain Jerrigan, clinched the game for Petaluma in the final two minutes.
With the Trojans leading, 43-40, Alexander battled his way inside for a basket-and-one play and, after a Petaluma stop, fought again inside for a put-back hoop that upped the lead to 48-40.
A Windsor trade of fouls for free throws cut the Trojan margin, but was not enough to change the outcome.
Loss to champs
Cardinal Newman, on the way to the championship of its own tournament, stepped over Petaluma, 59-44, on the tournament’s second night.
The tournament host built a 32-19 first-half lead, and the Trojans never seriously threatened despite a 16-point third quarter.
Clark led the Trojans with 13 points, while center Alexander added nine.
Alexander and teammate Ryan Sullivan cracked heads during the fray, but both were able to play the next night despite visible bandages.
Santa Rosa’s constant in-your-face pressure proved too much for the Trojans to handle in the match for third place.
“The speed of the game and their pressure got to us,” noted Behrs.
Petaluma committed 26 turnovers in the game. Most were forced by the constant Santa Rosa pressure.
After falling behind, 18-9, in the first quarter, the Trojans played catch-up for the remainder of the game. Those efforts were hampered by a cold shooting night, particularly from the foul line, where they were just 7 of 16.