It wasn’t exactly a masterpiece, but for the Petaluma High School boys basketball team, Friday night’s 72-52 Vine Valley Athletic League win over Vintage was a work of art.
It was certainly the most complete game Petaluma has played this season. The Trojans ran their offense efficiently, shot well and played defense like men on a mission.
It was also a total team effort. Every Trojan played, and 10 added to the scoring total.
“That’s the difference between making and not making your shots,” said Petaluma coach Scott Behrs after his team had connected on 11 shots from beyond the arc.
But it was more than long-range bombing that helped Petaluma dominate a good Vintage team. It was also a tenacious arm-waving, body thumping, pass-denying defense that began with team captain Zack Clark and seemed to sweep like an epidemic through the entire team.
Petaluma’s defense, featuring, among others, Sam Brown, Garrett Gehring, Ryan Sullivan and Kenny Alexander, made interior life difficult for Vintage’s 6-foot, 5-inch freshman sensation Grant Polk, limiting him to nine points.
The Crusher offense was pretty much confined to senior Jared Rendon, who scored from inside out, and finished with 19 points.
While Petaluma’s scoring was roster deep, there were several Trojans who stepped up at opportune times to ensure what was their team’s most impressive win of the season.
In the first quarter, it was Ivan Cortes and Lucas Stevenson who hit big 3-pointers to help the Trojans eke out a 16-15 lead.
In the second period, it was Eric Perez who took over the game, hitting a trio of threes to lead the Trojans to a double-digit (25-15) lead.
At the tag end of the quarter, ball-handling guard Robbie Isetta pumped in a hit from beyond the arc and closed out the half with a driving lay-in.
By the intermission, the Trojans led, 35-19, and the Crushers were beginning to realize that not only was Petaluma for real, but they were in real trouble.
Any hopes the Crushers had of escaping that trouble were stuffed at both ends of the court by Alexander.
Confined to the bench, as usual, by foul trouble that was not entirely of his own making, the senior roared into the game in the second half. Not only did he take control of the paint, but he showed his shooting touch as well, dropping in a pair of 3-pointers. He scored 14 points in the second half and finished with 17 in the game.
Three long-range connections by Cortes early in the third period and two more by Alexander near the end of the quarter sealed the decision.By midway through the fourth quarter, Behrs had cleared his bench.
The varsity victory capped a great evening in their home gym for the Trojans.
The Petaluma freshmen lost the night’s first contest to the Vintage frosh, 67-66, but turned in a gritty performance in an exciting double-overtime battle.
The Petaluma junior varsity played an equally exciting contest, but came out on the right side of a 71-65 thriller that also went overtime.
Although just 5-10 on the season, the Trojans are 2-0 in league play going into a huge home game Friday night against cross-town rival Casa Grande.