Petaluma girls just plain better

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The story of the Petaluma High girls’ 56-36 basketball victory over American Canyon on Tuesday night can be told simply — Petaluma was the better team and it played better than its visitors.

The T-Girls are better ball handlers, better shooters, better rebounders and better defenders than the Wolves. Tuesday, the Petalumans also played one of their better games of the season.

It all added up to a one-sided win for the host team.

The victory was important not only because it was the T-Girls’ first Vine Valley Athletic League win of the season, and that means ever, but because it gave them momentum going into Thursday’s big clash against cross-town rival Casa Grande to be played in the Petaluma gym.

Petaluma is now 8-7 on the season.

Petaluma coach Jon Ratshin was especially pleased with the way his team handled American Canyon’s attempt at full-court pressure, something it is sure to face Thursday against Casa Grande.

“We kept our composure,” he explained. “We did well against their pressure and limited our turnovers.”

Petaluma’s own defense forced American Canyon into 22 turnovers and the Wolves hurt themselves with a poor shooting night, often missing attempts in the paint.

Petaluma, as it usually does, received points from many different sources, led by Rose Nevin with 14, and dominating backboard work. Sheriene Arikat added 12 points and sophomore Taylor Iacopi chipped in with 10 that included a pair of banked-in 3-pointers.

Team captain Kailegh Pate, who sets the tempo for the T-Girls, hit a 3-pointer to start the game, Petaluma scored the contest’s first six points, and the T-Girls never trailed.

Still, Petaluma led by just four at 21-17 with three minutes left in the first half. Those three minutes belonged to the T-Girls. Paris Buchanan hit a jump shot, Arikat drove for a hoop and Nevin scored twice from in close to give the T-Girls a 29-19 intermission lead.

Led by Nevin and Arikat and helped by 3-point hits by Pate, Marissa Temple and Kassidy Bacon, Petaluma built on its lead throughout the second half.

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