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Tough loss for SV boys to league-leading Coyotes

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Sonoma Academy grabbed a stranglehold in the North Central League IV boys basketball race with a convincing 60-44 win over visiting St. Vincent in Santa Rosa on Tuesday night.

The favored Coyotes broke open a game that could have gone either way after intermission by outscoring the Mustangs, 15-5, in the third stanza. It was their 10th consecutive victory under coach Luc Martin.

St. Vincent went completely cold in the opening minutes of the deciding period, and with that went any chance of overhauling the front-running Coyotes. St. Vincent began to take a number of off-balance shots, and fell behind by as many as 18 points twice in the third stanza.

Tyler Pease finally connected on a short field goal with only 3:49 left in the third quarter, but by that time the smooth-operating Coyotes were knocking down too many easy shots in back of the St. Vincent zone defenders. At one point, St. Vincent was held scoreless, going 0-for-13 from the floor.

A 2-pointer by Marco Dela Santino and four consecutive free throws helped Sonoma Academy (17-4) pull away.

The Coyotes won the battle of the boards with Thomas Zelazny and Ian Wade grabbing 11 boards between them in the second half, many on second efforts.

It was a disappointing overall contest for the Mustangs, who carried a four-game win streak of their own since dropping a hard-fought 40-37 decision to Sonoma Academy in DeCarli Gym earlier in the month.

Pease continued to impress in his first season, leading the Mustangs with 14 points while grabbing eight rebounds. Junior Joe Sartori came off the bench to back Pease with nine points and AJ Fetter added eight.

Zelazny topped the balanced Coyote attack with a game-high 16 points, followed by Chance Colbert with 14 and sophomore Sebastian Gonzalez, who tossed in 12. The streaking Coyotes connected on 8-of-14 shots from behind the arc.

Sonoma Academy is now rated 11th in the boys Division V playoff rankings by Max Preps. The Coyotes hold wins over all the teams in the combined North Central League this season.

St. Vincent fell to 2-4 in league and 8-5 for the season.

SV girls win

Alex Ditizio dropped in a game-high 23 points to pace the St. Vincent Lady Mustangs to a key 55-42 win over home-standing Sonoma Academy on Tuesday. The win vaults the Mustangs into a first-place tie with the Lady Coyotes in the NCL IV with only two games left on the schedule.

Ditizio hit her first triple early in the first period to give the Mustangs a 3-2 advantage, and they never looked back. St. Vincent improved its advantage to 18-8 at the end of the first period, and the Mustangs were never headed by the stunned Coyotes.

The Mustangs recovered from a narrow 2-point win over Calistoga on Friday to post their most impressive victory of the season. Pinpoint passing and a well-executed press breaker were on display during the entire first half.

Time and again, St. Vincent got the ball to Julia Murphy at mid-court, and she delivered the ball to cutters behind the Coyote full-court pressure defense.

Ditizio had 14 points and Murphy added seven as St. Vincent pulled away to a 31-18 advantage at intermission.

“That was as good a first half of play as we have put together all season,” said a happy coach Shannon Carroll. “The girls can move the ball against the press anyway, but this was special. Everybody played well.”

Sonoma Academy (15-7) made a couple of rallies to pull to within eight points, but each time, the Coyotes were turned away by the 3-point shooting of Ditizio and the inside work of Sully Henry.

Henry was again saddled with foul problems, and was forced to sit out much of the second period. When she returned in the third period, the hard-working senior scored 10 points on the inside to completely frustrate the Coyote comeback. Sonoma won the first meeting between the two teams, 37-34.

For the contest, Ditizio finished with five shots from distance, backed by 14 points from the hustling Henry. Murphy ended the game with nine points and point guard Alexandria Saisi added seven. Ditizio completed an all-around effort with 10 rebounds.

It was the fourth win in the last five games for St. Vincent, now 12-9 for the season. Its only recent loss was to Rincon Valley Christian. “They are rated No. 4 in Max Preps,” Carroll noted.

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