The Casa Grande boys basketball team came within seeing distance of the first Vine Valley Athletic League post-season tournament championship game before stumbling at American Canyon last week.

Casa’s visiting Gauchos lost in the first round of the four-team playoffs to American Canyon’s Coyotes, 67-57.

Despite a strong effort, the Gauchos’ two weak points all season — turnovers (too many) and rebounds (not enough) — were exploited by their hosts.

Casa had 18 turnovers in the game and was beaten on the boards by the Coyotes, especially in the decisive fourth quarter.

Casa Grande got off to a hot start, jumping out to a 16-5 lead before the Coyotes started playing catch up.

American Canyon cut the Casa lead to 30-23 by the half, and had the game tied at 43-43 by the end of the third period.

Led by freshman Khai Curry, American Canyon outscored the Gauchos, 24-14, in the final period to win going away.

Garrett Siebels led Casa with 15 points, while Oliver Aandahl scored 21 for American Canyon.

The loss ended the Casa Grande season at 14-13 overall and 6-6 in VVAL play.