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Girls basketball: Casa tops Petaluma

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA — Casa Grande drained five 3-pointers in the first quarter Monday to open a commanding lead over host Petaluma and then coasted to a 39-25 girls basketball victory over its crosstown rival.

The long-range barrage lifted the Gauchos to a 20-4 lead after one quarter.
Lyndsey Murnin had two 3-pointers in the opening minutes and finished with a game-high 18 points. Not a bad performance for a player trying to learn a new position.

“Last year, I was the shooting guard because Stephanie Sack was the point guard,” Murnin said. “Now that Steph is gone, I’ve taken over her position. I’m adapting, but it’s a completely different role. I do a lot more dribbling now.”

It looks like coach Dan Sack has done an excellent job retooling after losing his play-making daughter and leading scorer Gretchen Harrigan from a team that finished 31-3 last year. The Gauchos are now 4-1

“The first few games of the season, the girls had a tendency to get too amped up,” the coach said. “Everyone has a new role, so I think nerves played a role.
“I knew against Petaluma that nerves could play a role, so I stressed for them to just have fun playing. They came out loose and their shots were falling.”

The Gauchos hit five-of-12 from long range in that decisive first quarter and then hit only one-of-18 after that.
After building a 31-9 halftime lead, Sack substituted liberally in the second half and his team scored only eight points after intermission.

Only four Gauchos scored. In addition to Murnin’s 18, Lexi Schloetter had 11, Brooke Santander six and Emma Bryan four.
Petaluma had won its first four to open the season, so naturally coach Doug Johnson was disappointed with his team’s performance.

“We got in too big of a hurry, both on offense and defense,” he said. “We never settled down.
“We’ll go back to the drawing board and try and get this straightened out.”

Half the players on the Trojans’ squad are sophomores.
Sophie Binh was high scorer for Petaluma with seven points.

Casa Grande gets right back in action tonight when Novato comes to town.

Next up for the Trojans is the Ukiah Tournament. They open against SCL rival Piner on Thursday.