By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
PETALUMA — Cetrick Yeaney scored a career-high 34 points and nailed eight of 11 shots from beyond the arc as host Casa Grande defeated Petaluma, 58-44, Friday night in the Brett Callan Memorial Tournament.
The senior was at his best in the fourth quarter while thwarting a comeback by the Trojans. After trailing by double digits, Petaluma had closed to within 39-35 after three quarters and had the momentum.
However, coming out of the break, Yeaney swished three straight 3-pointers in less than two minutes to bump the lead up to 13. Petaluma never recovered.
Both teams lost opening round games in the tourney and today at 3 p.m., Casa plays Elsie Allen for the consolation championship while Petaluma meets Albany for seventh place at 1:30 p.m.
In winner’s bracket games on Friday, Fairfield defeated Windsor, 50-48, and Alameda advanced by defeating George Washington, 72-59.
The winners play for the title at 6 p.m.
There wasn’t a player in the winner’s bracket that got close to Yeaney’s 34. Among his admirers is Petaluma coach John Behrs.
“He’s a helluva player,” Behrs said. “We defended him outside the three-point line and he was still making everything. Whenever Casa needed a basket, he came through.”
One of Yeaney’s attributes is his quick release which keeps defenders from getting set.
“He’s efficient,” Casa coach James Forni said. “He’s got a quick pull-up and a smooth shot.”
Most of Yeaney’s shots on Friday touched nothing but net.
Single-handedly, he got Casa off to a quick start as he scored 13 of his team’s 19 points in the first quarter. “Hitting those first couple got me loose,” Yeaney said. “After that, I started looking for shots and my teammates got me the ball.”
The 34 points is the third highest total in the seven years the Callan has been held. Cloverdale’s Robby Rowland owns the record with 43 followed by Richmond’s Demarko Onyejiekwe with 35. Casa, the defending champs, is now 4-3 while Petaluma falls to 1-9.
The Trojans are showing progress, coach Behrs believes.
“I see a lot of improvement in the two games we’ve played at this tournament,” he said.
“We’re running our offensive sets better and our defense has also gotten better. We’re getting there. We’ll be ready when the SCL starts in early January.”
Petaluma had three players in double figures — Clay Swanson (14), Eric Hunsicker (12) and Noah Forrey (12).