By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Two old foes got together Saturday night under different circumstances as the Piner girls basketball team defeated Elsie Allen, 41-21, in a Sonoma County League game.
Until this past fall, the athletic teams from the two schools met as members of the North Bay League.
This meeting saw Piner lead from start to finish, although the Prospectors didn’t open a commanding lead until the second half.
Elsie Allen trailed 19-8 at intermission, but went 10 minutes without scoring in the second half. During that span, Piner increased its advantage to 33-10.
Yesenia Arteaga led the Prospectors with 14 points and Sarah Arteseros added 11.
Elsie Allen had only two players in the scoring column. Elizabeth Sandoval had 12 and Maggie Contreras finished with nine.
While coach Jim Vargas was happy Piner got its first SCL win, he wasn’t pleased with his team’s performance.
“I didn’t feel like the effort was there,” he said. “We have a lot more ability than we showed in this game.
“To be competitive in the SCL, we have to play to our potential.”
The Prospectors don’t have size, but they shoot the ball pretty well.
“We have to make up for our lack of height with speed and a pressing defense,” Vargas said. “Right now, we’re relying too much on the 3-point shot. We need to work the ball around and get high-percentage shots.”
Against Elsie Allen, the Prospectors hit only three shots beyond the arc. Arteseros made one and Arteaga the other two.
Anna Samii was the game’s top rebounder with 11. Teammate Arteseros was next with 10. Daisha Hall, one of Piner’s top rebounders, missed the game with an ankle sprain.
Only six players dressed for the home team, down from 10 at the start of the season. Grades and injuries hit the Prospectors hard.
Piner is 2-5 overall and 1-1 in league. Elsie Allen is 1-9 and 0-2.
Donald Peoples, who is in his third year coaching the Lobos, is realistic about his team.
“Most of my players didn’t have any basketball experience when they started high school,” he said.
“As a coach, I can’t get too technical with teaching plays or defensive schemes. In practice, we work on fundamentals and conditioning.
“We don’t judge ourselves by wins and losses. We have our own set of goals. What I ask is that they play hard and never give up. If they do that, I’m pleased.”