SCL boys basketball: Sonoma Valley holds on to beat Petaluma 51-49

By ALLIE COLOSKY
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Johnny Malonari heaved the basketball toward to the hoop in one last attempt and had the crowd holding its breath as the ball rattled in and out at the buzzer.

The adrenaline was flowing from start to finish between the Sonoma Valley and Petaluma boys’ basketball teams, but the Dragons held on to win 51-49 in their second league game of the season.

“We ran our plays well and we got looks,” Sonoma Valley head coach Dennis Housman said. “It was great that Petaluma had their crowd out here. It’s enjoyable.”

Jessie Summers opened with the hot hands on the floor for the Dragons as he scored 15 of his 26 total points in the first half.

Sonoma Valley held the lead at the end of the first half by three points, but Petaluma wasn’t going away. The Trojans didn’t trail by more than three points at a time and even stole the lead twice.

“We tweaked our offense a little bit to try to give our scorers a better opportunity,” Petaluma head coach John Behrs said.

“We took the reins off a little bit.”

Led by Joe Lynch, who finished with 18 points and three rebounds, the Trojans surged ahead of the Dragons but couldn’t retain the lead at half time.

“I think we are just tired of coming in second in these games,” Behrs said.

In the second half, tensions ran high as the gym echoed with cheers from a rowdy home crowd. Cyle Gusse, who was 1-for-5 from the free-throw line in the first half, said the key was to block out the noise and focus on your form.

“It’s not something we are used to,” Gusse said, “but I just focused and blocked out everything the crowd was saying.

Gusse hit seven free throws in the closing minutes of the game to seal the Dragons 51-49 win. He finished with 12 points, six rebounds, four blocks, and an assist.

“Basketball is fun when it’s like that,” Summers said about the high intensity of the game.

Ryan Wilibanks finished with five points and three rebounds, while Alex Gustafson pitched in four points and three rebounds for the Dragons. Tristan Mertens and Vinny Albano each hit a bucket, as well.

Malonari finished with 13 points, three rebounds and three assists for the Trojans. Brandon Marweg added nine points, two rebounds and an assist as Petaluma outrebounded Sonoma Valley, 29-20.

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