Back-to-back double digit league victories have the Sonoma Dragons boys basketball team clinging to the fourth, and final, playoff spot in the Sonoma County League.
The top four SCL finishers pair off for a season-ending tournament, and after a pair of convincing wins the Dragons are poised in fourth place, a full game ahead of Healdsburg and already holding an advantage over the Greyhounds having beaten them in the SCL opener.
The Dragons started the week Wednesday night with a solid 53-31 devastation of Petaluma (1-5 SCL).
After a competitive first quarter that ended 16-12, the Dragons outscored the Trojans 37-19 over the final three periods. Senior Dylan Severson led the Dragons with 14 points, including a perfect 4-for-4 from the foul line.
In addition to Severson, nine other Dragons found the net as the team combined to shoot 40 percent from the field. Senior post player Adam Kohut turned in one of his top efforts of the season, finishing with nine points, eight rebounds and two steals.
Gianni Romano tallied eight points (five on free throws), freshman Dan Deely chipped in with seven points, and senior Steven McGunagle added four points and three rebounds. Dante Armstrong and Kevin Deely each scored three points and Kyle Simmons and Kevin Gomez had two points apiece.
Jo Jo Sanchez finished with one point, but made a huge contribution with seven rebounds.
The Dragons continued their solid play with a 60-49 win over El Molino that featured a wild fourth quarter that saw the two teams combine to score 46 points.
The Dragons took control of the contest in the early stages of the second quarter, building a double-digit lead and outscoring the Lions 20-4 in the period.
El Molino rallied to start the second half, holding the Dragons to just four third quarter points while putting up a 12-spot against the Sonoma defense. El Molino keyed its rally with a succession of made three-point shots and finished the night shooting 43 percent (6-14) from beyond the arc.
The dragons had three players, all seniors, in double figures led by Romano’s 17. Sverson hit the 14-point mark for the second consecutive game and Kohut tuned in another solid effort with 13 points.
The win improves the Dragons regular season mark to 7-13 and 3-3 in the SCL at the halfway point of the league schedule.
The Dragons started the second half of SCL play last night with a game at El Molino (with results unavailable at press time) and they will host first-place (6-0) Casa Grande tomorrow night at Pfeiffer Gym with a 7:30 tip-off.
Sonoma Dragons vs. Casa Grande Gauchos
Friday at 7:30 pm at Pfeiffer Gym
Sonoma – Casey Rogina
Casa Grande – James Forni
Records (as of Jan. 18, 2011):
Sonoma 7-13(3-3 SCL)
Casa Grande 16-4 (6-0 SCL)
Dragons: The Dragons are riding a potential three-game winning streak (pending the results against 0-6 El Molino last night in Forestville) and will be facing the Redwood Empire’s most surprising team. Ranked in the top-20 by the SF Chronicle and the owners of the first SCL win over Analy in two years, Casa Grande at 16-4 has opened some eyes in Bay Area basketball circles.
63-60 winners over Analy on their home floor, the Gauchos are looking to sweep the season series against Sonoma, having won convincingly, 57-42, on Jan. 7.
The Dragons are pleased with the recent emergence of post player Adam Kohut, coming off of perhaps his two best outings in a varsity uniform. Last week in the wins against Petaluma and El Molino, Kohut averaged 11 points and was a force on the boards.
Along with Kohut, Severson and Romano round out the “Big 3,” a trio that accounted for 66% of the Dragon offense last week.
The Dragons will have to improve on their efforts defensively, especially give the number of scorers on the Casa Grande roster. Friday night against El Molino, the SCL’s lowest scoring team nearly reached the 50-point plateau against Sonoma.
Gauchos: The high-scoring Gauchos are averaging 59 points a game, and scored 57 against Sonoma the last time the two teams met. Surprisingly, as ateam they shoot just a tick above 40 percent from the field and have a below-average 60 percent free throw success rate.
A big key is offensive rebounding, where the Gauchos get nearly 13 per contest, allowing their bevy of “green-light” shooters to cast off from distance without worry. Joey Rodriguez is the team’s top scorer at 17 ppg, but has made just 27 treys on 111 attempts. 6-5 Josh Hayforth has been the difference-maker, averaging a double-double with 14 points and 10 rebounds a game, often cleaning up on the offensive boards following a Gaucho miss from the outside.
Three-year varsity starter Nick Sherry is smooth and steady and at 6-5 has the ability to shoot over opponents or post them up.