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Casa has too much for Petaluma

Published: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.
Last Modified: Wednesday, December 4, 2013 at 3:05 p.m.

Casa Grande had too much of everything for Petaluma's Trojans in the first official boys basketball game of the season for both teams Tuesday night.

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Casa Grande's Jon Christy battles Petaluma's Joe Lynch for a rebound.


Casa's Gauchos were too tall, too experience and, most importantly, too much better at putting the ball in the basket. The result was a one-sided 62-31 win for the Gauchos in a game that was fun and spirited for the rival fans, if not really competitive on the court.

Casa opened with three starters and a player who had much playing time last season, while Petaluma began with just one returning starter and one other player who had varsity experience. By the second quarter, the experience gap was evident.

The game was close for a quarter. Petaluma's Joe Lynch battled the Gauchos inside for the first eight minutes and connected on four short jump shots as Petaluma surprised its host in the Coach Ed Iacopi Gymnasium, reaching the end of round 1 trailing just 11-10.

“With the crowd, a rivalry game and our first game, I just think we were too fired up in the first quarter,” said Casa coach James Forni.

The competitiveness quickly went out of the game in the second period. Casa Grande, with four players — Cetrick Yeanay, Will Crain, Colin McDonald and Jon Christy — scoring, counted the first eight points of the period for a 19-10 lead and never looked back.

Meanwhile, the chill of the outside night air crept into a Petaluma uniform and the Trojans went icy cold, hitting only two shots in the second quarter. By the half, the Gauchos were solidly in front, 30-14.

Things just never got better for the Trojans. Christy, all 6-foot, 6-inches of him, dominated the inside and chipped in a couple of mid-range jumpers, and returning all-league guard Yeanay warmed to the occasion as the Gauchos took complete charge.

Meanwhile, Petaluma managed just one basket, an inside effort by Thomas Swanson, and a pair of free throws by Branden Marweg in the entire third period.

Both sides went liberally to the bench to close out the game's competitive final minutes.

A highlight of the second half occurred early in the fourth quarter when Petaluma's big Justin Mahrt pushed up a deep shot clock-beating 3-pointer that banked home. The crowd was still in awe of that connection, when Christy dunked with rim-ringing authority at the other end.

Yeanay from outside and Christy inside outscored he Trojans themselves with Yeanay counting 18 and Christy 16, but, before it was over, all the Gauchos pitched in, with eight of the 10 active players scoring. Colin McDonald and Will Crain scored six points each with Crain also pulling down six rebounds to help Christy, who had eight retrieves, on the backboards.

Scott Cole had a nice game off the bench for Casa with four points, five rebounds, two assists, a block and three steals.

Lynch led Petaluma with 10 points, scoring all in the first half, while Marweg hustled to the end for Petaluma, drilled a 3-pointer and finished with nine points.

“We stressed not making turnovers and offensive rebounds, and we didn't do either very well,” said Petaluma coach John Bhers. “We made too many turnovers (17 in the game), and we didn't keep them off the boards.”

Part of Petaluma's scoring problems came from poor shot selection, with many efforts coming from hurried long-range distance. “We just weren't aggressive on offense,” Behrs noted.

Forni was pleased with the Gaucho effort.

“I was proud of how hard the kids played,” he said. “The are a good group. They want to learn. They are up to the challenge of wanting to get better every game.”

Casa Grande goes to San Marin to meet a good Mustang team Thursday and then faces a very good College Park team in Pleasant Hill Saturday. That game tips off at 4 p.m.

The Gauchos Bret Callan Tournament will be Dec. 19 to 21.

Petaluma will participate in the Ukiah Tournament, opening Thursday with a 6:30 p.m. game against host Ukiah. The tournament runs through Saturday.

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