Unlike in the other league in town, the expected winners of the Sonoma County League in both boys and girls basketball are up in the air.
And to most SCL coaches, that’s a good thing.
“It’s going to be tough,” said Analy boys coach Brett Page. “As a coach, I feel like I have the best team, but I also feel like on any given night, Petaluma, El Molino, Elsie Allen, could beat us,” he said.
Last year, Elsie Allen’s boys set a Lobos record for wins and won the school’s first SCL basketball title, but it was also gutted by graduations — losing eight seniors from its 14-man roster.
In girls competition, while Sonoma Valley may be viewed as a possible repeat league champ, the Dragons’ coach has said his team doesn’t seem to have the same desire this year and they have so far underperformed.
Coaches in the North Coast League anticipate the Windsor boys and Cardinal Newman girls will come out on top. But SCL coaches say their league is far less predictable.
As league play tips off tonight and tomorrow for both leagues, we take a look at the SCL competition this year.
First, on the boys side:
Elsie Allen finished 11-1 in league last year and 22-7 overall, a school record, followed by Piner at 10-2 and 20-7.
But Analy, Petaluma and Healdsburg are shaping up to challenge for league supremacy, coaches say, with Piner a possible dark horse.
“I anticipate a tough league all the way through,” said Scott Behrs, who took over the reins this year at Petaluma from his father, who is assisting him. “We can beat anyone we step on the floor with, but we can also be beaten.”
The Trojans have shown a dual personality thus far, starting out 6-1 but have fallen to 6-5 in nonleague and tournament games.
Petaluma will be led down low by 6-6 Joey Potts.
“If he’s on his game, he can contest and alter shots in the paint,” Behrs said.
The Trojans’ Jan. 14 game at Analy may be an early harbinger of which team is dominant.
The Tigers return nine players, including the two starting guards Nick Fujii and Aidan Rodgers, who lead the team in scoring, assists and rebounds.
“They are our playmakers,” Tigers coach Page said of a team with eight guards and six “forward types.”
With that makeup, expect Analy to run and gun.
“That’s always been our MO. Full-court pressing and fast breaking,” Page said.
Emerging stars for the Tigers could include versatile guard Dominic Tripodi and 6-6 Jordan Armstrong.
Landon Courtman of Healdsburg was a first-team all-league selection last year as a sophomore and is already putting up strong numbers for the Greyhounds, averaging 15 points and 9 rebounds a game.
“His stats don’t even who how well he’s playing,” coach Nick Galvan said of the 6-6 junior who can play post or wing. “He’s very diverse, outside-inside player, who creates a matchup problem for other teams.”
A new face who may surprise other teams is Trey Chapman, a 6-7 freshman.