s
s
Sections
Sections
Subscribe
You've read 5 of 15 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read 10 of 15 free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
You've read all of your free articles this month.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting at 99 cents per month.
Already a subscriber?
We've got a special deal for readers like you.
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting 99 cents per month and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?
Thanks for reading! Why not subscribe?
Get unlimited access to PressDemocrat.com, the eEdition and our mobile app starting 99 cents per month and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?
Want to keep reading? Subscribe today!
Ooops! You're out of free articles. Starting at just 99 cents per month, you can keep reading all of our products and support local journalism.
Already a subscriber?

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All games 7:30 p.m.

Tonight

SCL

Boys

Healdsburg at Piner

El Molino at Petaluma

Elsie Allen at Sonoma Valley

NBL

Girls

Montgomery at Cardinal Newman

Windsor at Ukiah

Casa Grande at Santa Rosa

Rancho Cotate at Maria Carrillo

Wednesday

SCL

Girls

Sonoma Valley at Elsie Allen

Piner at Healdsburg

Petaluma at El Molino

NBL

Boys

Wednesday

Montgomery at Cardinal Newman

Windsor at Ukiah

Casa Grande at Santa Rosa

Rancho Cotate at Maria Carrillo


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.

UPCOMING SCHEDULE

All games 7:30 p.m.

Tonight

SCL

Boys

Healdsburg at Piner

El Molino at Petaluma

Elsie Allen at Sonoma Valley

NBL

Girls

Montgomery at Cardinal Newman

Windsor at Ukiah

Casa Grande at Santa Rosa

Rancho Cotate at Maria Carrillo

Wednesday

SCL

Girls

Sonoma Valley at Elsie Allen

Piner at Healdsburg

Petaluma at El Molino

NBL

Boys

Wednesday

Montgomery at Cardinal Newman

Windsor at Ukiah

Casa Grande at Santa Rosa

Rancho Cotate at Maria Carrillo

“I keep having to remind myself he’s 14 years old,” Galvan said of his young center, who scored 10 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and had three blocked shots in a win against Justin Siena last month.

Junior Juan Aguilar is averaging a double-double (12.5 points and 10 rebounds) in his role as power forward.

While Piner, Sonoma Valley and El Molino have had limited success in the pre-league season, coaches said they can’t be counted out.

Piner is young and Elsie Allen is rebuilding, while Sonoma Valley will test the waters with first-year coach Mike Boles.

On the girls’ side, the picture is a little clearer on who may be dominant.

Sonoma Valley could be considered a good bet to repeat as SCL champs, but the Dragons have shown a distinct lack of fire, Coccia said.

Sonoma Valley finished 11-1 in league and 22-7 overall last year, bringing home the first girls basketball title. But so far, they are 6-7 in tournament and pre-league games.

Senior Jenny Eggers, who was league co-MVP last year, and Sami Von Gober, the league’s defensive player of the year, return to lead the Dragons.

“We are the classic underachieving team,” Coccia said. “We have a chance of making school history. No Sonoma team has won two league championships in a row, ever. But we are losing games we would have won last year.”

By contrast, Healdsburg is 9-1 and Piner 6-1 in early action.

“They have played better teams than we have,” Healdsburg coach Jimmy Gonella said. “We’ll have to go after them.”

With seven returning players, including four starters, the Greyhounds could be formidable.

Point guard Grace Pillinini is averaging nearly 20 points a game, post Hailey Roux was a near-MVP last year, and at nearly 6 feet Keely Bullock will be a force inside, Gonella said.

Analy faces challenges after coach Tom Corriveau died last year. Former coach Earl Pasamonte has returned to lead the Tigers.

The Tigers also lost all-league first-teamer Valarie Viramontes, who transferred to Windsor for her junior year.

But, they also have three skyscrapers: senior Saja Spearman-Weaver and junior Isabella Neidermair, both listed as 6-3, and Amelia Benjamin, a 6-foot junior.

Piner has been strong so far, and with returning second-team all-leaguer Daisjah Shephard returning, the Prospectors can’t be overlooked.

Petaluma lost co-MVP Joelle Krist and all-leaguers Cassie Baddeley and Allison Scranton.

Junior Olivia Baldwin, an all-league first-teamer, will lead the Trojans.

Like Petaluma, Elsie Allen and El Molino have struggled early.

Defending league champ Sonoma Valley travels to Analy Friday for the Tigers’ first league game, a matchup that could set the stage for the season, coaches said.

“The league is wide open this year,” Gonella said. “Last year one or two teams dominated. But this year is going to be lots of fun, more competitive than the last five years. Whoever works the hardest should win.”

You can reach Lori A. Carter at 521-5470 or lori.carter@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @loriacarter.