The battle for the lead in the Sonoma County League Girls race between Analy and Healdsburg won’t go down as a thing of beauty. The two teams combined for 46 turnovers. Twice there was over three minute stretches without a point. But what it lacked in beauty, it made up for in suspense and tension at double the value, with the game going into overtime.

Healdsburg and Analy girls ready for tip off.

Analy’s Sarah Brown hit her fourth 3 point shot with :55 left in the overtime and then Analy survived a hectic last minute to take a 41-40 win over No. 3 Healdsburg. The two teams went into the game as the last two undefeated teams in the league race. So this morning, Analy is in sole possession of first place.
The pattern for the game was set in the first quarter. Brown hit her first three point shot a little over five minutes into the game. That was Analy’s first points and it still gave them a 3-2 lead. She hit her second one forty seconds later to make it 6-4. Analy would hold the lead until late in the fourth quarter, the biggest lead was six, which they had several times. Brown, who averages a little over six points a game, scored 14 points, which was not only a game high, but a season high for her.
Healdsburg was frustrated by a pressing Analy defense. It wasn’t only the tradition kind of pressing defense. It seemed like after every Healdsburg rebound, an Analy hand would sneak in to force a turnover or at the very least, start a battle that would end up with bodies on the floor, which would lead to a held ball call. Add to that, Healdsburg couldn’t buy a three point shot.
Despite that Analy couldn’t pull away. Healdsburg’s defense was just as tough and for every turnover Healdsburg committed on offense, they got back on defense. Also while Healdsburg couldn’t hit a three, Analy couldn’t hit a free throw. There wasn’t that many fouls called in the first place. For example there was only one called in the third quarter. Analy didn’t take advantage of the few chances they had going two of thirteen from the line.
Going into the fourth quarter Analy had its standard six point lead at 33-27. That score held for over half the fourth quarter. The first score came with under three minutes left when Healdsburg’s Grace Pillinini scored on an old fashioned three point play to cut Analy’s lead in half. That was followed by back to back baskets by Kennedy Seuferer, which gave Healdsburg a 7-0 run and a 34-33, their first lead since 4-3. Seuferer and Pillinini each scored a team high 12 points.
The lead was short lived. On the next possession Sophie McFadden scored to give Analy a 35-34 lead. McFadden scored nine points, seven of them in the second quarter. Her average on the season is 5.2.
After that it was mayhem. Loose ball after loose ball, scramble after scramble. Analy had missed opportunities in the first three quarters at the foul line. Healdsburg’s would miss theirs in the last minute of regulation, hitting only one of eight from the line. On one possession with :28.4 left and the game tied 35-35, they missed two free throws, got the offense rebound, were fouled again and hit one of two to give them a 36-35 lead with :24.9 left.
The Healdsburg defense then caused a turnover and Analy was forced to foul with :11.9 left. Once again Healdsburg left points on the floor by hitting only one of two. They still had a 37-35 lead as the clock wound down under ten seconds. Brown then hit a driving lay-up, which was her only two point goal of the game to force overtime.
The overtime was much like the game. It took over two and a half minutes for a point to be scored. That was by Analy when they hit one of two free throws. The next two possessions were the best offensive flow of the game. Sydney Craighead scored her only points of the night when she hit Healdsburg’s second three pointer to give them the lead 40-38 with 1:10 left. Brown answered with her fourth and final three point shot for the final score of the night.
That set up the frantic last minute. On Healdsburg’s next possession there was another scramble, which led to another held ball. There was at least ten held ball calls on the night, most of them in the fourth quarter or overtime. The arrow was pointing to Analy, so they had the ball and the lead with :32.7 left.
This is when the lack of fouls came back to bite Healdsburg. They had committed only three fouls in the second half and overtime, so they need to commit four to get Analy to the line. Analy did a super job playing keep away. It took twenty seven seconds for Healdsburg to commit three fouls. There was :05.5 left and Healdsburg still needed to commit one more. They did that with :04 left. After the missed free throw, the battle for the rebound went out of bounds with :03 left off of Analy. After a time out, Healdsburg missed a 40 footer at the buzzer.
Besides Brown’s 14 points for Analy, she also had eight rebounds. Deanna Hayes didn’t score, but also had eight rebounds, three of them in overtime. Isabella Neidermair scored 10 and pulled down a team high ten rebounds and was a defensive force underneath all night.
The game’s leading rebounder was Healdsburg’s Keely Bullock with 14. Hailey Roux, the Hounds leading scorer on the season, added nine rebounds to go with 11 points.
The win gives Analy a four game winning streak which puts them at 9-9. It is the first time they have been at .500 since starting 1-1. More importantly at 4-0 they are in sole possession of first place in the league race, one game ahead of Healdsburg and Sonoma Valley.  Analy also has a win over Sonoma Valley. Both games have been at Analy, so in the second round of the league race they will have to go on the road to meet those teams.
Healdsburg had an eight game winning streak snapped and falls to 13-2. This was the start of a big three game stretch. On Wednesday they host Petaluma, which will be followed by a trip to Sonoma Valley to end the first half.
In another SCL game, Olivia Baldwin scored 21 points to lead Petaluma past Piner 59-48. Both those teams have two losses in SCL play.
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