Piner’s leading scorer Keith Adams didn’t score a field goal until midway through the third quarter in the last matchup with Elsie Allen. It was a game that the Lobos cruised home to an 81-65 win, which turned out to be the difference in the Sonoma County League Race. Adams got that field goal out of the way ten seconds into the Sonoma County League Post Season Championship Game.
That was just a start.
In a marvelous high school basketball game, Adams scored a season high 28 points and Piner, who led the game nearly the whole way, held on for a 65-60 win to foil Elsie Allen from adding on to its historic season. The game was played before a packed house at Elsie Allen High School.
The start of the game was delayed twice. The first time was to let the most of the big crowd get into the gym. The second, as things were ready to roll, was because of some moisture on one side of the court. Both teams went to help out drying off the area, which took about five minutes.
Once things got going, it was end to end action for most of the game. It didn’t take Adams long to get rewarmed up. He scored six of Piner’s first eight points in the first three minutes, as the Prospectors took a six point lead.
Elsie Allen would rally. Actually they would rally a few times. The first time Jalen Busby scored six of his 22 points, as Elsie Allen took a 14-12 lead with one minute to go in the first quarter. That turned out to be the Lobos’ only lead of the game. They would spend the rest of the game playing catchup and could never quite catchup.
Piner had a 16-15 lead a minute into the second quarter. They went on an 11-3 run to take their biggest lead of the game 27-18. This was the only part of the game that Piner didn’t get its offense from Adams. He scored two points in the second quarter, those on free throws which ended the first half scoring with the Piner lead at 32-25. Five different players scored in the second quarter for Piner, with Adam Kuzmicki scoring six of his 16. I t was part of an all-around game for him. Besides the 16 points, he had twelve rebounds and six blocked shots.
The pattern continued in the second half. Piner would lead the game the rest of the way, but Elsie Allen would be within striking distance. The only trend that changed from the second quarter was that Adams startded scoring again, nine points in each of the third and fourth quarters.
The closest Elsie Allen would get in the third quarter was five points. The last time was in a nutshell the way the game went. Elsie Allen was setting up for the final shot of the quarter. Joe Hoeup, who scored a team high 24 points, hit a shot with :06 left to cut the Piner lead to 50-45. Piner somehow got the ball down court in time for Levani Dominko to hit a three pointer at the buzzer, to get the lead back to eight. That was half of Dominko’s six points on the night . He would be heard from again with the defensive play of the game.
Elsie Allen scored the first six points on the fourth quarter to get the lead to two. Piner then scored four straight to regain control. Back and forth it went. Piner held a 57-56 lead with 3:30 left and the offensive type of game slowed down. The two teams went a minute and a half without a score when Adams, (who else) hit a three point shot to make it 60-56 with two minutes left. Adams scored the first seven Piner points of the fourth quarter
Elsie Allen had one more run in them. Two Busby free throws cut the lead to 60-58 with under a minute to go. Then Piner was called for a traveling violation, which was only their eighth turnover of the game.
Elsie Allen never got a shot up to try for the tie, instead their night turnover. That is when Dominko came up with the steal, making a super play knocking the ball away from behind. That started a fast break, which ended on a basket by Levi Lloyd. Lloyd was fouled on the play and he added the free throw and Piner had the win.
The win assures Piner its first twenty win season since 2009, when they went 22-8. That was also the last season they won a League Post Season Tournament Championship. Then they were in the North Bay League and that championship game ended Cardinal Newman’s undefeated season.
As for Elsie Allen, in its best regular season in school history, they settle for a 22-6 record. There is no Post Season Tournament Championship for the Lobos, but they are the 2015 Sonoma County League Champions.
Now it is on to the North Coast Section Playoffs. Both teams are in Division 3 and it will be interesting to see how things playout. Going into the Post Season tournament, Piner was one spot higher in the power rankings than Elsie Allen. Piner has won two out of three games from Elsie Allen. Neither team was ranked high enough for a home game. Whether or not the wins over Analy and Elsie Allen will get Piner a home game remains to be seen.
Elsie Allen is the league champion and could get the home game because of the league champion rule. There is one problem with that. Four of the top five teams in Division 3 power rankings are in first place in their league.
So we will see.
Either way, both teams that aren’t used to playing in that kind of a game, can be proud of the show they put on Friday night.
That is even though it was considered the back up to the main event.
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