By DAN GOLDMAN
The Sonora High School girls' basketball team got twice the action, but not twice the fun, at the 29th annual Kiwanis Girls Basketball Tournament as the Wildcats lost both the championship and seventh-place games at Bud Castle Gym on Saturday .
Thanks to a scheduling quirk that forced the Wildcats to step in and play for the Casa Grande Gauchos when the Petaluma team backed out of the tournament, the Wildcats opened Saturday's action at noon against Bret Harte just 14 hours after beating McQueen of Reno 55-45 in a championship-bracket semifinal on Friday night. Noticeably worse for the wear, Sonora managed to score just 15 first-half points en route to a 45-37 loss.
With just 3.5 hours of rest between the end of the seventh-place game and tipoff of their championship battle against the Alameda Hornets (who had not played since their semifinal game ended at 8 p.m. Friday), the winded Wildcats fell behind by as many as 22 points in the third quarter before settling for a 60-49 loss and a second-place finish.
"We did some good things (against Alameda)," Sonora coach Charmon Logan said. "But it's hard to recover from 20 turnovers in the first half."
"We played great in the second half," when Sonora outscored the Hornets by a 31-22 margin, "But we had a few kids in foul trouble and fatigue was a factor."
The Wildcats opened the tournament on Friday against McQueen after receiving a first-round bye on Thursday because of Casa Grande's absence and looked immediately like they had deserved, instead of lucked into, a championship-bracket semifinal.
With Jessica Peterson scoring 11 points and grabbing five rebounds in the first quarter, the Cats jumped out to a 17-6 lead and never looked back as they rolled to a surprisingly easy 55-45 win over a Lancers team that had sliced apart Summerville by the score of 61-52 on Thursday night with a deadly combination of precision passing and perimeter shooting.