Thanks to different defenses, strong fourth quarter, and spread out scoring Vintage beats Sonoma Valley to get first league win

Kyle Foster


By Kyle Foster

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One of the best ways to put a game away is to not let your opponent score. After all, if you limit your opponent’s points, it means you just have to add a little bit of offense to put the game away. 

In Monday night’s Vine Valley Athletic League battle, the Vintage boys’ basketball team came away with a 57-50 victory over Sonoma Valley, in a game played at Crusher Gym. 

Over the final quarter of play, the Crushers (8-9 overall, 1-2 VVAL) held Sonoma Valley to just six points over the final quarter. 

Before this, the Dragons (8-8, 0-2 VVAL) were a bit behind the Vintage defense all night long. In the first quarter after going down 6-2, the Crushers reeled off a 10-0 burst to take control of the game. They were able to do that with the help of their half-court trap defense, which forced many turnovers, particularly in the key. 

“We mixed it up significantly,” Vintage head coach Ben Gongora said of the defensive scheming they did in the game. “I think we mixed it up defensively more this game than any other game all season. I have great respect for (Sonoma Valley head coach) Mike Boles. We knew he was going to come in prepared and he was. We’re calling out our defensive plays and they’re countering it with plays prepared for it. So we mixed it up.  We changed our defenses far more in this game than any other game year today.”

It also helped that with two minutes to go before the first half ended, Vintage went on a 7-2 run after the game had been tied at 29. This was able to give the Crushers the lead they needed to maintain after Sonoma Valley had fought back from a 6-point deficit. 

Vintage’s Jace Lopez drives to the basket in the first half against Sonoma Valley on Monday night at Crusher Gym. (Kyle Foster)

The trap wasn’t all that Vintage threw at them either. Between the full-court press, a 2-3 zone, and some man-to-man defense, it was hard to be ready for the new defense that was coming. However, Sonoma did as they were also well-prepared and had an answer for every type of defense shown to them. 

However, the main reason why the Crushers were able to play like themselves was they went back to their offensive identity of spreading out the scoring. In the game, they had a trio of double-digit scorers. 

“It’s always great when you can share the wealth,” Gongora said of the spread-out scoring. “I think Miles was the hot hand today. I think he had five threes, which is not normal. He’s one of the best players in the league this year, which is a very competitive league this year. So it’s great. Brady stepped up on the scoring column. Normally, Brady is a contributor that doesn’t necessarily reflect in points, effort, grinding it out defense, handling some of the ball pressure. So it’s great to see him take some of those open shots and nail them, especially in the second half when it was crucial minutes.”

Vintage’s Miles MacPhersoon goes up for a shot against Sonoma Valley in the first half on Monday night at Crusher Gym. (Kyle Foster)

Leading the way out of all of them was Miles MacPherson. The senior forward finished with a team-high 19 points and 6 rebounds. MacPherson was hard to stop in the first half where he scored 17 points. 

After that, it was Jace Lopez who finished with 14 points and 2 rebounds. The senior guard scored 9 points before the break while making both of his free throws in the game. Lopez also came up clutch with points when Vintage needed them the most as well.  

Brady Hearn also finished in double figures with 12 points and 5 rebounds. The senior guard scored 8 points in the second half while also making both shots from the line in the game. 

Rounding out the scoring for Vintage was Luke Haeuser (6 points, 3 rebounds), Nate Marroquin (4 points, 1 rebound), and Connor Gongora (2 points, 1 rebound). 

This game marks yet another in the VVAL where the two teams have played a close game. In the 11 meetings since the league started, Vintage has won 8. In 7 of those games, the game has been decided by 7 points or less. There have also been two games that went into many overtime. With the win, Vintage extended their league winning streak over Sonoma to 4 in a row. No matter what way you look at it, this is one of the best league matchups in the VVAL whenever they meet. Boles also has a Napa history as he led the Justin-Siena girls program to the CIF State Division 4 title game in 2014 before heading to Sonoma. 

“I just have tremendous respect for him,” Gongora explained of the competitive rivalry their programs have had. “He did so much for this community. Really did a phenomenal job with the Justin’s girls program for so long. I believe they just came short of a state title. That’s not by luck. I like the battles. They’re definitely nerve-racking. This one got a little nerve-racking until we’re able to pull away you know, at the end of the third and the in the fourth. But yeah, I like Mike. He’s a good guy.” 

The win also came as Vintage’s first in league play. After a tough first week of league play, it was important to get back in the win column. 

Both teams will continue VVAL play this week. Sonoma Valley will return home to host American Canyon on Wednesday at 7 pm. As for Vintage, they have the league bye on Wednesday before visiting Napa in the first Big Game of the season on Friday at 7 pm. 

In other league games on Monday night, American Canyon beat Napa 51-34.

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2024-01-09 08:01:13 , Napa Sports News

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