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The Vintage High girls basketball team opened Monticello Empire League play with a 45-37 home win over 2017 MEL runner-up Wood on Friday night.

The Crushers (11-7 overall) trailed 10-7 after the first quarter, but managed to take a 23-22 lead into halftime despite 21 first-half turnovers.

“We came out with tons of energy, mostly nervous energy,” Vintage head coach Joe Donohoe said. “We were turning the ball over at an alarming rate at the start. We settled down a bit in the second quarter, and our relentless effort on the defensive end continually bailed us out after turning it over. Our halftime adjustment was simple: take care of the ball and continue to defend.”

The Crushers outscored Wood 14-3 in the third quarter, limiting their turnovers to three. Wood kept coming, though, getting to within five points a few times in the fourth quarter.

Donohoe said Alyssa Andrews had the play of the game when Vintage was up by five points with 2:50 to go.

“They had a lay-up on a breakaway over the top and Alyssa sprinted back, deflecting the pass out of bounds,” the coach recalled. “On the ensuing inbound, we got a steal and a lay-up of our own to go up by seven. All around, a tremendous effort by all.”

Kate Ilsley was a force for Vintage, grabbing 18 rebounds and scoring 14 points with three assists and three steals, Nicole Gleeson led the scoring with 15 points and added three steals, three blocks and numerous deflections. Andrews had four points, nine rebounds and three steals, and Megan Kuehl four points, four rebounds and five steals. Carlyn Bacci and Morgan Groves added three points each, and Maya Sapienza chipped in two points, four rebounds and two steals while playing outstanding defense, the coach said.

Vintage held Wood junior captains Devon Lewis and Savannah Lopez, who averaged 15 points against them last year, to 12 and seven points, respectively.

“I’m very proud of our consistent desire to compete,” Donohoe said. “With starter Bailey Loban out for a couple of games due to injury, I’m especially proud of the next-player-up attitude we demonstrated tonight.”

Rodriguez 78, Napa 68

Despite scoring a season-high 68 points, led by Malia Blackmon’s career-high 30, the Indians dropped their MEL opener on the road Friday night.

Rodriguez led 40-31 at halftime. Napa cut it to two points in the third quarter, but could not maintain its momentum.

“It was a very fast-paced and intense game,” Napa head coach Darci Ward said. “I am extremely proud of the entire team. Everyone was very focused and intense throughout.

Blackmon, who had four 3-pointers, added six rebounds, two assists and three steals. Anna Ghisletta also had a career-best scoring night, with 17 points, along with nine rebounds, an assist and a steal. Breck Hearn had 11 points, 10 rebounds and three assists, and Carly Johnson six points, four rebounds and two steals.

Jane McLoughlin had two points, six rebounds, four assists and three steals while playing nearly all 32 minutes.

“She has amazing stamina, and is so consistent for our team on offense and defense,” Ward said of McLoughlin.

Varsity Boys Basketball

Justin-Siena falls to 0-4 in MCAL

The Braves were still looking for their first Marin County Athletic League win after falling 52-31 at Drake on Tuesday and 48-45 at Redwood on Thursday.

On Tuesday, Justin-Siena (6-8, 0-4 MCAL) trailed 14-3, 29-12 and 37-18 between quarters.

The Braves were led in scoring by Cole Cummings (eight points, two rebounds, assist) and Barrett Donohoe (eight points, three assists, two steals, two rebounds). Also contributing were Chris Vaziri (four points, five rebounds, three steals), Jadyn Satten (five points, three rebounds), Kevin Galvin (two points, two rebounds, assist), Liam McDevitt (four points, assist, rebound, steal) and Dylan Goodrich (rebound).

“A combination of Drake’s pressure and early turnovers by the Braves turned into an early first-quarter deficit that we couldn’t overcome,” Justin-Siena head coach Jason Rockwell said. “We had to play from behind and change our game plan the rest of the evening. It was tough, but I was proud of the way the boys continued to fight and compete throughout the game. Although we were out-matched and out-coached, we left with a definite sense of urgency heading into the next day.”

On Thursday, they led 10-8 after one quarter but trailed 27-17 at halftime and 36-29 after three quarters.

McDevitt (16 points, three assists, two rebounds, two steals) and Cummings (nine points, five rebounds, assist) were the scoring leaders. Also contributing were Donohoe (seven points, four assists, two steals, rebound), Vaziri (six points, four rebounds), Galvin (five points, four rebounds, assist), Satten (two points, four rebounds, steal), Goodrich (two rebounds) and John Nessman (rebound, steal).

“We knew we were going to have to bounce back after a rough start to the MCAL season. Despite the loss, I believe we did just that,” Rockwell said. “The boys played together and with confidence, and took a powerhouse program like Redwood down to the wire. They proved to themselves that they can compete with anyone.”

Kelseyville 67, St. Helena 62

Despite Ethan Battistini’s 32 points, the Saints dropped a North Central League I nailbiter Friday night that started as a blowout after the visiting Knights led 28-9 after one quarter, 28-9. St. Helena (8-8, 1-3 NCL I) started clawing back in the second quarter. Behind Battistini’s 12 points and a 3-pointer from Jonathan Gamble, they had narrowed the deficit to 34-29 two minutes before halftime. However, Kelseyville went on a 10-2 run to close out the quarter and went into the locker room with a 44-31 lead.

In the third quarter, St. Helena came out with renewed intensity and focus. Behind strong defensive play and rebounding from Nicholas Jewerowski and Olie Russum, nine points from Battistini and another 3-pointer from Gamble, the Saints outscored the Knights 19-8 in the frame to end the third quarter down only 52-48.

The fourth quarter was a see-saw battle, but the Saints couldn’t get the defensive stops they needed to get past the Knights.

“I was proud of the kids for battling back after being down by 19 early in the game,” St. Helena head coach Joe Densberger said. “It’s tough to win a game, especially against the first-place team in our league, when you have to expend so much energy just to get back into the game. Most importantly, the kids played hard and as a team we continue to improve every game.”

Battistini was 11 for 12 on free throws and also had seven rebounds, two assists and two steals. Gamble added eight points, two rebounds and three assists, Russum seven points, six rebounds and two steals, Jewerowski six points and eight rebounds, Christian Iano six points, and Ryan Rockwood three points.

JV Girls Basketball

Vintage 45, Wood 24

Toni Dodson led the Crushers with 11 points and 12 rebounds as they won their MEL opener at home Friday night, improving to 15-3 overall.

Ellie Savage had nine points and eight rebounds. Gabi Richardson scored eight, Brianna Banks seven, Victoria Solorio four, and Perla Bautista, Erin Bernier and Bela Poljanec two each.

JV Boys Basketball

Saints notch first league wins

St. Helena won at Willits on Tuesday, 50-45, for its first North Central League I victory of the season.

Ryland Campos had 14 points and seven rebounds, Caleb Jeske eight points and seven rebounds, Wolfgang Pritchett eight points, seven assists and two rebounds, Emmet Bowen six points and two rebounds, and Fawad Muhammad six points, four rebounds and three assists.

The Saints picked up another league win Friday at Kelseyville, 42-32.

Caleb Granados had 12 points and five rebounds, Campos eight points, six rebounds and one assist, George Cutting six points, five rebounds and two assists, and Pritchett six points, four rebounds and three steals.

Freshman Boys Basketball

Vintage 60, Wood 35

The Crushers improved to 8-5 overall and 2-0 in MEL play with a road win over Wood on Friday night. Trailing 14-12 after the first quarter, Vintage outscored the Wildcats 48-21 over the last three quarters.

Sam Neal had 17 points and four steals, Alex Dehzad 17 points and six rebounds, Charlie Seitz seven points and five assists, and JT Lopez six points and 11 rebounds.

“We had a couple of players out sick tonight and several players stepped up their game to help fill in,” Crushers coach Drew Willems said.

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