The St. Helena High varsity boys basketball team secured its first North Central League I win on the road Tuesday night, beating Willits 57-32.

The Saints (8-7 overall, 1-2 NCL I) were led by Olie Russum’s 17 points (two 3-pointers) and Nick Jewerowski’s dominance on the glass, corralling 15 rebounds with six of those on the offensive end. The visitors outscored the Wolverines 19-2 in the second quarter to take a 27-11 lead into the locker room at halftime.

They maintained that 16-point advantage, paced by 3-pointers from Ethan Battistini, Jonathan Gamble and Russum in the third and sank 10 of their 12 free throw attempts in the fourth to seal the win.

“It’s always nice to get the monkey off your back and get that first league win,” said Saints head coach Joe Densberger. “I was especially proud of the kids for keeping their composure as the game got testy and physical in the second half. I was especially pleased with our free throw shooting (23 of 27, 85 percent) which kept our lead comfortable throughout the second half.”

Jewerowski had four points in addition to his team-high 15 rebounds, and Russum added seven rebounds and six deflected passes to his line. Also playing well for St. Helena were Battistini (11 points, eight rebounds, two steals), Christian Iano (eight points, 6 for 6 free throws, three assists), Collin Darrall (seven points), Gamble (six points, three assists, four steals, nine deflected passes), Steve Collins (two points) and Kostas Kelperis (two points).

The Saints host first-place Kelseyville at home on Friday night. Varsity tip-off is 7:30 p.m.

St. Helena 45, St. Vincent de Paul 38

Following a tough loss the night before, the Saints came out determined Saturday in Petaluma. Behind five points from Russum (one 3-pointer) and 3-pointers from Iano and Battistini, St. Helena led 13-8 at the end of the first quarter.

But the Saints couldn’t get the ball to drop in the second and went into halftime, trailing 20-18.

Determined to avoid another slow start in the third quarter, something that’s been ailing St. Helena for much of the year, Battistini’s six points and Russum’s 3-pointer kept the visitors in the fight, trailing by three entering the final frame.

In the fourth quarter, St. Helena switched up their defense to put more pressure on St. Vincent’s outside shooters with the hopes of creating more turnovers. The tactic worked, and Battistini made his presence felt down low, scoring 10 of his team-leading 19 points. The Saints made their free throws down the stretch to seal the victory.

“I’m proud of the boys for bouncing back after a tough loss last night,” said Densberger. “I’m especially pleased with their defensive effort in the second half, holding St. Vincent to only 18 points.”

Leading the way for the Saints were Battistini (19 points, eight rebounds), Russum (eight points, three steals, three assists), Iano (seven points, three steals, five deflected passes), Darrall (seven points), Jeweroski (four points, four rebounds) and Gamble (four rebounds, three assists and five deflected passes).

Middletown 59, St. Helena 35

Both teams got off to a slow start in St. Helena last Friday, with the always-physical and aggressive Middletown ahead by five, 13-8, at the end of the first quarter of the NCL I bout.

In the second quarter, St. Helena’s defense stiffened and Battistini, St. Helena’s leading scorer, scored nine points to get the Saints within one point going into halftime, 22-21. Unfortunately, as has been the case in several games this year, St. Helena came out cold in the third quarter and Middletown took advantage, outscoring the Saints 17-5 to go up by 13 at the end of the third quarter, 39-26. The Saints couldn’t mount a comeback in the fourth quarter.

Playing well for St. Helena were Battistini (12 points, five rebounds), Russum (seven points, two rebounds), Darrall (six points), Jeweroski (five points, four rebounds, three steals) and Gamble (three points, two assists, four steals).

Varsity Girls Basketball

Willits 52, St. Helena 13

It was another tough NCL I outing for the Saints (2-13 overall, 0-3 NCL I) Tuesday at home, struggling mightily with only five players dressed out due to a coach’s decision by Kate Shipp-Roberts. Then, to make matters worse, Saints senior Destiny Camacho fouled out before the second half leaving the home team with four players the final two quarters.

Jessica Rodriguez led the way with seven points and six rebounds, Citlalli Garcia had three points and five rebounds, and Lisa Lord two points and six rebounds.

Middletown 36, St. Helena 13

The Saints struggled to score in last Friday’s league home opener in St. Helena. Jessica Rodriguez had nine points to lead the offense, and Jovana Rodriguez had three.

Lower Lake 81, St. Helena 25

The road was unkind to the Saints in their NCL I opener last Wednesday, Jan. 3. Citlali Garcia scored seven points, and Lisa Lord and Jovana Rodriguez had six points each.

JV Boys Basketball

St. Vincent 30, St. Helena 26

St. Helena lost its third straight game to start 2018 on the road last Saturday in Petaluma.

Details on the game and results from Tuesday’s road game in Willits were unavailable at print deadline.

St. Helena starts 0-2 in league

The Saints struggled to maintain visiting Lower Lake’s scoring pace while dropping their North Central League I opener last Wednesday, 53-38. They fell behind the Trojans 33-22 at halftime and 44-28 after three quarters.

Fawad Muhammad led St. Helena’s offense in the loss, posting 12 points, and Caleb Jeske contributed eight.

On Friday, the Saints fell 45-36 to visiting Middletown despite Wolfgang Pritchett’s nine points and three rebounds, Jeske’s 10 points and 10 rebounds, and Muhammad’s eight points and three steals.