The St. Helena High varsity boys basketball team struggled with Roseland University Prep’s pressure Saturday in the consolation game of the Sutter Home Classic, losing 45-33 in St. Helena.

Strong defensive play from both teams led to a sluggish, 16-14 lead for the Knights at halftime. But the Saints’ (1-2) offense went ice cold in the third, getting outscored 19-3 in the pivotal swing quarter.

However, St. Helena scraped its way back from the 18-point deficit at the start of the fourth, and drew within three points at one point in the waning moments of the game.

The Saints missed their opportunities to cut the deficit or tie and were forced to foul the Knights, who hit all six of their free-throw attempts in the fourth quarter and closed it out.

Ethan Battistini, who made the All-Tournament Team, had a team-high 15 points and buried two 3-pointers. Christian Cia was the next highest scorer with six points on two 3-pointers.

“We really struggled to score … They’re good games early in the year because they put a lot of pressure on us,” said Saints head coach Joe Densberger. “We saw that’s a weakness we have to work on. We had a hard time getting into our half court sets because of the pressure.”

Gilbert Jimenez scored a game-high 23 points (four 3-pointers) for the Knights.

Piner 58, St. Helena 50

The Saints were down 10 points with six minutes left in the second round of the Sutter Home Classic in St. Helena last Friday.

A full court press and defensive stops, combined with clutch shots on offense cut Piner’s lead to two with three minutes left.

Unfortunately, the Saints committed some costly turnovers down the stretch that determined the final result.

“I thought they played really well against a really good Piner team,” Densberger said. “We played good defense against them, and Piner’s a Division 3 team. They play hard.”

The young Saints squad battled the entire game against heavy pressure from Piner.

Battistini had 18 points and five rebounds, Christian Iano had eight points, Olie Russum had seven points, Collin Darrall had six points and two assists, Ryan Rockwood had five points, three rebounds and three assists, and Nick Jewerowski had six points and five rebounds.

St. Helena 69, Calistoga 34

The Saints leaned on their length and depth and routed an undermanned Wildcats team in the opening round of the Sutter Home Classic last Thursday.

The Wildcats jumped out to an early lead, countering St. Helena 2-pointers with 3-pointers. But St. Helena’s offense settled in and the ball movement picked up, totaling 13 assists on the night.

Battistini (14 points, nine rebounds, two assists) and Rockwood (one point, six rebounds, two assists) also began controlling the glass and helped the Saints gain a 24-7 rebounding advantage at halftime and a 44-13 tally by the final buzzer.

The Saints led by 12 points after the first quarter, 40-23 at the half, and 56-30 heading into the fourth.

“Calistoga, hey, Calistoga was down,” Densberger said. “(Wildcats coach Cesar Cruz) was missing some guys, but I thought they still played fairly well – our guys – after the first couple minutes of the first game of the year. They settled in and played pretty well.”

The home team went to their bench early and often, and got strong play from Jeworowski, who had a game-high 17 points (6 for 6 from the field), and Darrall (12 points). Thirteen players saw action for the Saints.

St. Helena finished 27 of 52 (52 percent) from the field, shot 3 of 14 (21 percent) from 3-point range, and went 12 for 23 (52 percent) at the free throw line.

Varsity Girls Basketball

Winters 40, St. Helena 23

The Saints (0-3) were led by Andrea Hernandez (six points, four steals, three rebounds) and Blayney Adamson (five points, six rebounds) in Tuesday’s non-league loss in St. Helena.

They will look to secure their first win of the year as hosts of this week’s Red & Blanc Winter Classic, opening the three-day tournament with San Rafael at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night.

JV Boys Basketball

Saints go 1-2 in Clear Lake

Similar to their varsity counterparts, the JV team got a win in their season opener before losing two in a row at the Clear Lake tournament last week.

The Saints beat Willits 46-32 last Thursday before falling to Clear Lake 65-15 and Cloverdale 57-36 over the final two days of the event.

Individual statistics were unavailable at print deadline.

College Men’s Basketball

Two straight losses for PUC

The Pacific Union College men’s basketball team has lost its last two games, falling to host Menlo College in Atherton, 86-54, and The Master’s University of Santa Clarita, Calif., 92-74, in Angwin. Both were nonconference games.

In the loss to Menlo, the Pioneers were led by Brandon Franklin (11 points, three rebounds), Jayson Marquez (10 points), Rae Hubbard (nine points, three rebounds, two assists), Dreymon Jones (six points), Jeremiah Blandin (four rebounds), Devon Pinnock (three assists), Julien Boyd (three rebounds), and Noel Briones (three rebounds).

In the loss to The Master’s, the Pioneers were led by Chris Camper (22 points on 7-of-17 shooting, 4-of-8 from three-point distance, five rebounds, two steals), Hubbard (15 points on 5-of-7 shooting, 3-of-4 from three-point range, six rebounds, four assists), Blandin (13 points, six rebounds, two blocks), Marquez (12 points, five rebounds, four assists), Pinnock (five points), Joseph Scott (six rebounds), Briones (two assists), and Franklin (two assists).

Pacific Union (1-4 overall) continues its season on Dec. 15 with a non-conference game at Notre Dame De Namur University in Belmont.

Strong start to Wesleyan season for St. Helena’s Krill

Nathan Krill of St. Helena is having a very good season as a 6-foot-7 senior forward for the Wesleyan University men’s basketball team. Wesleyan (6-0 overall) is an NCAA-Division III school in Middletown, Connecticut and is a member of the New England Small College Athletic Conference.

Krill is a Justin-Siena graduate and has started each of the first six games for Wesleyan. He is averaging 11.3 points, 9.2 rebounds, 2 steals, 1.7 assists and 1.3 blocks per game.

Krill had 10 points, seven rebounds and two assists in Wesleyan’s 78-44 win over Manhattanville College in Harrison, New York.

He had 11 rebounds, three blocks and three points in a 72-67 win over Williams College in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

He had 18 points, six rebounds, four steals and three assists in an 88-68 win over Emmanuel College in Boston.