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The St. Helena High varsity boys basketball team was in the thick of it against North Central League I contender Cloverdale on Tuesday, but was unable to get the stop it needed in the waning moments, falling 50-47.

The Saints (9-10 overall, 2-5 NCL I) led by three after the first frame but trailed by three after each of the remaining quarters.

St. Helena played strong defense in the first, and got six of Ethan Battistini’s 21 points and all four of Jonathan Gamble points for a 12-9 lead.

But the shots stopped falling in the second quarter and the Saints went into halftime down 22-19.

In the third, they were rewarded for their aggressive drives to the basket, drawing numerous fouls and making 7 of 10 free throws, but still trailed by three at the end, 35-32.

In the fourth, the Saints found their range, with Battistini knocking down a couple of 3-pointers and a 2-pointer, and Olie Russum, Nick Jeworowski and Christian Iano nailing 2-pointers. But they couldn’t get the defensive stops when they needed them.

Battistini added eight rebounds and was 7 for 9 on free throws, and Gamble chipped in five rebounds and two steals. Jeworowski had nine points, five rebounds and two steals, Russum six points, four rebounds and two assists, Iano five points, two assists and two steals, and Ryan Rockwood two points, two assists and three steals.

St. Helena 42, Fort Bragg 37

The Saints, despite struggling to find their shooting rhythm all night, prevailed over host Fort Bragg for their second league win last Friday.

Behind the aggressive rebounding and offensive play of Russum, who scored eight of his 14 points in the first half, and Jeworowski, who had 11 of his 13 points before halftime, the Saints went into the break leading 24-14.

Fort Bragg came out in the third quarter with renewed focus and scored 16 points while St. Helena, perhaps still weary from the long drive to the coast, scored seven. But the Saints maintained a one-point lead, 31-30, at the end of the third quarter.

The game remained a defensive battle and, with the Saints ahead 38-37, Gamble stole the ball and went in for a driving lay-up to put St. Helena up by three, 40-37. The Saints got a stop on the defensive end and Battistini nailed two free throws at the end to seal the win.

Russum added seven rebounds and one blocked shot, and Jeworowski had six rebounds and two blocked shots. Battistini had nine points, four rebounds, two assists and three blocked shots, Gamble three points, four rebounds and a blocked shot, Rockwood two points and seven rebounds, and Collin Darrall one point and two rebounds.

Varsity Girls Basketball

Cloverdale 51, St. Helena 16

In the Saints’ (2-16 overall, 0-7 NCL I) road loss Tuesday, Destiny Comacho, Lauren Ridgway and Citlalli Garcia each had four points apiece, while Andrea Hernandez added two points.

“Although the score might not reflect it, the girls took the appropriate shots,” said Saints head coach Kate Shipp-Roberts. “Some go in, and some don’t. They are gaining more confidence to take those shots, which can only help the team in the long run.”

St. Helena 57, Fort Bragg 28

In St. Helena last Friday, the Saints played their strongest game of the year, winning the fourth quarter against the Timberwolves, 11-7. Leading in scoring was Garcia with 12 points, Hernandez with six points, and new addition Marylu Avina, a sophomore, contributed four points.

“While the score might not reflect their efforts, I thought it was the most complete game we have played,” said Shipp-Roberts. “I thought they competed for all four quarters and did not let up. We had to move some players around and the girls filled their new roles well. I told them after the game, ‘This is the new norm,’ and they have to continue to raise the standard of play each and every game.”