The 47th Annual Sutter Home Invitational tournament tipped off with an exciting first round of games on Thursday.
Second round games begin at 4 p.m. on Friday.
Here’s how the first round of the Sutter broke down.
St. Helena 62, John Swett 49
Fawad Muhammad scored 8 of his game-high 30 points in the fourth quarter and Jonathan Gamble shook off a tough shooting night with a trio of three-pointers down the stretch to help the Saints (3-1) rally to beat the Warriors in their Sutter opener for the second straight year.
“They kept battling and I loved their relentlessness and in the fourth quarter we really came together,” said St. Helena head coach Jim Gamble.
The Saints and Warriors dueled for three quarters before the hosts pulled away late. Swett led 19-12 after one, St. Helena went ahead 29-28 at half and then Swett retook the lead at 40-34 heading into the fourth.
But the final quarter belonged to the Saints. They outscored the Warriors 28-9 over the final eight minutes.
“That may be an all-time high for my coaching career,” Jim Gamble said.
Senior guard Jonathan Gamble hit his first shot of the night at the start of the fourth, a deep three, which was followed in quick succession by a three from fellow senior guard Collin Darrall – who finished second on the team with 14 points and four three-pointers – which tied the game at 40.
The two teams then traded the lead a half-dozen times over the following several minutes. St. Helena finally began to pull away when Jonathan Gamble hit his second three of the quarter with just over four minutes left, then buried his third less than a minute later to give the Saints a 10-point lead they rode to the final buzzer.
“Our shots started to fall,” Jim Gamble said. “That was a big difference (in the fourth quarter). Jonathan had three three-pointers, Collin knocked one down, but a big part of the game, though, was rebounding. Both Caleb Granados and Caleb Jeske and Fawad were just monsters on the boards and they were just relentless going after both defensive rebounds and offensive and that was a huge part of this game.”
Muhammad entered the Sutter as the Saints leading scorer so far this season at a clip of about 15 points a game. He almost scored that many in the second quarter alone when accounted for 13 of the Saints’ 17 points in the frame.
“Fawad played possessed,” coach Gamble said. “I mean, he’s just playing with amazing confidence right now.”
With the win, the Saints advance to play another familiar foe in Roseland University Prep. The Knights beat the Saints, 55-38, in the third-place game of the Sutter last season and advanced to the second round this year with a narrow win over El Molino.
“Luis Escobar is one of the best coaches in Sonoma County and they always bring it,” Jim Gamble said. “They’re a super tenacious team and it’s going to be a fun battle. They took it to us last year, so we’re going to be out for a little redemption.”
Roseland University Prep 53, El Molino 48
Like the first two games of the day, the penultimate game of the first round was also close down the stretch.
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After trailing at the half, Roseland dominated the third quarter and took a 38-30 to the fourth. El Mo retook the lead at 45-44 with 2:30 left in the game. From there the lead changed hands four more times until Roseland pulled away thanks to a couple clutch buckets from Miguel Figueroa in the final minute.
Figueroa finished with a game-high 27 points, while Artemio Carlos added 12.
Abel Perez led the Lions in scoring with 11 while Dominic Aldana chipped in 9 and Logan Woolsey 7.
Fortuna 58, Kelseyville 57
The Knights entered the fourth quarter trailing by 23 to the defending Sutter champs but came roaring back in the final quarter.
The team from the North Central League I scored the first 14 points of the frame and took the lead at 57-55 after an and-one layup from Cory Holt with one minute left in the game.
Fortuna responded with a corner three-pointer 20 seconds later from Jaden Kerry to retake the lead at 58-57, but Kelseyville regained possession with 4.1 seconds left. They had to go the length of the court to get off the potential game-winning shot but it clanked off the backboard as time expired.
Kelly and Bo Nox each scored 11, while Fernando Atilano-Mena, Brandyn Martinez and Branson Gans each added 8 for the Huskies.
Bohdi Baird led the Knights in scoring with 17 points and Joey Mendoca chipped in 13.
Cornerstone Christian 66, Sonoma Academy 62 (OT)
The defending division 6 state champion Cougars had two attempts at the end of the regulation to win but neither shot dropped, sending the game to an extra frame knotted at 56.
Cornerstone went on to score the first seven points of overtime to pull away for the win.
The Cougars’ leading scorers were Jacob Ebert (18 points), Caedmon Miner (15 points) and Ezra Hunter (13 points).
The Coyotes were paced by Eli Bayer, who hit seven three-pointers en route to a game-high 27 points. Sebastian Gonzalez added 13 and Iain Wade 11.
Second-round games on Friday will begin with Sonoma Academy vs. Kelseyville at 4 p.m., followed by El Molino vs. John Swett at 5:30 p.m. in the losers bracket.
In the winners bracket, Cornerstone Christian will play Fortuna at 7 p.m. and Roseland University Prep will play St. Helena at 8:30 p.m.