The St. Helena boys basketball team rattled off a perfect 3-0 record last week before falling to Clear Lake, the first-place team in the North Central League I, on Monday.
The 59-32 loss to the Cardinals (15-2, 5-0 NCL I) snapped a three-game winning streak for the Saints, after they had defeated Willits, Lower Lake and Kelseyville.
“Clear Lake is just an outstanding basketball team,” said St. Helena head coach Jim Gamble on Tuesday. “They’re ranked third in our section and there’s a reason for that. They’re a very good basketball team, really athletic and very skilled. Their big man is very skilled and was dominating inside and on the offensive boards.
“Our kids played hard. They played their hearts out the entire game. I was really proud of their effort in a hostile environment.”
Senior Nick Jeworowski led the Saints against the Cardinals with eight points. Junior Caleb Jeske added seven and Jonathan Gamble scored six.
The Saints (8-8, 3-2 NCL I) enter their Wednesday matchup with Fort Bragg in third place in the NCL I.
The Saints overcame one of their uglier games of the year on Friday to hold off the Knights 44-37.
St. Helena beat Kelseyville by 33 points last month.
The Saints led throughout the rematch, but Coach Gamble said they never felt comfortable.
“We would go up by eight or 10 points and then they would rattle off a couple consecutive buckets to make it close again,” he said. “It was a game that we should’ve won by 20 points, but we missed so many shots in close that just rattled out of the rim. Great shots, contested ones, but we just couldn’t get our shots to go down. It became a much closer game than it should have been.”
It was the Saints’ third straight win, but they shot 26 percent from the field and went 0-of-18 from the 3-point arc. Jeworowski led the Saints with 16 points and eight rebounds. He also had a dunk in the closing minutes of the game that Coach Gamble said sealed the victory.
Jeske added 13 points and six rebounds while Fawad Muhammad had 10 points.
The Saints began stringing together consecutive wins last Wednesday with their 61-52 win over the Trojans.
Coach Gamble said the win was crucial for the Saints’ playoff hopes, since Lower Lake is also a Div. 4 team and is ranked higher than St. Helena.
The Trojans played shorthanded with only six available players due to suspensions stemming from an altercation in their previous game.
Jeworowski once again led the Saints with 20 points and nine rebounds, while Jeske added 13 points and six rebounds.
“Getting these wins early has been huge, but they haven’t been easy,” Gamble said. “The Lower Lake and Kelseyville games were both close, very different games, but the kids responded well. And anytime you can get a win, especially on the road, that’s a wonderful confidence booster and the kids are excited because we have some home games coming up in our league schedule.”
The Saints dropped league games to Lower Lake, 44-23, last Wednesday and Kelseyville, 74-29, on Friday.
Jovana Rodriguez had eight points and Gabriele Vega had eight points and five rebounds against Lower Lake. Rodriguez followed up that performance with a 12-point, five-rebound game against Kelseyville.
The Saints are now 4-11 on the season and 0-4 in the NCL I heading into their matchup at Fort Bragg (5-12, 1-4 NCL I) on Wednesday.
The Saints lost a back-and-forth battle to Willits, 52-51, last Tuesday. St. Helena had stormed back to send the game to overtime. Willits hit two free throws in the final minute to take a 52-51 lead, before St. Helena’s Jackson Corley answered with a halfcourt shot. However, the shot came just after the buzzer sounded, giving Willits the victory.
Corley scored 13 points, Londyn Taylor 10, Harrison Ronayne nine and Henry Dixon eight.
The Saints then fell 57-32 to Kelseyville on Friday. They led by two points at the half, but the Knights broke the game open for the win.
Corley scored 13 points.