The St. Helena boys varsity team suffered a 56-51 loss on the road at Fort Bragg on Tuesday, setting up a crucial regular-season finale on Thursday with Cloverdale if the Saints are to make it to the North Coast Section Div. 5 playoffs.
The loss drops the Saints to 12-12 on the season and 7-6 in the North Central League I. Before Tuesday, MaxPreps had the Saints ranked as the No. 14 team in the Section. While other officially rankings may vary slightly, the fact still remains that the top 16 teams qualify for playoffs.
On Tuesday, the Saints trailed by nine at the half but battled back and held the lead at several points in the fourth quarter. But a key offensive rebound from Fort Bragg on missed free throws helped the Wolverines to ice the game down the stretch.
If the Saints beat Cloverdale on Thursday it would greatly help their chances at ensuring they secure a playoff spot. A loss wouldn’t necessarily eliminate them either, but their fate would be much more of a toss-up.
To add another layer of drama, Thursday is Senior Night for the Saints. Tip-off is scheduled for 7 p.m.