The St. Helena boys varsity basketball team had no answer for Cloverdale’s star center Tuesday night, falling 74-54 at home to drop to 0-4 in North Central League I play.
Josh Lemley, a 6-foot-6 junior and a returning all-league player for the Eagles (13-2, 4-0 NCL I), was a force inside. He finished the night with 32 points, 16 rebounds and 7 blocks.
St. Helena (6-7, 0-4 NCL I) hung tough with the Eagles to the tune of a 17-17 first quarter, but Lemley helped the Eagles pull away in the second. The visitors outscored the Saints 22-8, with 16 of those points coming from Lemley.
The second half was much closer, only a 35-29 advantage for the Eagles, but St. Helena simply couldn’t dig out of the hole.
Jonathan Gamble and Collin Darrall each scored 18 points to lead the Saints, but didn’t get much help from their supporting cast. Mason Marquez and Caleb Granados were next in scoring with 5 points apiece.
The good news for St. Helena is that its schedule should ease up immediately. After opening league against four teams that currently have a combined record of 47-14, the Saints’ next three opponents — Willits, Lower Lake and Kelseyville — have a combined record of 12-23.
St. Helena’s loss on Tuesday came on the heels of Friday’s 46-32 defeat at Fort Bragg.
The 32 points were a season low for the Saints. Caleb Jeske paced the team with 9 points and 5 rebounds, while George Cutting added 6 points and 10 rebounds. Gamble and Fawad Muhammad scored 5 apiece.
The normally hot-shooting Saints could not buy a bucket from anywhere on the floor against the first-place Timberwolves (13-3, 4-0 NCL I). They shot 21.7 percent from the field and went 2 of 18 from three and 5 of 13 from the free-throw line.
They’ll look to snap their four-game skid when they play at Willits (5-7, 1-2 NCL I) at 7:30 p.m. Friday
Varsity Girls Basketball
Fort Bragg 38, St. Helena 28
Behind Daphne Steel’s game-high 15 points, the Saints nearly picked up their first league win of the season at home Friday. But the Timberwolves held on down the stretch for the win.
Steele hit three 3-pointers and had 5 rebounds and 5 assists to lead St. Helena (2-13, 0-3 NCL I), which had dropped six straight games heading into its matchup with league-leading Cloverdale (11-2, 3-0 NCL I) on Tuesday.
As of press time, no score was available from Tuesday’s game.
On Friday, though, Marylu Avina had 6 points and 2 steals, Zoe Long had 3 points, 2 rebounds and 2 steals, Sofia Cupp had 2 points, Tina Almanza had 2 points, 3 rebounds, 2 blocks, 1 assist and 1 steal, and Gabi Vega had 2 rebounds and 2 steals.
The Saints will host Willits (5-9, 0-3 NCL I) at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
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JV Boys Basketball
St. Helena 45
The Saints dropped to 6-10 on the season with their home loss to the Eagles on Tuesday.
Henry Dixon led them with 14 points. Charlie Knight added 11 and Cal Lehman chipped in 9. Also contributing offensively were Emrys Davies (5 points), Keaton Smith (2 points), Josh Johnson (2 points) and Harrison Ronayne (2 points).
The Saints also fell on the road to Fort Bragg last Friday, 52-41. Individuals stats were not available.
Banged-up Saints return to the mat for two tournaments Injury and illness swept through the St. Helena program during the holiday break, which sometimes saw as few as two of the team’s 14 wrestlers at practices.
But a few weeks removed from calling in the new year, the Saints turned in solid showings at two tournaments the last two weekends.
On Jan. 4, a contingent of Saints competed at the Karen Foley Crossface Classic at St. Patrick-St. Vincent High in Vallejo.
In their respective divisions, freshman Jake Salling (138 pounds) finished fourth with a 2-2 record, senior Kevin Argueta (172) placed third at 3-1, junior Sebastiano Sainato (184) took fifth at 2-2, senior Quinn Randell-Darter (286) placed fifth at 2-2, and senior Will Grace (222) finished seventh at 1-3.
Senior Juan Flores (147) and freshmen Thomas Herdell (115) and Sebastian Gallegos (222) did not place.
The following weekend, on Jan. 11, the Saints competed in the prestigious Deets Winslow Memorial Tounrnament at Sonoma Valley High School.
There, junior Daniel Martinez (184) medaled with a third-place finish. He went 5-1 with four pins, including one of a Saratoga High foe in the third-place match.
The rest of the Saints competed well at the Winslow but could not crack the top four for a medal.
Argueta went 2-2, freshman Gino Hanna (115) was 2-2, Herdell went 1-2, freshman Jake Salling (138) was 1-2, Flores went 1-2, and Gallegos was 1-2.
The Saints will wrestle next at Justin-Siena at 6 p.m. Thursday, in a match dubbed the Vine Cup, in Justin-Siena’s Dining Hall.