The Sutter Home Invitational basketball tournament at St. Helena High School tipped off on Thursday. All four games were blowouts, with the average margin of victory being 33 points.
Here’s what happened:
Game 1: Roseland University Prep 64, Calistoga 36
Roseland Prep (2-0) jumped out to a 17-6 lead and extended its lead to 45-17 by halftime. The Wildcats played even till the end but the hole was simply too large to climb out of.
“In the first half we struggled with our defensive assignments. We just gotta learn,” said Calistoga head coach Cesar Cruz. “Offensively, we got some good looks but it doesn’t help when we go 0-for-8 in the first half on free throws and we missed a lot of two-footers at the start of the game. We got down quick and just couldn’t recover.”
Senior Cesar Ayala and freshman Christian Caldera each scored 12 points while senior Jasiel Flores added 8. To their credit, the Wildcats never quit, even trailing by 20 for most of the second half. They scored the most point of any quarter in the fourth when they scored 11.
“We can look at it either way, but that’s a positive thing to me. The kids didn’t fold, especially at halftime. Coach Particelli and I are really proud of them. They played with poise and that’s where I’m impressed with them.”
Calistoga (1-2) fell into the loser’s bracket and lost to Rincon Valley Christian on Friday in their second meeting of the week, earning a spot in Saturday’s seventh-place game against John Swett at 2 p.m. The Wildcats had beaten Rincon Valley for the first time since 2006 on Tuesday, 51-45. Rincon Valley lost to Healdsburg in its Sutter Home opener.
Game 2: Healdsburg 70, Rincon Valley Christian 33
Rincon Valley Christian (0-2) trailed only 7-6 before the much larger Greyhounds pulled away with an 11-0 run to take a double-digit lead and never looked back.
Healdsburg freshman Graham MacDonald led all scorers with 26 points, Trey Chapman and Dylan Hayman each added 15.
Greyhounds head coach Yasha Mokaram was overall pleased with the win but thought his team could have played better.
“I thought we could have done a little better getting the ball inside more,” he said. “Our offense is always centered around our two big guys and I’d like to think that we could methodically throw the ball inside ever possession and play out of that, and I thought we just didn’t do a good enough job of that. But in general, we played pretty well and took care of the ball.
“Defensively, we said we wanted to hold them under 40 and we did so I shouldn’t be complaining too much.”
Healdsburg (1-1) was to face Roseland Prep on Friday night.
“They look really good,” Mokaram said. “I mean they always have a better coach than because I think Luis (Escobar) is the best coach in Sonoma County.
“They work really hard, they have a lot of quick guards so it’ll be kind of clash of style. We need to get the ball inside against them and they need to draw out bigs out to drive. We’ll have our hands full trying to move our feet against those guys.”
Game 3: Fortuna 77, El Molino 50
Even missing half of its team because of the football playoffs, Fortuna made light work of El Molino. The Huskies led by double-digits after one quarter and 45-16 at halftime.
Fortuna senior forward Bradley Wilks scored a game-high 26 points and senior guards Donald Willis and Drew Gillete added 25 and 24, respectively.
The Huskies (2-0) were to face St. Helena in the semifinals at 8:30 Friday night.
El Molino (1-2) dropped into the losers’ bracket and was to face John Swett on Friday at 5:30 p.m.
Game 4: St. Helena 82, John Swett 40
A 10-point Saints lead after one quarter ballooned to a 24-point advantage by halftime as St. Helena (2-0) overcame a slow start to cruise past John Swett (1-3).
“The kids really pushed the ball well in transition,” said Saints head coach Jim Gamble. “I was really proud of them for that. It’s always good to get a win. John Swett is just very young this year and they saw some things they hadn’t seen before. Hats off to them, they fought and battled the entire game.”
Senior forward Nick Jeworowski scored a game-high 21 points to lead St. Helena, including two big dunks that ignited the home crowd. Sophomore guard Fawad Muhammad and junior guard Collin Darrall each added 12 and junior forward Caleb Granados chipped in 11 in his first game since coming out from football.
“It was fun to have the full complement of players, I put them in in waves of five just to keep the pressure on and keep our transition game flying up and down the court, which is what we have to do,” Gamble said. “It’s always good to get a win and we’re looking forward to tomorrow night.”
St. Helena was to face Fortuna on Friday at 8:30 p.m. for a spot in Saturday’s championship game.
“Fortuna has some big strong kids and they play well,” Gamble said. “They’re solid, very skilled basketball players. It’s going to be a fun game. They only have seven players because they’re missing five who are still playing football, but the seven they have are very good players.”