Napa Valley Prep Basketball: Wolves, Crushers pull out thrillers
Prep Basketball

Napa Valley Prep Basketball: Wolves, Crushers pull out thrillers

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The American Canyon High boys basketball team defeated visiting Vallejo High, 65-62, in a back-and-forth nonleague contest that came down to the final shot Monday afternoon. A Redhawks’ 3-point attempt came up just short at the buzzer, giving the Wolves their sixth win in nine games.

Oliver Aandahl led American Canyon team (7-8 in scoring with 20 points, while Bishop Evans and Gabriel Patrick chipped in with 11 and 10 points, respectively.

The Wolves jumped out to an early 10-point lead, but turnovers and good shooting allowed Vallejo (10-9) to come back and take the lead in the second half. The lead changed hands multiple times until two clutch free throws by Aandahl put the Wolves up by a point with two minutes left.

A steal in the open court and layup by Paulo Tiotuyco stretched the lead to five points with 1:20 left, but the Redhawks weren’t finished. Back-to-back baskets cut their deficit to a point before Khai Curry calmly sank two free throws with eight seconds to play for the final three-point margin.

“Today’s game is what high school hoops is all about: two evenly matched teams trading baskets in front of a tremendous crowd for 32 minutes,” said American Canyon head coach Scott Hayburn. “I was proud of the way our boys competed and maintained composure. Both teams fought and played hard from tip-off to the final whistle.”

The Wolves will try to improve on their 2-2 Vine Valley Athletic League record when they host Sonoma Valley at 7 p.m. Wednesday.

Vintage 44, Santa Rosa 43

Vintage overcame an 11-point first-quarter deficit to squeeze out the nonleague win at home Monday. After cutting it to 27-21 by halftime, the Crushers held the Panthers to two third-quarter field goals and took a 35-33 lead into the fourth.

“This was a little too close for comfort,” Crushers head coach Ben Gongora said. “We were down 11, but no one panicked. We turned up the defensive pressure and clawed our way back.

Vintage (11-8) struggled from the charity stripe, making just 5 of 17 free throws, but managed to improve to 7-0 on its home court this season.

“It definitely made things a little more interesting,” said Gongora of the free-throw struggles. “It happens. We were 20 of 25 (at the line against Napa High) on Friday. It happens. We’ll do better next game. We love playing at home. Friday will be a major challenge with American Canyon coming to town.”

Blake Murray led all scorers with 18 points for the Crushers. Senior captain Ethan Hemmerlin, who recently returned from a month-long absence due to injury, had 9 points. Loren Castro, Josh McCormick and Imani Lopez each scored 5.

Will Logue led Santa Rosa (10-10) with 14 points.

Freshman Boys

Vintage 50, Santa Rosa 20

The Crushers came out sluggish to start Monday’s nonleague game, but outscored the visiting Panthers 45-16 over the last three quarters.

Vintage (12-4) was led by Sam Gomez and Ben Jackson with 9 points apiece. Tanner Low added 7, and Sam Loomis and Matthew Lloyd each scored 6.

The Crushers will continue league play Friday when they host American Canyon.

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