American Canyon had ended its 2018-19 boys basketball season with its third loss in a month to Napa High, all by double digits. Two of them came at home, including the Vine Valley Athletic League Tournament championship game.
The Wolves wanted redemption Wednesday when they visited the Grizzlies at Messner Gym, and they got it with an impressive 87-71 victory.
American Canyon (6-7, 2-1 VVAL) scored 20 or more points in every quarter in what first-year head coach Scott Hayburn said was the Wolves’ best offensive performance of the season.
They shot 61% from the field, hit 11 3-pointers, and assisted on 24 of their 34 baskets while turning over the ball only seven times.
“Napa beat us three times last year, so it was important for us to get over that hurdle,” Hayburn said. “It was special to see the players finally put so many pieces of the puzzle together in one game and play at our potential. The challenge will be to see if we can do it consistently. If we do, the sky is the limit for these kids.”
Noah Simmons, playing in only his seventh game after having to sit out due to transfer rules, had his best game in a Wolves uniform. The junior scored 21 points on 8 of 12 shooting and hit 4 threes of his own. Senior point guard Oliver Aandahl had 16 points and 7 assists, and junior Bishop Evans had 10 points on 5 of 5 shooting from the field. Sophomore guard Khai Curry and senior Paulo Tiotuyco added 6 and 5 assists, respectively.
For Napa (5-13 overall, 1-3 VVAL), which plays a Big Game at Vintage on Friday night, Brayden Greenlee played one of his bets offensive games of the year while pouring in 25 points and adding 3 rebounds and 2 assists, head coach Zack Cook said.
Also playing well for the Grizzlies were Danny Ruiz (14 points, 3 rebounds), Tyler Oda (12 points, 5 assists, 2 steals) and Logan Van Zandt (9 points, 4 rebounds).
American Canyon hosts first-place Petaluma (11-5, 3-0 VVAL) Friday night.
Vintage 60, Sonoma Valley 51
The Crushers are another team that’s starting to click under a new head coach, Ben Gongora, and he said Wednesday’s VVAL win at Sonoma Valley was by far their best team effort of the season.
Vintage (9-8, 3-1 VVAL) jumped out to a 16-11 lead after one quarter. The Dragons (7-8, 1-2 VVAL) fought back to tie it at 25 by halftime, but were outscored 16-12 in the third and 19-14 in the fourth.
Blake Murray, Imani Lopez, Josh Kho and Owen Schnaible each had 11 points to lead the Crushers, while Josh McCormick added 6 and Luke Williams 5.
“The kids did an awesome job of executing the game plan,” said Gongora. “Our balanced scoring forced Sonoma to focus on all five guys on the floor tonight.”
Vintage will try to improve to 6-0 in its own gym this season Friday night when it hosts Napa (5-13, 1-3 VVAL) in a Big Game.
“We’re the only team that had four straight road games to start league, so 3-1 is solid,” Gongora added. “We now have seven straight home games. We need Crusher Nation out in full force during this stretch. Our focus is now going 1-0 on Friday against Napa.”
Varsity Girls Soccer
American Canyon 4, Napa 3
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In a VVAL thriller Wednesday night at Memorial Stadium, the visiting Wolves led 2-1 at halftime and 3-1 with 15 minutes left but had to score again to win it after Napa had rallied to tie it again.
Despite the offensive explosion by American Canyon (6-5-2, 2-1 VVAL), which came in averaging less than a goal per game, head coach Travis Behn said goalkeeper Greta Fast was the Wolves’ player of the game. Fast made 10 saves, some on close-range shots.
“She did make some mistakes, but she didn’t let those mistakes slow her down and keep her from making better decisions,” Behn said.
The coach also complimented holding midfielder and captain Cyrene Paez for her defensive play.
“Cyrene pulled everybody together and was really hustling after every loose ball in the center and just getting in their way,” said Behn.
Christin Locke tied it 1-1 and scored again for the 2-1 American Canyon lead. Karina Esqueda scored to make it 3-1, before Napa came back and Tanya Rivas answered with the winning goal.
“We were really resilient,” Behn said. “We had to deal with two of our captains going out. One, Aminah (Hilliard) landed on her head, so she’s got to get evaluated for a concussion. While I’m tending to her and waiting for the trainer to come over, we scored to go up 3-1. Then 10 minutes later, Christin got a cut on her leg and had to come out of the game.
“You’d think with two captains out, you’d go into defensive mode, but we kept attacking and kept up the pressure. When we weren’t able to capitalize on the pressure, they turned it around and put us under a lot of pressure and into defensive mode. Our bench players came in and did as much as they could, but Napa is really fast. So we went back to attacking and that’s how we were able to get that last goal.”
It wasn’t just any VVAL win, Behn said, noting that because it was against a fellow Division II school, it helps with the Wolves’ playoff chances.
“We knew we had to have that win,” he said.
For Napa (4-6-2, 1-3 VVAL), Ella Turjanis scored the game’s first goal off an Ava Dominguez assist and added the second one on an assist from Alana Valentine. Sophia Kroll tied it 3-3 with a goal off a corner kick from Mila Valentine.
Vintage 2, Sonoma Valley 2
Katie Mason and Amy Alfaro scored for Vintage in a VVAL tie Wednesday night at the Petaluma Community Soccer Fields.
Nayeli Cervantes and Maile Sittler had the assists in the first deadlock of the season for the Crushers (5-7-1, 1-2-1 VVAL), who face crosstown rival Napa at 6 p.m. Friday at Memorial Stadium.
Freshman Boys Basketball
Vintage 64, Sonoma Valley 37
The Crushers won big on the road Wednesday night to bring their season record to 10-4 and league record to 3-1. They scored the first 8 points of the game and never looked back. They had nine players get on the scoreboard, led by Ben Jackson (13 points), Sam Loomis (10), Zach Rector (8), Liam Ferguson (8) and Elias Alvarez (7). Leading the charge defensively were Tanner Low and Matthew Lloyd, who each scored 6.
“Our team came out with a level of focus and intensity that I’ve been waiting to see,” Vintage coach Drew WIllems said. “Hopefully we can carry this into Friday’s game with Napa.”
The freshman tip off the Big Game tripleheader at 4 p.m. Friday at Vintage.