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The Justin-Siena wrestling team dropped a 42-33 decision to friendly rival St. Patrick-St. Vincent in Vallejo on Wednesday night in their annual battle for the Catholic Cup.

The Braves’ coaching staff noted much improvement from the previous week’s loss at Sacred Heart.

Justin got on the board first when Jacob Guiducci made quick work of his 120-pound opponent with a first-period pin.

Caden Parlett followed with another first-round pin, and George Khoury scored his first varsity win with a minor decision to give the Braves a 15-0 lead.

But St. Pat’s, a perennial North Coast Section small-school powerhouse, took charge from there – save for a huge come-from-behind pin by Francisco Morales Florentino in his debut match for Justin-Siena. Cooper Cohee and Sebastian Medina added two late forfeit victories to close out the scoring on the night.

The young Braves had hoped to pull out the victory for head coach Jason Guiducci, who celebrated his birthday coaching matside.

“Even though we lost, we battled versus one of the better NCS programs and were a one-match turnaround from winning the dual,” the coach said. “It was a birthday well spent with some great kids.”

Varsity Boys Basketball

Justin-Siena 43

El Molino 18

The Braves (4-1) grabbed a 23-9 halftime lead and rolled to their fourth straight victory in the first round of Healdsburg’s 70th annual Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament on Wednesday.

Liam McDevitt led Justin-Siena’s scorers with 16 points. Kevin Galvin chipped in six, Keith Binz and Solomone Anitoni five each, Jadyn Satten and Barrett Donohoe four apiece, Landon Mispagel two, and Shane Rosenthal one.

After beating the same Lions just 52-37 last week in Forestville, Justin-Siena showed marked improvement.

“We defended really, really well,” first-year Braves head coach David Granucci said. “Our guys played really good halfcourt defense and forced shot-clock violations, which shows they’re going hard all 35 seconds. It’s good to know when you’re struggling to hit shots, you can make up for it with defense.”

The Braves play Ukiah in a semifinal at 4 p.m. Friday.

Napa 57, Vacaville 25

Leading Napa at home Tuesday night were Zach Swim (13 points, six rebounds, two blocks), Danny Ruiz (12 points, four rebounds) and Stephen Blume (11 points, two assists).

Contributing off the bench were Brayden Greenlee (eight points, four steals), Logan VanZandt (four points), Jack Hunter (three points) and Will Marseilles (four rebounds, two assists).

Napa (5-2) next plays Montgomery at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 13 in the first round of the three-day Brett Callan Memorial Tournament at Casa Grande.

Varsity Girls Basketball

Justin-Siena 54, Clear Lake 36

Ashlee Whittemore exploded for 27 points, six assists, five steals and three rebounds to lead the Braves (3-2) in the first round of the Redwood Empire Invitational at Healdsburg on Wednesday night.

Also contributing for Justin-Siena were Kiran Monteverdi (eight points, four rebounds, three assists), Ella Thatcher (six points, two steals), Sarah Reynolds (five points), Karlie Wells (four points, 10 rebounds), Isabella Wright (four points, four rebounds), Alyssa Curtola (four rebounds) and Lexi Rosenbrand (three rebounds).

The Braves led 7-0, then trailed 11-7 before taking the lead for good, 12-11, going into the second quarter. They outscored the Cardinals 20-5 in that stanza, led by Whittemore’s nine points, for a 32-16 halftime lead.

Justin-Siena made seven 3-pointers, shot 38 percent from the field, and caused 28 Clear Lake turnovers.

The Braves play at 5:30 p.m. Friday in the semifinals against Ukiah, which beat Cloverdale in the first round.

“This was a good win for our team,” Justin-Siena head coach Andy Bettencourt said. “It was really nice to see us hit some outside shots, and I thought they were a product of better spacing and recognition from our players. We did a good job defensively and are looking forward to a tough test Friday night against a good Ukiah team.”

JV Boys Basketball

Napa 40, Vacaville 30

Aiden McDonald led the Grizzlies (3-1) with 13 points in Tuesday night’s home win. Jack Giguiere went 8 of 9 from the free-throw line to finish with 10 points and seven rebounds. Christof Horton cleaned up on the glass for Napa, pulling down 11 boards, while C.J. Tiebout added eight points and four rebounds. Napa is competing in the Wood tournament this weekend.

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