BANNERS Schools participating in the 74th annual Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament show their colors in Smith Robinson Gym for the 2023 REIBT. (Christian Kallen photo)

The 74th year of the Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament kept both teams and fans busy last week during four days of action at Healdsburg High’s main gym, Smith Robinson, and its smaller, older East Gym.

“REIBT is a fundraiser traditionally used for Healdsburg basketball,” said Todd Sheehy, a math teacher at Healdsburg High who, with former PE teacher Lance Munselle, is co-director of the tournament. “However we also support other groups as needed.” This includes providing easy-up canopies for outdoor athletic teams, and uniforms for teams and the school band.

Each competing school brought their fans to town, and a friendly, festive atmosphere prevailed at both gyms from the opening tip-off on Wednesday to the last free throw on Saturday evening. When the dust settled, Napa’s Justin-Siena High School won the competition on the girls side, while Marin’s Tamalpais High won the boys bracket. 

Healdsburg Girls Take 3rd in REIBT

Healdsburg’s Lady Hounds came into the tournament with a winning 8-1 record, their only loss being to San Marin the previous weekend. And they kicked off their REIBT schedule with a big 61-38 win over Ukiah, raising hopes for a tournament win on their home courts.

HANDS IN THE AIR Meher Dhiman (30) of Healdsburg times a shot over the defenses of the Arcata Tigers during the Dec. 8 REIBT game. Arcata handed Healdsburg a rare loss, 55-34. (Michael Lucid Photo)

They jumped out to a 19-9 lead after eight minutes of play, raising it to 33-18 at the half, and showed little signs of slowing down on their way to a 61-15 win over Ukiah’s Wildcats. Ukiah lost their next two games as well, ending up out of the running in the annual tournament.

But Healdsburg met their match on Friday when they faced off against the big Arcata team at Smith Robinson. The Lady Hounds kept it close through three quarters, but Arcata’s 14-point fourth gave them the lead going away, 55-34.

Arcata went on to meet Justin-Siena the following evening, losing to the eventual tournament champ by a thrilling 59-62 final score. Sophomore twin sisters Tae and Mae Wolford of Arcata were named best defensive players of the tournament, and junior Jordan Washington of Justin-Siena was MVP, most valuable player.

After the Arcata loss, Healdsburg met Fortuna late Saturday evening to settle third place in the girls bracket, and the Lady Hounds regained their poise, downing the Fortuna Huskies 63-40. Healdsburg came out fighting and with 24 points in the first quarter and 18 in the second, were never in danger.

Healdsburg’s Hailey Webb and Hannah Sellards were All-Tournament selections.

Boys Score Blowout in Tournament Play

The Healdsburg Greyhounds have had a rough go of it, entering the tournament with a 2-7 record despite all-star-level play from junior Thatcher Little. Their first REIBT matchup was against South Fork, a small yet mighty school in the heart of the Emerald Triangle.

EYE ON TWO Healdburg’s James Parmeter (24) tries a hook shot over Roseland College Prep opponents during the Dec. 8 REIBT competition. Healdsburg triumphed, 60-8. (Michael Lucid Photo)

Aggressive defensive play by both teams kept the ball moving and the Smith Robinson crowd on their feet, but South Fork wound up the winner, 42-30. Little led all scoring, however, with 21 points, more than South Fork star senior Tommy Rotbergs’ 19.

But South Fork’s championship hopes ended the next night with a 66-31 loss to San Domenico, the tournament’s eventual second place team.

San Domenico had a big 89-12 blowout of Roseland College Prep (RCP) on Wednesday, 89-12, and that result gave the Hounds reason to hope that their next victory was within reach.

So it was: Friday night in the East Gym, Healdsburg scored a season-high 60 points to crush RCP, 60-8. It was Healdsburg’s third win of the year, and prevented a last-place finish in their home tournament.

This time it was Leo Kluse and Ethan Overdorf who led both scoring and rebounding, with Overdorf dropping in 14 and Kluse 8.

On Saturday afternoon Healdsburg met Archie Williams of San Anselmo in a more challenging match. Archie had lost a close one to the Ukiah boys to open the tournament, 50-53, then beat Kelseyville 76-51 for the right to play Healdsburg.

The final result of the Saturday afternoon game found Healdsburg on the short end of a 66-19 score, and sixth place in the tournament.

Tamalpais High School had a run through the boys division, beating Kelseyville 71-44, then Ukiah 65-46. The championship game for the boys bracket came on Saturday night, with the Mill Valley school’s Red Tailed Hawks defeating the San Domenico Panthers 64-55. The MVP of the boys tournament was Nabhi Abbushi of Tamalpais.

Next year the Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament will play its 75th year, and high school basketball fans from throughout the region can look forward to another exciting series of games in Healdsburg. 

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Christian Kallen has called Healdsburg home for over 30 years. A former travel writer and web producer, he has worked with Microsoft, Yahoo, MSNBC and other media companies, usually in an editorial capacity. He started reporting locally in 2008, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.


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