DRIVE Rio Lindo’s Hunter McNunn (10, with ball) drives inside past Healdsburg’s Sho Katsuki (20) in the first quarter of the Nov. 16 match at Rio Lindo. James Parmeter (24) and Leo Kluse (31) try to close the gap as McKinley Ingham (32) blocks. (Photo by Christian Kallen)

There’s more than one high school in Healdsburg. As well as the public Healdsburg High School, three miles up Bailache Road south of town is the Rio Lindo Adventist Academy, a private boarding school for grades 9-12. The total enrollment is only 108, on the low end of the Division 6 enrollment range of up to 199, but the school’s sports program is optimistic.

Kevin Hardesty, the vice principal and athletic director at Rio Lindo, was hopeful before the dual meeting of HHS and Rio Lindo on Nov. 16, when the boys and the girls basketball teams met on the Rio Lindo campus.

“HHS has always been the stronger team, but our boys have given them some close games, and this year we hope that both teams can put up a fight in the ‘battle of Healdsburg’,” Hardesty said before the games. “I wouldn’t call it a rivalry, but we hope we can continue to improve our teams, so it turns into a rivalry.”

BLOCKED Ethan Overdorf (10) of Healdsburg blocks a shot by Rio Lindo’s Kafili Thompson during their Nov. 16 game, with an assist by James Parmeter (24).

Though he had no illusions for either encounter, he did have some optimism. “The boys should be an interesting game,” he said. “I think HHS lost several seniors last year, and we didn’t.”

Regardless of the loss of league all-stars Sam Vanden Heuvel and Max Hubble, both of whom graduated out, Healdsburg’s roster still included several veterans of last year’s team, which finished the season with a 15-12 record, 5-3 for second place in the North Bay Redwood league.

At the outset of last week’s Rio Lindo-Healdsburg boys basketball game, Hardesty’s optimism seemed warranted as the Spartans played a lively first quarter that ended in an 8-8 tie.

The Hounds jumped out early in the second quarter with a 14-2 run, before Rio Lindo freshman Jordan Campbell hit a three-pointer and senior McKinley Ingham knocked in two free throws to cut the halftime lead to seven, 22-15.

The game was as good as decided after the break, as the Greyhounds’ on-the-mark shooting produced 25 points to Rio Lindo’s 5. The 57-29 final score showed that however optimistic and improved the Rio Lindo program is, there’s still work to be done before the cross-town matches become a true rivalry.

Both teams are now 1-1 on the season. The Greyhounds lost their first game on Nov. 14 to Santa Rosa by a humbling 81-30. The season kicks into full gear after the Thanksgiving holiday, though league matches aren’t on the schedule until after the first of the new year.

The Spartans won their opening game on Nov. 14 over Roseland Collegiate Prep, 48-24. Their schedule picks up again on Nov. 28.

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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 2012, moving from Patch to the Sonoma Index-Tribune to the Kenwood Press before joining the Healdsburg Tribune in 2022.

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