Tight game provides tension, thrills for Healdsburg spectators
While last year’s Healdsburg girls basketball league season included only one loss, it was to second-place Windsor. Though the Greyhound girls went on to lose in their first postseason game, that loss to Windsor was the one that rankled.
So tension was high in Smith Robinson Gym on Thursday night, both among the partisans in the bleachers and the teams on the benches. It was the last game before the holiday break, and the home-team Greyhounds were focused on one goal above all others: defeating league rival Windsor in their first of two NCS-Redwood matches of the still-young season.
Another goal may have lurked behind the intensely played match, which saw Windsor keep pace with Healdsburg’s aggressive defense and shooting for most of the game: Hailey Webb, the team’s only senior, was closing in on a landmark 1,000 points. Only a handful of girls have reached that mark in the school’s history—most recently teammate Itzel Ortiz, just last year.
In the second quarter, Webb lined up for two penalty free throws and passed the mark. Coach Jim Lago called time out, and a specially decorated game ball was presented to Webb on the sidelines as her team and the Healdsburg audience applauded.
Then Webb and her teammates went back to work. “We knew going in that would be a tough game, as we never underestimate a well-coached team. And it definitely lived up to that billing,” Lago said.
“In the end it was Healdsburg’s explosive defense and extraordinary shooting performances by Hailey Webb (24 pts.) and Ruby Leffew (15 pts.) that secured our victory,” said Lago. Both girls also hit three-pointers, five for Webb and three for Leffew, and despite the challenge of Windsor’s best efforts Healdsburg got the win, 47-43.
Webb ended up with 1,010 career points by the final buzzer.
Two days earlier, the NCS-Redwood season began for the Greyhound girls with a game in Rohnert Park against Rancho Cotate, with a 59-40 win for Healdsburg. While Webb got 17 points in that game, that total was bested by teammate Allie Espinoza’s 19. Espinoza is another holdover from last year’s first-place Healdsburg team, and one more reason why the Greyhounds are favored to repeat as league champions in the 2023-24 season.
That season resumed on Wednesday of this week (Dec. 27) with a non-league matchup with Cloverdale, before the NCS-Redwood schedule gets underway with a vengeance on Jan. 5, with two league games a week until the last scheduled game on Feb. 3 against Piner.