With the advent of the North Bay – Redwood league season this week, the Healdsburg girls basketball team is sitting on an 11-2 record and appears poised to dominate the seven-team league again this year.
Healdsburg puts its girls team—now 9 players strong—into action against 3-4 Rancho and 1-8 Windsor, but there’s more to a team’s strength than its pre-season record, and coach Jim Lago isn’t taking anything for granted.
“I never underestimate either of these two teams,” he said on Monday. “They have a history of strong play and excellent coaching, and the one league game we lost last year was to Windsor … and it appears that Rancho recently beat Windsor.”
That Dec. 12 match was the first league game of the season for both teams, and Rancho Cotate won 46-36, sparked by sophomore Izzy Harumi’s 13 points and junior Daniela Campos’ 10.
“I am not saying I expect to lose,” Lago said. “I am just saying it won’t be as easy as some of our pre-season games.”
Healdsburg’s most recent game found them overwhelming Terra Linda 53-25, though it should be noted Terra Linda has yet to win a game this season. But the Marin team gathered their resources and outscored the Lady Greyhounds in the second quarter, 16-15, prompting Healdsburg’s defense to wake up and hold Terra Linda to 7 points in the rest of the game.
All players on the Greyhounds team saw playing time and scored points, though none scored more than the 9 from both Allie Espinoza and Ashley Beherns. Hailey Webb, the team’s leading scorer this year, only netted 8, but two of them were three-pointers and her 9 assists helped spread the scoring around.
Tuesday’s away game against Rancho Cotate is followed by a match in Healdsburg on Thursday, Dec. 21—the first league game to be played on the Smith Robinson court this year. Windsor will be the opponent; tip-off is time 7:30pm.
The girls North Coast Redwood League is composed of seven teams, including Piner, Santa Rosa, St. Vincent de Paul, Rancho Cotate, Elsie Allen and Windsor, in addition to Healdsburg. Healdsburg came out on top last year with an 11-1 record, their only loss coming to Windsor.
Meanwhile the boys varsity team continues to play hard but comes up short in most of their matches, getting only three wins so far this year including in tournament play. They play one more pre-season game on Saturday, an early 1pm game on Dec. 23 against Maria Carrillo in Santa Rosa, and participate in the Windsor Holiday Shootout tournament the following week.
But the boys first league game isn’t until Jan. 10, against St. Vincent, after which the league match-ups come fast and furious, two a week until Feb. 3.
Healdsburg came in second in the league last year, 5-3, behind undefeated Ukiah. The league this year is only five teams—St. Vincent, Rancho Cotate, Elsie Allen, Ukiah and Healdsburg.