Callan tournament: Casa, Newman advance

Cardinal Newman's Bobby Sharp goes up to the net as Novato's Nikko Young defends during the first round of the Brett Callan Memorial Tournament held at Casa Grande High School on Thursday. CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat

By HOWARD SENZELL
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA — The first day at the Brett Callan Memorial Basketball Tournament was true to form, as favorites Pinole Valley, Cardinal Newman, Clayton Valley and Casa Grande breezed into today’s semifinal round.

Host Casa concluded Thursday’s action by defeating Alameda, 66-48. In the other evening game, Clayton Valley took care of Elsie Allen, 62-33. Earlier, Pinole Valley defeated Petaluma, 53-29, and Cardinal Newman had no trouble with Novato, 77-50.

In today’s winners bracket, Newman faces Pinole at 6:30 p.m. with the Gauchos and Clayton Valley battling at 8. The losers’ side of the draw finds Petaluma and Novato playing at 3:30 followed by Elsie Allen and Alameda at 5.

Casa Grande outscored Alameda 21-3 in the third quarter to break open its game. Joey Rodriguez had seven in the quarter while Nick Sherry and Josh Hayworth had six each.
Rodriguez finished with 19, including four 3-pointers. The guard also had seven assists, seven rebounds and five steals.
Hayworth pulled down 11 rebounds and blocked three shots.

“We didn’t rebound well or play good defense in the first half,” Casa coach James Forni said. “In the third quarter, we stayed man-to-man and increased the defensive pressure. That was the difference. We held them to three points, so the pressure worked.”
The best game today figures to be Cardinal Newman against Pinole Valley.
Newman coach Tom Bonfigli thinks Pinole is the best team his squad will face in pre-conference.

“From what I’ve seen, Pinole is the second-best team in NCS Division 2,” Bonfigli said. “Montgomery is No. 1 and then comes Pinole.
“They are very athletic, have good size and their guards are very quick. We’ll need to play our best game of the season if we’re going to beat them.

“For us to have any chance, we’re going to have to take care of the ball.”
Bonfigli has scouted Pinole twice and thinks 6-foot-4 Kairon Moore, who plays the wing, has the ability to play college ball.
Moore had a team-high 12 against Petaluma.

Xavier McCall (22) and Bobby Sharp (16) were the scoring leaders against Novato, but Bonfigli said sophomore Kenny Love impressed him most.
“He played well on defense and grabbed five boards,” the coach said. “It was his best game of the season.”

Newman led 42-21 at the half. Everyone on the bench played in the second half.
Pinole has eight players back from the 2009 squad that made it to CIF.