Girls’ basketball: Cloverdale routs rival St. Helena

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

CLOVERDALE — Whitney Edens and the three other seniors on the Eagles’ roster had revenge on their minds Friday night, and that was bad news for the St. Helena girls basketball team.

St. Helena's Sarah Brink, left, and Madelyn Densberger, right, stop Cloverdale's Taylor Spaulding from going to the net during the game held at Cloverdale High School, Jan. 21, 2011. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / PD)

In the three years Edens and her senior teammates have been on the varsity, Cloverdale has lost one home game and that was two years ago to St. Helena.

Friday night, the Eagles came out firing and enjoyed a 20-8 lead after one quarter. Cloverdale showed no mercy, keeping the pressure on and defeating the Saints, 57-30, in a North Central I-South game.

“We don’t have any trouble getting motivated for St. Helena,” Edens said. “It’s our biggest rival and we all remember how they came here when I was a sophomore and beat us.”

Edens led all scorers with 23, including 10 in the decisive first quarter.

Cloverdale’s hot shooting kept the Saints from making a run. The Eagles were 50 percent from the field, including 7-of-13 from 3-point territory. They were equally adept at the free throw line, cashing in seven of nine.

Since Edens, Brittney Vandergriff, Sara Gambetta and Marycruz Lopez were sophomores, Cloverdale’s record is 65-15.

This year’s team is 14-5 and Edens calls it the best of her Cloverdale career.

“We only lost one senior from last season,” she said, “so we expected to have a big year.”

Last year, the Eagles were 28-3 and 8-0 in league and when Edens was a sophomore, their record was 23-7 and 6-2.

Plus, coach Rick Berry has added 5-foot-11 Morgan Carlson to the roster. The sophomore had only four points against St. Helena, but grabbed eight rebounds and played excellent defense.

Maddy Densberger had 21 for St. Helena (11-6), but got little offensive help. The Saints are feeling the loss of Noemi Sanchez, their second leading scorer.

“Sanchez tore the ACL in her knee in late December and is out for the year,” coach Will Densberger said. “It’s been a killer for us. She was a low-post player and could drive to the basket and if she was covered, she’d kick it out to Maddy. That was a good one-two punch.

“Now, we’re one dimensional. Maddy is going to get points, but we have to figure out how to get scoring out of other players.”

Only four Saints scored. Shelby Zumwalt was the second leading scorer with four.

Overall, Berry was happy with Cloverdale’s effort.

“We got off to a fast start and kept playing up-tempo basketball and that’s what we do best,” he said. “We got a little careless with the ball at times and we need to work on that and also being more consistent.”

Cloverdale led 36-16 at the half and only once did St. Helena cut the margin to less than 20 in the second half. That came on Zumwalt’s 3-point goal late in the third quarter.

Also scoring in double figures for the Eagles were Gambetta (11) and Vandergriff (10).