By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
HEALDSBURG — Defending champ Marin Catholic ran the host Greyhounds out of the gym Saturday night while winning the boys division of the Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament, 65-47.
The Wildcats’ offense continually beat the Healdsburg defense down the court and as a result cashed in on 24 layups.
“We don’t have a lot of size but our players get out and go,” winning coach Mike Saia said.
“We thought we could capitalize on our speed against Healdsburg and we were able to do just that.”
Marin Catholic, putting the ball up almost exclusively from close range, shot better than 60 percent from the field. The Wildcats attempted only one shot from beyond the arc.
Marin came out running, scoring its first seven baskets on lay-ups. Patrick Conroy, the tournament’s most valuable player, had three baskets in close, and Nick Calcaterra knocked down two.
In the girls final, Novato defeated Healdsburg, 52-35. The Hornets jumped out to a 10-0 lead and were never threatened.
Taylor Missin led Novato with 21 and Janea Early, the girls bracket MVP, had 13. HelenAnn Haun paced the Greyhounds with 13 and Esther Unti had 10.
In the boys final, Marin put the game out of reach with a 7-0 run late in the third quarter. Calcaterra made two lay-ups and Conroy was fouled while scoring from in-close and made the free throw. That gave the Wildcats a 52-32 lead.
Calcaterra finished with 24 and Conroy had 16.
“They (Marin) didn’t have to work very hard for their buckets,” first-year Healdsburg coach Nick Galvan said.
“Watching them earlier in the tournament, we knew they would try and fast break us. We just couldn’t stop them. They are very fast and efficient. They passed well in transition.”
Galvan did see a ray of sunshine in the fourth quarter.
“My players never gave up, even when they got down by 20,” he said. “We came back to cut it to 13.
“We’re young and learning. Sometimes, you learn more from a loss than a win. We know what we have to do to improve and these kids are dedicated.”
Healdsburg did shoot the 3-point shot well, making nine from beyond the arc.
Cameron Lutz led the Greyhounds with 14 points. Kenneth Evans had nine.
Marin Catholic’s record is 3-0 while Healdsburg is now 6-1.