By Kyle Foster
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
With the playoffs quickly approaching every win is important, at the same time reaching a goal set at the beginning of the season is a moral victory. The Napa High boys basketball team met their team goal to win more games than last season with their 67-49 win over Armijo on Tuesday night.
“It feels good, it’s a small victory,” Napa coach Zack Cook explained of meeting one of their team goals. “Our ultimate goal is to try to sneak in the playoffs, that’s looking like a very slim possibility, but yeah another goal was to win more games than we did last year and tonight we finally got over the hump and did that, so that’s part of growth and the program, so yeah it feels good.”
Napa (10-15 overall, 3-5 Monticello Empire League) got off to a slow start in the first quarter. They scored only 11 points, and turned the ball over in their first three possessions of the game.
“I can’t really explain it,” Cook said of the ugly beginning to the game. “It’s not like we were being pressured or anything, it was just poor decisions and guys trying to make great passes that you know they’re just not there. Luckily we adjusted and stopped doing that.”
Early on in the first quarter Cook went to his bench searching to find energy that the starters were lacking.
“They kinda stemmed the tide, showed our starters what we were supposed to be doing, and we were able to slowly get back in the game,” Cook emphasized on how big of a role the bench played on the night.
A 25-point Napa second quarter gave them a 11-point lead over Armijo (2-22, 0-8 MEL) into the half.
“Yeah, that was a nice quarter for us,” Cook added on the big second quarter. “We started pushing the ball more, we defended, and were able to bounce back and go into halftime with a lead.”
On the night the Indians were led by their captain Joe Carnazola. He had 19 points, with six rebounds. Zack Swim and Danny Ruiz each added ten points, Swim had three rebounds however. Brock Bowers added nine points and eight rebounds.
“He hit two huge threes in the fourth quarter, (had) 11 points in the fourth quarter to kinda keep them at bay and open up the game,” Cook said of his senior leader. “He played big. Vince O’Kelley who’s been struggling with his shot hit a really, really big three pointer also tonight. And then Danny Ruiz, sophomore, he’s gone through some growing pains this year, he’s played well our last two games, he had ten points and played really well, so it was a nice team effort. Everybody played, everybody did a good job.”
Up next for Napa is a meeting with crosstown rival Vintage Thursday at 7 p.m., Armijo will visit Rodriguez Thursday at 7 p.m. as well. In the first Big Game Vintage came away with a 67-60 win thanks to some hot second half shooting.
“It always has a lot of meaning, just because it’s your crosstown rival,” Cook said of the upcoming rivalry game. “It’s fun, great atmosphere, fun for the kids, they all know each other and have played youth sports together and stuff, so yeah it’s a Big Game, but like we always say it’s still basketball and it’s still five-on-five.”
Thanks to Vintage’s 67-48 loss to Vacaville and Rodriguez’s 70-66 upset win over Wood-Vacaville Thursday’s Big Game is an elimination game. If Rodriguez wins out they will for sure go to the playoffs, but if they lose Thursday or next Tuesday to first-place Vacaville and the Big Game winner wins out it’ll come down to a coin toss. If the Big Game winner wins out, and Rodriguez loses out the Big Game winner will go.