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NVC women’s basketball team picks up first win of Bay Valley Conference season

Napa Valley Women's Basketball Team Playing

The Napa Valley College women’s basketball team completed one of the toughest stretches of the 2021-22 season – five games in eight days, including back-to-back games to start the Bay Valley Conference campaign. The Storm will now head into the Christmas and New Year’s holiday break on a very positive note: with a win that snapped a six-game losing skid. 

“They need some time off,” Napa Valley head coach Paul DeBolt said. “The main thing is we’re pretty healthy.” 

The 12-day break continues into next month, with the Storm resuming its Bay Valley season on Tuesday, Jan. 4 at Los Medanos-Pittsburg. 

“There’s certain things we’re going to work on. Just keep them focused,” said DeBolt. 

Napa Valley began the Bay Valley season on Wednesday, Dec. 22, losing to host Solano Community College-Fairfield, 59-58. 

The Storm bounced back, beating Contra Costa College-San Pablo, 66-45, on Thursday, Dec. 23, as four players scored in double figures. 

Mirah Jackson scored 20 points, Nicole Gleeson had 12 points and Amaree Bennett had 10 points to lead Napa Valley in the game against Solano. 

A free throw by Bennett gave NVC a 54-47 lead with 6:21 to go. 

A basket by Gleeson gave NVC a 56-49 lead with 5:57 to play. 

“I just think that we needed one thing to go our way in the last two minutes, and nothing did. We didn’t rebound,” said DeBolt. “It’s just the kind of thing where it’s really a disappointment. 

“It’s a young team and we’re learning. We just have to learn to play through it and get better. I thought we did tonight.” 

Gleeson scored 16 points, Bennett had 14 points, Addison Alsbury had 11 points and Maizy Armstrong-Brown finished with 10 to lead Napa Valley (5-9 overall, 1-1 Bay Valley) in the game against Contra Costa. It was the first game of the season for Contra Costa, which went into the game with six players. 

The Storm connected on nine 3-pointers and was 11-of-13 from the free-throw line. NVC was ahead 16-11 after the first quarter and led 33-17 at halftime. The Storm took a 55-26 lead into the fourth quarter. 

“We just wanted to come out and make the game not close. And that’s what we did,” said DeBolt. “Our pressure bothered them. It’s their first game. That’s a huge advantage against a team. We just tried to play how we play, come out and do what we do. I think for the most part, we did. 

“Contra Costa is rebuilding. They’re starting from scratch. Those kids are doing everything they can do – credit to them. Our job is to take these games one at a time. Our mindset tonight was just to come out and play how we play and do the best that we can do.” 

DeBolt and his staff got a lot of players into the game, early and often. Mirah Jackson scored seven points. Alliyah Fernandez and Maleiah Cronin each had three points. 

“We have players who can score – seven or eight kids who can get double figures,” said DeBolt. “Our defense spurred our offense tonight. 

“We still are sort of in a shooting slump. We’ll break out of it.” 

Contra Costa was led by Diane Hall with 16 points, Ashanti Strubben with 13 and Ana Daniels with seven. 

The goal, said DeBolt, is to contend for the Bay Valley title. 

“I know Laney’s got a pretty good team. Yuba is pretty good. Solano is pretty good. But I think we’re capable of playing and beating all those teams,” said DeBolt. “It’s just a matter of continuing to get better, to stay healthy and grow. You never know what can happen.”  

League-opening game 

Mirah Jackson scored 20 points, Nicole Gleeson had 12 points and Amaree Bennett had 10 points to lead Napa Valley in Wednesday’s 59-58 loss to host Solano in a BVC opening game. 

Cherika Rafan’s 3-point basket put Solano on top, 57-56 with 2:53 remaining. 

Jackson’s basket put NVC in front, 58-57, with 2:28 to play. 

“Solano is usually one of the best teams in the Bay Valley. For us to be able to immediately compete with them says a lot of good things about what we’re doing here,” said DeBolt. “And we’re only going to get better.” 

Dominique Eaglin’s free throw for Solano tied the game, 58-58, with 2:11 to go. 

Eaglin’s free throw with 1:23 to play gave Solano a one-point lead, 59-58. 

Napa Valley trailed 18-17 after one quarter. 

The Storm was ahead at halftime 35-34, and was leading 47-44 going into the fourth quarter. 

Gleeson had 10 rebounds, two assists and two blocks. 

Maizy Armstrong-Brown had six points, eight rebounds, two assists and two steals. 

Addison Alsbury scored six points and had 13 rebounds and four steals. 

Maira Montanez (two points, two rebounds), Alliyah Fernandez (two points, two rebounds, two steals), and Rosalia Scaduto (two rebounds) also saw action for the Storm. 

NVC shot 31 percent from the floor (22-of-71), 20 percent from 3-point range (4-of-20), and 83.3 percent from the free-throw line (10-of-12). 

Solano (6-7 overall, 1-0 Bay Valley) had four players in double figures. 

Rafan scored 15 points with four 3-pointers, Janae Jackson scored 13 points, Jaslyn Woods had 11 points and Eaglin had 10 points. 

Solano shot 33.9 percent from the floor (20-of-59), 28.6 percent from 3-point distance (6-of-21), and 56.5 percent from the free-throw line (13-of-23). 

CCCWBCA state poll 

Seven Northern California teams are in the California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association state poll, announced on Dec. 20 by the California Community College Athletic Association. 

San Joaquin Delta-Stockton is No. 1 in the poll. 

Also listed: 

No. 5 Sierra-Rocklin, No. 10 City College of San Francisco, No. 13 Butte-Oroville, No. 15 College of San Mateo, tied for No. 16 Santa Rosa, No. 20 Modesto. 

Others listed include College of the Siskiyous-Weed, Laney-Oakland, Merced and Skyline-San Bruno. 

CCCWBCA North Region poll 

The California Community College Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s North Region poll, announced on Dec. 20 by the California Community College Athletic Association, is led by No. 1 San Joaquin Delta-Stockton. 

Also in the poll: 

No. 3 Sierra-Rocklin, No. 4 City College of San Francisco, No. 6 Santa Rosa, No. 7 Butte-Oroville, tied for No. 9 College of San Mateo, tied for No. 9 Modesto, No. 11 Laney-Oakland, No. 12 Skyline-San Bruno, tied for No. 13 Merced, tied for No. 13 College of the Siskiyous-Weed, No. 15 Shasta-Redding. 

Others listed: Chabot-Hayward, De Anza-Cupertino, Feather River-Quincy, Folsom Lake. 

* Marty James is a freelance writer who makes his home in Napa. He retired on June 4, 2019 after spending 40 years as a sports writer, sports editor and executive sports editor for the Napa Valley Register, a daily newspaper in Napa County. He is a 1979 graduate of Sacramento State and a member of the California Golf Writers & Broadcasters Association. He was inducted into the CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Hall of Fame in 2016 and the Vintage High School Athletic Hall of Fame in September of 2019.