The high school basketball season is underway for Healdsburg boys and girls teams, joining some 15 other sports in this, the craziest of all spring seasons.
The boys team, led by veteran coach Yasha Mokaram, are off to a solid, 4-1 start in five pre-league outings, having defeated El Molino (84-40), Windsor (66-49), San Rafael (63-37) and Justin Siena (54-51). The lone loss came in a 59-44 setback to Branson.
Healdsburg will tip off the NBL Oak Division schedule at home on Wednesday, May 5 against Maria Carrillo (4 p.m.) and visit Piner this Friday, May 7 (7:30 p.m.).
Unlike other years, the defending North Bay League Redwood Division champion Greyhounds will not be playing for titles, but rather pride and competition this spring.
“With COVID taking away the entire off-season, our team is a work in progress,” Mokaram reported. “We have a long way to go and we do not have the time I would like to devote to the game. But we are happy to get to play some games and hopefully, we can get better throughout the season.”
The Hounds return four players to the varsity team, including fourth-year senior star Dylan Hayman. He’ll be joined by second-year sophomore Gavin Vogensen, third-year junior big man Graham McDonald and third-year senior Chase Sommer.
Hayman will be looking to build on a sensational junior campaign in which he led the team in nearly all offensive categories.
“Hayman was league MVP last year and has only improved his game,” Mokaram noted. “This kid is a basketball junky — he’s the first one in the gym and the last one out. We are all lucky to play and coach alongside him.”
The list of first year varsity players includes talented 6-foot, 5-inch sophomore Max Hubbell, an up-and-coming player to watch this year.
“Max is a great addition to the Hounds' roster,” Mokaram said. “He is big but also has the skills of a guard.”
Also new to the varsity team are juniors Sebby Leffew and Roland Sanchez, and sophomores Pedro Gomez, Otis Hardin, Enzo Kluse and Berni Pimentel.
Ladies in rebuilding campaign
The Lady Greyhounds are also embarking on a rare spring season, looking to build on a strong 21-8 record last season.
Head coach Steve Zichichi, who led the Hounds to NBL Redwood Division tourney title and a trip to the North Coast Section playoffs, is back to lead a relatively young and inexperienced varsity team, but one which boasts plenty of talent.
“It is definitely a rebuilding year; we have five freshmen, three sophomores and two juniors on the team,” Zichichi said. “We lost two starters to other sports and will really struggle, but will be better next year.”
Returning to carry much of the offensive load is all-league sophomore guard Itzel Ortiz, fresh off a sensational freshman campaign.
Other projected starters for the Hounds are promising freshman point guard Hailey Webb, along with juniors Gracee Barker, Maddie Wagner and Theresa Helfrich. Expected to lend support off the bench are freshmen Bethany Barker, Amelia Glassell, Briana Scott, Jordan Holland and junior Emily Dunkel.
The girls will open the NBL schedule this Wednesday, May 5 against visiting Maria Carrillo (7:30 p.m.), followed by a Friday, May 7 trip to El Molino (7:30 p.m.).