Vikings hoops defense too tough for Gauchos

ByHOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Montgomery held Casa Grande to one point in the first quarter Friday night while coasting to a 67-36 win in a semifinal game of the Russ Peterich Tip Off Classic at the Viking gym.

Montgomery will face Campolindo in the championship at 4:30 p.m. today, The Cougars advanced with a 50-44 win over Redwood in the other semi.

“Obviously I’m happy the guys played so hard on defense,” winning coach Tom Fitchie said. “What really made me happy was that our offense finally got on track.”

Even though the Vikings won their first two, they scored only 55 against Washington and 50 in a first round win over Vista del Lago on Thursday.

Ben Freeland, a 6-foot-9 senior, led the Montgomery offense with 14 points.

“We were able to get the ball into the post and that definitely helps me,” Freeland said. “I was able to establish position and work the inside-outside game.” He also had 10 rebounds.

The Vikings hit eight 3-pointers while thwarting every Casa attempt at a comeback. It was 33-12 at the half and 51-22 after three quarters.

In the second half, Fitchie played everyone on the bench. Ten Vikings scored. Besides Freeland, also in double figures were Zack Templeton (12) and Alec Kobre (10).
Josh Hayworth scored 14, the only Casa player in double figures. Joey Rodriguez, who had 24 points in the opening round win over California, finished with eight. In the first half, he had four points.

“We know he’s a very good player and just tried to keep him from driving to the basket,” Fitchie said.

The Vikings dominated the boards, 38-16. In the first half, they were able to get numerous points on follow ups.

The Gauchos (1-1) will improve now that the school’s football season has ended. Casa lost to Concord, 26-21, Friday night. That means next week coach Jim Forni will welcome Nick Sherry, Makana Garrigan and Jonathon Cole to the basketball team.

Casa plays for third place at 3 p.m. today against Redwood.