Vikings finish fifth, Tigers fourth in San Diego

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

On Thursday’s final session of the San Diego Holiday Classic, Montgomery defeated Cerritos Gahr, 73-72, while Analy dropped a 67-59 decision to Rancho Bernardo.

Analy won two of its four games and finished fourth in the 16-team Governor’s bracket played at Rancho Bernardo. Montgomery, which lost in the second round, won three of its four games in the Senator’s section and took the consolation championship.

The San Diego Classic was an invitation-only event and drew 79 teams from the East Coast, Canada, Hawaii and other areas.

Quentin Mendoza was the hero for Montgomery on Thursday as he scored a layup with three seconds remaining to put the Vikings ahead.

“Gahr turned the ball over with 12 seconds remaining,” coach Tom Fitchie explained.

“We didn’t have any timeouts left, but the Gahr coach called one. We set up a play where Mendoza would dribble the ball down the court and Ben Freeland would set a screen for him.

“I told Quentin that if he was covered after Ben’s screen that he should pass it off. If not, take it to the basket.”

Mendoza, a 5-foot-8 guard, saw that Freeland’s screen took care of his defender and there was nothing between him and the basket. He turned the corner and from three feet out banked in the ball for the winning basket.

The Vikings were in control early, leading 37-26 at halftime.

“We coughed it up a lot in the second half,” Fitchie said. “Gahr even went up four points in the fourth quarter. That we were able to find something extra to come back late, makes me feel good about this group.”

Alec Kobre had another good shooting night, finishing with 27. Freeland had 21 and Mendoza 11.

“It was a very successful tournament,” Fitchie said. “The kids had a great time, we played top competition and we know what we have to improve upon when NBL starts next week.”

Analy started the tournament with two wins, before losing its last two.

“I knew we were in trouble the last game,” coach Brett Page said.

“The guys were pretty tired following three tough games in three days. We have four players that pretty much go the distance and they were pretty beat up.

“We missed a lot of free throws and that happens when you’re tired. Still, we had a great tournament and it’s something the kids will always remember.”

Max Fujii had 26 points and averaged 28 in the four tournament games. Nathan Molony-Benjamin was a casualty. He broke his nose just before halftime.

Analy is 10-3 and opens SCL play next week.

Casa Grande, also from the SCL, finished third in the Don Baumbauer Memorial at Marin Catholic. The Gauchos, behind Joey Rodriguez’ 23 points, defeated St. Joseph, 64-44.