Showdown becomes Analy’s throwdown

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

SEBASTOPOL — If Saturday night’s Montgomery-Analy game was between the two best teams in the Redwood Empire, there’s no question now who’s No. 1.

Analy's Raffi Dick and Montgomery's Brian McCammon fight for the loose ball during the game held at Analy High School, Jan. 8, 2011. (CRISTA JEREMIASON / The Press Democrat)

And, after he scored 28 points in the Tigers’ 55-41 victory, there’s also no argument that Max Fujii is the Empire’s top gun.

Fujii, who came in averaging 26 per game, scored nine in the fourth quarter to help douse a Montgomery rally.

The Tigers never trailed, although they gave their fans in the standing-room-only crowd a few anxious moments late. A 40-26 lead a minute into the fourth quarter was trimmed to 45-40 with 2:26 remaining.

However, 11 seconds later Fujii connected from just inside the foul line and was hacked by Alec Kobre. Fujii’s free throw made it 48-40 and his team had breathing room again.

At 12-3, Analy is favored to win the Sonoma County League while Montgomery, at 11-2, is the team to beat in the North Bay League.

“We were able to do what we wanted to do,” winning coach Brett Page said. “We wanted to get an early lead and build our confidence.”

The Tigers did just that, scoring the game’s first seven points.

“We know Montgomery is a very good defensive team, so we wanted to establish that we could score against them,” Page said. “Also, our fans give us a boost. They really get into the game and their enthusiasm keeps our players going. The kids feed off all that cheering.”

This is the fourth straight year Analy has beaten Montgomery by double digits. Three of those victories were here.

Even though his team led all the way, Fujii never felt confident.

“Montgomery is an explosive team,” he said. “They can get hot and come back against anyone. Also, they play tough defense. It didn’t surprise me they made a run late in the game. We knew they wouldn’t quit, no matter how big a lead we had.”

Page thinks he has the top guard tandem in the Empire with Fujii and Eli Alcantar. Both are 5-foot-9.

“While they’re not tall, they make up for it by being active,” Page said. “You watch them, they’re always moving on both offense and defense. They make things happen.”

Alcantar, a senior like Fujii, scored 14.

While Montgomery didn’t play its best, coach Tom Fitchie was impressed with Analy.

“They’re mentally tough,” he said. “I thought our defense was pretty decent, but Fujii and Alcantar keep working until they get a good shot. They know how to get open, especially Fujii. He’s a great high school player.”

Page agreed with Fitchie’s assessment of Fujii.

“He’s our leader and the heart of our team,” he said. “He’s got a great attitude and along with Alcantar, they make things happen.”

Fujii, who had made 54 of 106 3-point field goals coming into the game, hit only two against Montgomery.

The Vikings had allowed opponents only 43 points per game while scoring 62.

“We didn’t have a lot of cohesion on offense,” Fitchie said. “We didn’t work the ball around very well, and our free-throw shooting wasn’t good. We definitely need to improve in some areas.”

Kobre was the only Viking in double figures. He finished with 12.