By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Monte Vista came back from a double-digit deficit Saturday night to defeat Cardinal Newman, 57-51, and capture the 13th annual Russ Peterich Viking Tip-Off Classic.
It was the second night in a row that the Danville school defeated a Santa Rosa team. In a semifinal, the Mustangs upended host Montgomery.
Saturday’s game was a tale of two halves.
Newman, with Corey Hammell leading the way, enjoyed a 30-19 lead in the final minute of the first half. The 6-foot-6 senior was on fire in the opening quarter as he scored 17 of his team’s 20 points. Nine of his points came from beyond the arc.
Monte Vista turned up the defensive intensity in the second half and took the lead, 38-37, with 1:45 left in the third. The advantage went up to seven midway through the fourth before the Cardinals rallied to pull within two points with 18.6 seconds showing on the clock.
Monte Vista then got two free throws apiece from Rishi Satoor and Trevor John to secure the victory.
“To come to a good basketball town like Santa Rosa and beat local schools on successive nights has me feeling pretty good about this team,” Mustangs coach Nick Jones said.
Jones felt his team was sluggish on offense in the first half and still only trailed, 30-22, at the break.
“I said let’s just try and chip away at the lead, the first-year coach said. “I felt Newman didn’t figure to stay as hot as they were in the first half.”
Jones also switched Anders Turner to defend Hammell. The forward made only six free throws in the second half.
Kenny Love, who led Newman in scoring last year, missed his second consecutive game. He sprained his left ankle in Thursday’s first-round game.
Competing in the Viking Classic for the first time, Newman went 2-1.
“I thought we had a great tournament,” Tom Bonfigli, the winningest coach in the Redwood Empire said. “The competition was very good and to win two games is something to be proud of.
“We had good energy in the first half and not as much in the second half. We made some poor decisions on defense at the point of attack that cost us. Monte Vista played a better second half than we did.”
Hammell’s 23 led all scorers. Kyle King had nine for the Cardinals and Tim McCullough tossed in eight.
John, who was named the tournament’s most valuable player, led the Mustangs with 14.
Newman, now 3-1, is in the midst of playing seven games in 10 days. The Cardinals visit Analy on Tuesday.
Montgomery earned the third place trophy, defeating Campolindo, 66-57. The score was 42-42 after three quarters. The Vikings scored 24 in the fourth period.
Noah Orlick and Tyler Newman both had 16 points to lead the home team. Alec Raven had 13, two more than Michael Septimo.
Coach Tom Fitchie said the tournament set an attendance record. The stands were nearly full for the night sessions Friday and Saturday.