By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Santa Rosa defeated Maria Carrillo, 47-43, in overtime Monday night and then things got ugly.
Just after the final buzzer sounded, a Santa Rosa parent threw an ice bag and hit a Maria Carrillo player. The players from both teams remained calm and did the customary postgame handshakes without incident.
However, a group of parents from both schools exchanged heated words in front of the scorer’s table before cooler heads prevailed.
“Throwing a bag of ice at an opposing player was a classless act,” said Panthers coach Steve Chisholm. “I apologized to Carrillo’s coach (Chris Walton).”
To ensure the situation was going to calm down, Chisholm kept his players in the locker room for 20 minutes while the crowd made its way to the exits.
Just before the ice bag was thrown, a Santa Rosa player was knocked down while attempting a layup. The referees didn’t call a foul because the horn had already sounded.
The game, which featured two of the three teams that had been tied for first place in the North Bay League, was a physical battle.
Morgan Bertsch, Santa Rosa’s 6-foot-4 center, rolled her ankle after being fouled 30 seconds into the game. In the third quarter, teammate Kylie Oden injured a knee following a foul.
Several times, Carrillo players fell to the hardwood though none had to be helped off the court.
“It was an extremely physical game,” Bertsch said. “There was contact all night.” Bertsch, the Panthers’ top scorer with a 14-point average, came back midway through the second quarter after getting her ankle taped.
“At first, I could barely move,” she said. “It was a little better in the second half but very weak. I just made up my mind to play through the pain.”
Bertsch finished with eight points, 10 rebounds and four blocks.
The junior came up big in overtime, scoring her team’s first basket on a 14-footer and then hitting a free throw. Taylor closed out the scoring with three seconds remaining.
Maria Carrillo didn’t score in the four-minute extra period.
Aaliyah Sowards led the Pumas with 22.
The guard hit a driving lay-up with seven seconds remaining in regulation to force overtime.
The fourth quarter featured five lead changes and the largest advantage was two points.
The Panthers led 25-21 at halftime and increased the lead to seven when Oden hit a 3-point shot early in the third quarter.
Carrillo, which had won seven straight, closed the gap to one by the end of the third. Sowards scored seven during the comeback.
Santa Rosa stayed in the game thanks to long-range field goals and free throws. The Panthers made six of 14 treys and 11 of 15 from the foul line. They made only nine of 44 inside the arc.
The Pumas connected on three of 12 treys and connected on 14 of 65 shots overall. They hit 12 of 19 free throws.
“Possessions and missed lay-ups cost us,” Carrillo coach Walton said.
With four games remaining in league, Santa Rosa and Montgomery sit atop the NBL with 8-2 records. The Vikings defeated Ukiah, 56-28, Monday night.
Santa Rosa improves to 17-5 overall while Maria Carrillo is 14-6.