By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT
Montgomery’s girls basketball team couldn’t overcome a disastrous third quarter and lost to Clayton Valley, 58-49, in an NCS Division 2 semifinal game Wednesday night in Concord.
The Vikings scored only four points in the third while Clayton Valley put up 18. The game had been close up to that point with the home team clinging to a 32-30 halftime lead.
“The third quarter was the story of the game,” Montgomery coach Steve Bell said. “We had a letdown and Clayton Valley came out on fire. We couldn’t make a basket and made things worse with a few turnovers.”
Down 16 heading to the fourth, the No. 3 seeded Vikings fought back and pulled within seven points in the waning minutes.
“The girls could’ve given up but they showed a lot of heart and resiliency,” Bell said. “We outscored them 15-8 in the fourth and had the momentum. But, we just ran out of time.”
Claire Donnelly, who was selected the co-most valuable player in the North Bay League, led Montgomery with 14 points. Chantal Evett finished with 13. Donnelly came into the game averaging nine and Evett seven.
The Eagles, the No. 2 seed, got a 20-point performance from Hailey Pascoe.
“Clayton Valley is a very athletic team and plays with a lot of pace,” Bell said. “We matched up with them and played them tough three out of the four quarters. That third quarter was a killer.”
Clayton Valley will play top-seed Carondolet for the title on Saturday.
Montgomery will have at least one more game. By making it to the semifinals, the Vikings qualified for the CIF NorCal Tournament. Pairings will be announced on Sunday.