NBL girls basketball: Vice-Neat’s jumper lifts Newman over Montgomery 32-31

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman freshman Hailey Vice-Neat handled pressure like a veteran as she made the game-winning shot Saturday night as the Cardinals edged Montgomery, 32-31.

Vice-Neat nailed a jumper from the elbow of the free-throw circle with 5.7 seconds remaining.

Montgomery took a timeout and got off a last shot. However, Hayley Komrij’s desperation toss missed the mark.

“I knew it was in when it left my hand,” Vice-Neat said of her game winner. “There wasn’t a player within two or three feet of me, so I didn’t hesitate taking the shot.”

Tiffany Salinas brought the ball over midcourt and drew a double team that left Vice-Neat open.

Salinas spotted her teammate and got her the ball.

The win keeps Newman tied with Santa Rosa atop the North Bay League standings. Both are 5-0.

Montgomery led 16-15 at halftime and neither team had more than a four-point advantage after intermission.

Salinas’ three-point play with 3:30 remaining gave the Cardinals the largest lead of the second half, 30-26.

The Vikings then converted five free throws to move in front, 31-30. Niambi Saint Louis and Madison Nordby each hit a pair and Komrij made one.

It was a hard-fought game, but not pretty.

Newman committed 20 turnovers and Montgomery had a few more than that.

“It was a battle,” Cardinals coach Monica Mertle said. “Thankfully, we were able to maintain our toughness all the way through.”

Even though she’s a freshman, Mertle said there was no doubt the 6-foot-2 Vice-Neat was ready for varsity ball.

“She’s a great athlete and can play any position,” the coach said.

Vice-Neat wound up with eight points. Guard Kylie Kiech led the Cardinals attack with 15.

Kiech came up big in the fourth quarter. With her team trailing by three, the junior guard scored six straight points.

Nordby scored 14 for Montgomery. Saint Louis added eight

“We had a few shots that were in the basket and rolled out,” Vikings coach Steve Bell said. “Those would’ve made a big difference.

“We played great defense and the girls gave it everything they had. It was a tough one to lose.”

Montgomery is now 2-3 in league and 8-8 overall. The Vikings will play Petaluma on Monday in the NBL-SCL challenge at Sonoma Valley High.

Cardinal Newman has won six straight and is 12-5 overall.

The Cardinals next game is Wednesday night at home against Windsor.

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