Boys basketball: Montgomery beats Carrillo in NBL showdown

Maria Carrillo's Clayton Andrews (5) battles his way to the basket against Montgomery defenders during Thursday night's game. (ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat)

Maria Carrillo’s Clayton Andrews (5) battles his way to the basket against Montgomery defenders during Thursday night’s game. (ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Before a standing-room only crowd Thursday night in Maria Carrillo’s gym, Montgomery showed once more it’s easily the best team in the North Bay League.

The Vikings controlled the game from the outset and beat the Pumas 43-29.

Carrillo came into the game with a 4-1 league record, and playing on its home court, was expected to challenge the Vikings.

Instead, Montgomery raced to a 9-0 lead with eight of those points scored by Alec Raven. The 6-foot-6 senior began the game with a pair of 3-pointers and a basket in close.

The only points the stingy Vikings defense allowed in the first quarter came on a bucket by Clayton Andrews six minutes into the game. The lead grew to 27-14 by halftime and the Pumas didn’t get it below double digits after intermission.

“I thought we played great,” Montgomery coach Tom Fitchie said. “We set the tone for the game at the start and our defense was outstanding.”

The Vikings did a great job on Carrillo’s 6-foot-7 A.J. John. He came in averaging around 20 points per game and managed only five free throws. The senior got off only four shots while being shadowed by Kiel Long and Raven.

John’s much-anticipated matchup with Raven never materialized. Raven scored 15 in the first half and finished with 22.

“He’s a basketball player,” Fitchie said of Raven. “He does it all — scores, rebounds, plays defense and gets assists. He never goes easy.”

Montgomery, now 14-4 and 6-0 in league, got eight points from Long and six from point guard Noah Orlik. Connor Wright led the Carrillo attack with 11. The Pumas are 12-6 overall.

The home team shot 24 percent from the field and made only 4 of 21 from behind the arc.

“We had a hard time getting started,” Carrillo coach Will Parker said. “We didn’t shoot well and we didn’t do a good job rebounding.

“Offensively, the Montgomery defense took us out of what we wanted to do. That was to score from the elbows and in close.

“We played a good defensive game but unfortunately for us, that didn’t translate into points.”

The Vikings connected on 34 percent of their attempts (14 of 41). If they had a weakness, it was at the free throw line where they were 10 of 20.

Montgomery finishes the first half of the NBL schedule on Tuesday when Casa Grande comes to town.

How dominating have the Vikings been in league?

Their average margin of victory has been 26 points and they’ve allowed opponents an average of 31.

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