Boys basketball: Montgomery defeats Casa Grande

Casa Grande's Cetrick Yeanay (3) protects the ball from Montgomery's Michael Septimo (12) on Feb. 14, 2014.  (ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat)

Casa Grande’s Cetrick Yeanay (3) protects the ball from Montgomery’s Michael Septimo (12) on Feb. 14, 2014.
(ALVIN JORNADA / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

PETALUMA — Montgomery came to town Friday night looking for payback and the Vikings got it as they defeated Casa Grande 73-58 in front of a packed house.

Casa is the only team in the North Bay League with a win over Montgomery (60-50 on Jan. 27) and on the final night of the regular season, the Vikings finally got an opportunity to even the score.

[RELATED: Montgomery vs. Casa Grande boys basketball photo gallery]

This time around, Montgomery only trailed once.

That was at 23-22 midway through the second quarter.

The advantage was short-lived as Sam Averbuck responded with a 3-pointer and the Vikings finished the period on an 14-2 run.

Averbuck drained another trey, Alec Raven scored six and Noah Orlik had a basket.

After trailing 36-25 at intermission, the Gauchos narrowed the lead to six several times in the second half but could get no closer.

Montgomery had clinched league earlier in the week and will have home-court advantage in the NBL tournament next week.

“Every player on the team remembers how horrible it felt after losing to Casa on our court,” senior forward Kiel Long said. “We wanted to go undefeated in league.

“It was quiet in the locker room and coach (Tom) Fitchie said, ‘Remember this feeling and how you don’t want to feel this way again.’”

After Friday’s game, there was laughter and smiles in the locker room.

The Vikings played better defense than the first time around and put 23 more points on the scoreboard.

Raven led the offense with 26 points while Averbuck contributed 18. Rylan Kobre had 11 and Long and Orlik finished with nine each.

The Vikings lacked intensity in the first meeting but were focused from the start on Friday.

“Our zone defense was better,” Long said. “It was a little slow last time. Also, Averbuck and Kobre were hitting their outside shots and that kept the Casa defense from sagging toward the basket.”

In the first meeting, the Gauchos’ Jon Christy and Will Crain did damage on the offensive end.

This time, the big men were held in check as 6-foot-7 Christy was held to seven points and the 6-5 Crain, who had 14 in the first meeting, didn’t score.

The 73 points were the third highest total of the season for Montgomery. The Vikings had scored 76 twice (against Bethel and Rancho Cotate).

“It’s good to see us scoring more points as we head into the postseason,” Fitchie said. “We’re still taking as many 3s as we usually do, but we’re making more.”

Montgomery connected on 7 of 15 from behind the arc. Averbuck had four of those.

The last week of the regular season was a grueling one for the Vikings. On Monday, they beat Cardinal Newman and two days later handled Maria Carrillo.

Cetrick Yeanay led the Casa offense with 25. Jack Micco also had a solid game and scored 15.

“We made too many mistakes,” Gauchos coach James Forni said. “We missed assignments that led to Montgomery baskets and didn’t always run our offense the right way.

“Of course, Montgomery was responsible for a lot of our problems. They’re a good team.”

Casa finishes the regular season 14-12 overall and 7-7 in league.

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