Montgomery boys win NBL Tournament title

Montgomery's Kiel Long (32) makes a layup during the NBL boys basketball tournament championship game against Maria Carrillo on Feb. 22, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Montgomery’s Kiel Long (32) makes a layup during the NBL boys basketball tournament championship game against Maria Carrillo on Feb. 22, 2014.
(Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL
FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

The Montgomery boys basketball team put on a second-half surge to defeat Maria Carrillo, 56-45, winning the North Bay League Tournament championship before a packed house Saturday night at Santa Rosa Junior College’s Haehl Pavilion.

A turning point in the game came late in the second quarter when A.J. John, who usually is the Pumas’ top scorer, picked up his fourth foul.

At that point, Carrillo was leading 25-21. Montgomery ended the half on a 6-2 run and the teams went to the locker room with the score tied at 27.

With the big man on the bench, the Vikings took advantage on offense and time-after-time got the ball into the paint for easy baskets.

The Vikings grabbed the lead for good, 33-32, on an Alec Raven layup. They stretched the advantage to 44-38 by the end of the third quarter.

Carrillo would cut the lead to four in the opening minute of the fourth period, but could get no closer.

“We played hard and played well,” Vikings coach Tom Fitchie said. “It was a playoff atmosphere with the big crowd and on a neutral floor. We took advantage when their big man got in foul trouble and played smart.”

Raven was the game’s top scorer with 20 points. The senior had 12 after halftime. Teammate Kiel Long finished with 10 points, seven rebounds and six assists.

Connor Wright had 11 for Carrillo, one more than Clayton Andrews. John did not score.

Pumas coach Will Parker was philosophical about the loss.

“Sometimes when you lose, you don’t play well,” he said.

“That wasn’t the case in this game,” Parker added. “We did a lot of good things that will have us ready for the NCS Tournament.”

Carrillo’s record is now 19-9, while Montgomery improved to 22-5.

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