Montgomery boys earn No. 1 seed in Division 2

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Montgomery's Noah Orlik (11) drives to the basket while defended by Casa Grande's Cetrick Yeanay (3) during a game on Feb. 14. (Photo by Alvin Jornada, The Press Democrat)

Montgomery’s Noah Orlik (11) drives to the basket while defended by Casa Grande’s Cetrick Yeanay (3) during a game on Feb. 14. (Photo by Alvin Jornada, The Press Democrat)

Leading the Empire boys basketball teams into the North Coast Section playoffs are top-seeded Montgomery and small-school upstart Roseland University Prep.

The North Bay League sends six teams into the playoffs with four gaining home games. Led by Analy, the top three Sonoma County League squads made sections.

Montgomery is the top seed in Division 2, looking to win a section title as the Vikings did two years ago, also as the No. 1.

“It’s a strong division. Hopefully we can do it again,” said Montgomery coach Tom Fitchie.

With four returning starters and a stout defense, Montgomery will need to be at their best to unseat two-time defending section champion Newark Memorial.

A strong preseason schedule and the deep, competitive North Bay League should set up Montgomery for section play.

Also getting opening games at home from the NBL are Maria Carrillo and Casa Grande in Division 2 and Cardinal Newman in Division 4. Ukiah and Windsor also made the section playoffs.

The Sonoma County League did well to send its top three teams to the playoffs.

League and SCL tournament champion Analy is seeded No. 11, though the Tigers do get a first-round home game. Piner is back and Elsie Allen ends a three-year section playoff drought.

“The boys are ready to go into playoffs,” said Analy coach Brett Page. “We hoped Elsie Allen would make it as we want to change the perception that the SCL is weak.”

The toughest boys bracket could be Division 4. Cardinal Newman snagged the Empire’s highest seed at seven. Win and the Cardinals likely get No. 2 El Cerrito.

A great season for Willits, including a school-record win total in taking the NCL I, gets even more challenging in Division 4.

“That is a powerhouse division,” said Willits coach Duane Nelson.

A goal for Willits going into the season was to win a section playoff game. The last NCL I team to win in section play was Lower Lake in 2002.

Seeded ninth, Willits must travel to Roseland University Prep, the eighth seed. Roseland Prep, champions of the NCL II, edged Willits earlier in the season in the St. Helena tournament final.

“The kids are really excited to be in the playoffs. It should be a good game with Willits,” said Roseland Prep coach Luis Escobar. “I think that’s a good season if we can get a home game in our first season in Division 4.”

Also out of the NCL II is Rincon Valley Christian, seeded second in Division 6, which the Eagles won last season. Archbishop Hanna is fourth after a strong campaign in the Small School Bridge League.

What the teams large and small share is a focus on playing best when games mean the most.

“You’ve got to come ready to play,” Fitchie said.

You can reach Staff Writer Michael Coit at 521-5470 or mike.coit@pressdemocrat.com.

BOYS

All games involving area teams:

DIVISION 2

Tuesday

16 Arroyo (12-14) at 1 Montgomery (23-5), 7 p.m.

9 Redwood (15-13) at 8 Casa Grande (14-12), 6:30 p.m.

15 Windsor (13-13) at 2 Newark Memorial (19-7), 7 p.m.

10 Clayton Valley Charter (16-10) at 7 Maria Carrillo (19-9), 7 p.m.

11 Ukiah (16-11) at 6 Dublin (13-12), 6:30 p.m.

DIVISION 3

Tuesday

16 Elsie Allen (18-9) at 1 Bishop O’Dowd (22-4), 7 p.m.

15 Piner (17-10) at 2 El Cerrito (25-3), 7 p.m.

6 Miramonte (15-11) at 11 Analy (20-8), 6:30 p.m.

DIVISION 4

Wednesday

9 Willits (24-2) at 8 Roseland Prep (22-7), 7 p.m.

13 Middletown (15-9) at 4 St. Mary’s (18-10), 6:30 p.m.

12 Cloverdale (16-9) at 5 Fortuna (23-2), 7 p.m.

10 Lick Wilmerding (13-13) at 7 Cardinal. Newman (16-11), 6:30 p.m.

14 Clear Lake (17-9) at 3 Salesian (17-13), 6:30 p.m.

DIVISION 5

Wednesday

12 St. Vincent (13-14) at 5 Bentley Upper (21-6), 7 p.m.

DIVISION 6

Wednesday

9 Tomales (13-8) at 8 Point Arena (17-7), 7 p.m.

13 Laytonville (9-14) at 4 Archbishop Hanna (22-4), 7 p.m.

12 Mendocino (13-13) at 5 Ferndale (8-17), 7 p.m.

15 San Francisco Waldorf (6-14) at 2 Rincon Valley Christian (21-8), 8 p.m.

10 Summerfield Waldorf (13-12) at 7 St. Elizabeth (15-13), 7 p.m.

11 Anderson Valley (12-11) at 6 El Sobrante Christian (18-6), 7 p.m.

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