Montgomery boys eliminated from NCS semis in OT

Montgomery's Kiel Long (32) goes in for a layup and draws a foul from Concord's Jamil Lea (30) during their NCS semifinal on March 5, 2014. (Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

Montgomery’s Kiel Long (32) goes in for a layup and draws a foul from Concord’s Jamil Lea (30) during their NCS semifinal on March 5, 2014.
(Alvin Jornada / The Press Democrat)

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Fast starts and a strong finish carried Concord past Montgomery in overtime Wednesday night, helping the Minutemen beat the host Vikings at their own disciplined, defensive focused game.

Montgomery played from behind deep into the third quarter before taking the lead. Another opening spurt by the Minutemen in the fourth quarter was matched by the Vikings late to force an extra period. Concord scored the first pair of baskets and never yielded the advantage for the 54-49 win.

See photos from the game here

“We just came out to play hard defensively and get early scores,” said Siaan Rojas, who led Concord with 22 points. “We want to run a lot. But we knew they would be tough.”

Losing at home in the playoffs was difficult for top seed Montgomery. The result likely is a road game in next week’s NorCal playoffs. Yet the Vikings did not hang their heads, finding little to fault in their effort.

“We left it all on the court. The game went to overtime. It’s not like we got blown out,” said Kiel Long, topping the Vikings with 14 points.

“We’re not close to being done.”

Montgomery picked up the pace at both ends of the court after falling behind early and forged a tie going into the second quarter.

Getting back quicker on defense helped Montgomery slow Concord’s pushes with the ball.

Shots stopped falling as both teams worked hard to contest every open space, pass, shot and rebound. The halftime score — 23-20 Concord — reflected competitive more than ugly play.

The one period in which Montgomery scored first helped carry the Vikings to their first lead. With a little over four minutes left in the third quarter, Long snagged a steal and fed Noah Orlik for a fast-break basket.

Montgomery later took a three-point lead with Alec Raven hitting the final pair of shots to close the quarter.

“Coach wanted us to be patient and work the clock. We worked the game to our pace,” Long said.

Both teams were best when making the extra pass or two for scores around the basket.

Getting inside in the final period, Concord rallied to regain the lead. The final basket by Rojas gave the Minutemen a three-point advantage.

Then the Vikings’ sharpshooter Sam Averbuck hit his lone 3-pointer for the tie that stood up following a furious final 90 seconds of regulation.

“Montgomery was a well deserving one seed. Our kids played hard,” said Concord coach Ted McDavitt.

A drive by Long for two points and a free throw pulled Montgomery within a point after Concord went up by four to open overtime. The Vikings could get no closer, though, as the Minutemen answered with three straight clutch, well-contested shots.

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