All-Empire large school boys basketball: Montgomery’s Raven caps decorated high school career

By MICHAEL COIT
THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

All-Empire large school boys basketball player of the year, Alec Raven of Montgomery (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

All-Empire large school boys basketball player of the year, Alec Raven of Montgomery (Christopher Chung / The Press Democrat)

Passing your coach on the all-time scoring list is a good thing considering Montgomery High’s basketball pedigree, a milestone in a memorable Vikings season.

Alec Raven was truly the best man on the court much of the season as Montgomery made a state playoff run after dominating Empire play. The post player with a guard game is The Press Democrat Large School Boys Basketball Player of the Year.

“I wanted to make a lasting impact on the program. This definitely was a special season for us,” Raven said.

A three-year starter, Raven grew from a tall, slender, back-to-the-basket player into an athletic wing scorer who could defend with the best inside and out.

After moving up to the varsity and helping Montgomery win the North Coast Section championship as a freshman, Raven led the Vikings three more seasons. Montgomery averaged 23 wins a year in Raven’s career, making the state playoffs three times.

“Great players are well rounded and have a complete game. Great players are responsible for the tone and effort of entire team,” said Montgomery coach Tom Fitchie. “Players with Alec’s skills are far and few between. Montgomery has been blessed with many very good players and Alec is near the top.”

The longtime Montgomery coach should know. Raven passed Fitchie for second on the school’s all-time scoring list with 1,439 — behind only Tyler Tiedeman’s 1,560.

Steadily improving his scoring average while remaining an unselfish player, Raven totaled 624 points this year — a school single-season record.

“That’s the whole key, you just have to get better,” Raven said. “I was a lead by example player. Practice hard, play to win.”

Raven stepped up to the challenge from his first season. While the Vikings would not win another section title, Raven helped continue Montgomery’s tradition as one of Northern California’s top boys prep programs.

Coming into this season, Raven had worked long and hard on ball handling and outside shooting to improve his game beyond the basket.

“Alec improved in all areas each year by hard work and a strong passion for the game,” Fitchie said. “Alec is a very good shooter inside and out, a strong rebounder, an excellent passer, strong ball handler — especially for his size — a great defensive player. He has a very high basketball IQ.”

Montgomery’s goals for Raven’s senior campaign matched the high standards of past seasons: Win a North Bay League title, seek a section championship, and make a state playoff run.

And the Vikings checked off each one.

“We always had a chance to win every game,” Raven said.

In a season filled with highlights, Raven singled out Montgomery’s lone league loss, falling to Casa Grande — at home, no less — as the catalyst to a strong stretch run.

“After that we had a really good run. I was proud of our team coming back from that loss,” Raven said.

Fitchie credited Raven with being at his best when the team needed him most. Raven rarely came out of a game, particularly after Vikings center Dakota Row went down with a season-ending injury.

“Alec got much stronger, which helped him play so many minutes this year,” Fitchie said. “Alec was a leader by his work ethic, his love for the game, his competitiveness, assertiveness and unselfishness.”

More of a playmaker this season, Raven made teammates better, in addition to inspiring with his effort.

“That was definitely a big jump for me,” he said. “You’ve got to play to win. You can’t be afraid to make mistakes.”

The years of hard work and a season of ever stronger performances came together in the state playoff quarterfinal at Junipero Serra.

Creating mismatches with his outside game, Raven scored early and often. Montgomery held a double-digit lead in the third quarter before Serra dug in for a comeback win. Raven led all scorers with 26 points.

“We played hard and smart together,” Raven said. “We were able to keep battling.”

Also a strong student, Raven has been accepted to Cal Poly, which plays NCAA Division I basketball. Raven expects to try out for the basketball team, having already attended camps and scrimmaging with the team. He recognizes much more strength and skills training is needed to have a chance of making the team.

“If I get my strength and quickness up it’s definitely doable,” he said.

Cal Poly was Raven’s top choice because he plans to major in agricultural business. Raven’s family owns Frostwatch Vineyard and Winery.

“It’s a really good school. I feel like I have to take advantage of that,” Raven said.

Michael Coit can be reached at Mike.Coit@pressdemocrat.com.

ALL-EMPIRE TEAM

PLAYER OF THE YEAR
Alec Raven, Montgomery, senior

FIRST TEAM
Connor Head, Cardinal Newman, senior
Cetrick Yeanay, Casa Grande, senior
AJ John, Maria Carrillo, senior
Kiel Long, Montgomery, senior
Malcolm Jenkins, Analy, junior

SECOND TEAM
Sam Averbuck, Montgomery, senior
Sadik Sufi, Windsor, senior
Connor Wright, Maria Carrillo, senior
Chance Ortega, Analy, junior
Joe Hoeup, Elsie Allen, junior

THIRD TEAM
Adrian Mata, Ukiah, senior
Noah Orlik, Montgomery, senior
Jon Christy, Casa Grande, junior
Keith Adams, Piner, junior
Louie Rampone, El Molino, senior

Comments are closed.