High school boys basketball roundup: Cardinal Newman dominates Montgomery

Cardinal Newman's Gunnar Walker and Montgomery's Joel Seitz reach for the rebound during the game held at Montgomery High School, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

Cardinal Newman’s Gunnar Walker and Montgomery’s Joel Seitz reach for the rebound during the game held at Montgomery High School, Wednesday, Jan. 7, 2015. (Crista Jeremiason / The Press Democrat)

By HOWARD SENZELL

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Before a standing-room- only crowd at the Viking Dome Wednesday night, undefeated Cardinal Newman and forward Connor Rubattino proved two things.

The Cardinals are the best team in the North Bay League, and Rubattino is the top player in the Redwood Empire.
The junior scored 28 points as Newman opened league play with a 55-35 victory over Montgomery.

Rubattino hit a 3-pointer to give the Cardinals the lead in the opening minute and they led all the way. The 6-foot-3 junior scored 10 of his team’s 12 points in the first quarter.

In the second half, the lead remained double digits except for a brief period in the fourth. The Vikings closed the gap to 39-31 on a Jack Fitchie layup with 5:20 remaining. However, a 10-0 run put the Cardinals back in control. Rubattino’s two treys and baskets by Chad Sousa and Damian Wallace came during the uprising.

Montgomery was once again without point guard Michael Septimo. He injured his knee on Dec. 26 and the Vikings have lost six consecutive games since then.

“We just need to find ways to score,” coach Tom Fitchie said. “Septimo does so much for us. It’s not for lack of effort. The kids have never stopped trying.” Septimo could miss another month.

(See more photos of the game)

Erik Poulsen led the Vikings’ attack with 12 points. The 6-foot-11 senior was double-teamed every time he got the ball in the post.

“We felt we could collapse on Poulsen and we did a good job of that,” Newman coach Tom Bonfigli said. “Our big man Gunnar Walker did a great job. He also had seven rebounds.”

The low point for the Vikings came in the third quarter when they scored only four points.

“Montgomery had a tough time creating shots the entire game and that was especially true in the third quarter,” Bonfigli said. “Jamon Roberts and Conor McCarthy gave us great minutes off the bench in the period.

“Overall, we played with a lot of poise. We went into an opposing gym that was packed and did what we came to do. This game was a major test for us.”

It was the first time since 2009 that a Newman team had won at Montgomery.

Supporting Rubattino on the offensive end were James Ryan with 10 points, while Damian Wallace finished with nine.

CASA GRANDE 61, SANTA ROSA 37

At Petaluma, Jon Christy and J.J. Anderson both finished with double-doubles.

Christy had a game-high 16 points and 10 rebounds while J.J. Anderson finished with 13 points and 11 boards.

The Gauchos led 19-10 early and stretched it to 32-17 at halftime.

“We were clicking,” coach James Forni said. “We did a good job of taking care of the ball.

“We played a tough pre-league schedule in hopes that it would prepare us for NBL. I felt we were ready.”

Casa won its final two pre-league games, defeating Mills and Novato. The Gauchos are 7-6.

Michael Ahnberg was the only Santa Rosa player in double figures. He finished with 14. The Panthers are 5-6.

MARIA CARRILLO 69, RANCHO COTATE 44

At Rohnert Park, Clayton Andrews went on a 36-point scoring spree to lead the Pumas.

The game was closer than the final score looks. Carrillo led by just five with two minutes left in the third quarter. The Pumas outscored the Cougars, 25-11, in the fourth.

Dimitri Morton was high-point man for Rancho with 12 points. He also had five rebounds and three steals. Gunner Mefford finished with 10 boards and six assists.

The teams went to the free-throw line a combined 47 times. Carrillo made 18 of 27 and the Cougars converted 14 of 20.

WINDSOR 45, UKIAH 42

At Windsor, Gabe Knight led the Jaguars with 24 points and nine rebounds while Parker Canady had nine points and 10 boards.

The third quarter was the crucial period as Windsor outscored the visitors 15-4. The Wildcats led 22-19 at halftime.

“We played great defense in the third,” coach Travis Taylor said. “Cain Santos and Zack McDowell came off the bench and played with great energy. We don’t win the game without them.”