High school boys basketball roundup: Cardinals, Vikings reach NBL finals

By HOWARD SENZELL

FOR THE PRESS DEMOCRAT

Cardinal Newman and Montgomery both won opening-round games in the NBL tournament Wednesday night, with the Vikings having a much easier time than the Cardinals.

The schools shared the regular season title and, fittingly, will play for the tourney crown Friday night at SRJC.

Montgomery got to the championship game by defeating Casa Grande, 49-36, while Newman had to go overtime to edge Windsor, 63-62.

Newman was on the ropes in the fourth quarter and trailed by five with four minutes remaining. James Ryan’s layup in the waning seconds made it 50-50 and sent the game to overtime.

Windsor opened a five-point lead in the extra period but then succumbed to an 8-0 run by Newman. It was 63-59 in the final seconds when Windsor’s Brent Tucker connected on a 3-point shot.

The Cardinals were deadly from the free-throw line, making 8 of 10 in overtime and 9 of 9 in the fourth quarter.

“People aren’t going to see a better high school game than this one,” Newman coach Tom Bonfigli said. “It was amazing. Both teams played at an exceptional level and there were so many twists and turns.”

The victory was career win No. 698 for Bonfigli.

Ryan and Connor Rubattino each had 15 points for the Cardinals. Damian Wallace came off the bench to tally 14 and Justin Botteri finished with nine.

For Windsor, Gabe Knight led the way with 19 points. Parker Canady had 15, while Brent Tucker scored all 13 of his points after intermission.

It was the fourth meeting of the season between the schools, with Newman holding a 3-1 edge.

The Cardinals are 25-2, while Windsor is 15-11.

Montgomery advanced to the finals on the strength of its defense. Casa only got to double figures in the third quarter, when the Gauchos scored 12.

“We played great defense every quarter,” Vikings coach Tom Fitchie said. “We’re getting better and we can do even better. I felt we were efficient.”

Montgomery held a 10-6 advantage after one quarter and upped the margin to 22-15 at halftime.

Jack Fitchie led the offense with 14 points, including four treys. Erik Poulsen scored 12, one more than point guard Michael Septimo.

Will Crain was Casa’s top scorer with 14 points. Jon Christy had 11.

Montgomery, a winner of nine in a row, improved to 18-9. The Gauchos are 17-10.

PINER 60, ANALY 52

At Santa Rosa, the Prospectors advanced to the finals of the SCL tournament. They’ll play Elsie Allen for the title Friday night.

Piner scored the game’s first 15 points. However, Analy regrouped to tie the score in the third quarter before the Prospectors pulled away again.

“We made enough plays in the fourth quarter to get the job done,” coach Mike Erickson said.

Piner’s Keith Adams led all scorers with 23 points, including 13 in the first quarter. Teammate Adam Kuzmicki finished with 12 points, while Levi Lloyd had 10.

Malcom Jenkins (16 points) and Chance Ortega (15) were Analy’s leading scorers.

Piner’s record is 19-6, while Analy is 12-15.