Things are getting interesting in the North Bay League boys basketball standings.
In two midseason NBL classics on Saturday night, visiting Cardinal Newman hung on for a 45-42 win against Windsor to force a three-way tie for the league lead between the Cardinals, Jaguars and Montgomery, which defeated host Maria Carrillo 49-47.
The smaller but deeper Cardinals (5-1, 15-3) used grit on the boards to stay even with the taller Jaguars (5-1, 13-5) and it paid off. Windsor never held a lead, although the game was tied several times late in the fourth quarter. Cardinal Newman led 21-13 at halftime.
“We were totally overmatched size-wise. The story of the game was how well we played defensively and how we rebounded. ... Our front line did a great job on the backboards,” Cardinal Newman coach Tom Bonfigli said. “It was a hostile packed house and a great basketball game. Both teams played exceptional.”
Windsor’s Riley Smith had a dominant performance in a losing effort, cashing in 28 points and nine rebounds. He hit three three-pointers.
“Riley was on fire,” Bonfigli said. “He is (6-foot-7 inches) and shooting 28-foot shots. How are you going to stop him?”
Cardinal Newman was led by Brad Morato with 16 points.
Windsor tied the game 37-37 with a few minutes left in the fourth, but down the stretch Riley Smith had two buckets disallowed on controversial calls against him that took points off the board. The Cardinals converted free throws (7-8) in the fourth quarter when they really needed them.
The Jaguars heaved a half-court shot with 0:04 to play in a desperate attempt to tie, but the shot did not connect.
“It was a back-and-fourth game,” Windsor coach Travis Taylor said. “There were some tough calls that went against us, but that’s basketball. This was a great high school basketball game; give both teams credit.”
Added Bonfigli: “It was a great win for us and my hat’s off to Windsor.”
Montgomery 49, Maria Carrillo 47
The visiting Vikings’ (5-1, 13-4) win against the Pumas (3-3, 9-9) moves Montgomery into a three-way tie for first place in the NBL while Maria Carrillo remains in fourth place.
Vikings big man Evan Poulsen had 24 points and six rebounds and the Pumas had no remedies to slow him down, especially in the second half.
“We had trouble stopping Poulsen in the high post. We had a hard time in our help defense,” Maria Carrillo coach Will Parker said. “Montgomery attacked the paint and tonight their inside game was working.”
Maria Carrillo led 25-20 at halftime and outhustled the Vikings, according to Montgomery coach Zac Tiedeman.
“Maria was playing harder than us the whole first half. We didn’t make any big adjustments for the second half; we just matched their effort,” Tiedeman said. “We showed character in the second half. After getting outworked in the first half, our guys responded.”
Outside shooting favored the Pumas, who converted 4-12 from beyond the three-point arc while the Vikings were only 1-13.
“We did not shoot the ball well tonight,” Tiedeman said.
Maria Carrillo was led by Jared Garcia (13 points, five assists) and Jack Balestrieri (10 points, six rebounds).