Casa Grande High School’s boys basketball team was furiously closing the gap between itself and Montgomery’s free-wheeling Vikings when the Gauchos suddenly blew all four wheels simultaneously.
Playing in its home gym Friday night, Casa had pulled to within four points (33-29) of the title-contending Vikings midway through the third period, when its express suddenly halted. Montgomery zapped off 16 straight points, and went on to a 63-46 victory.
Casa Grande coach Jake Lee was at a loss to explain the collapse.
“They seemed to call the right play at the right times, and they got some good looks at the basket,” he said.
It didn’t help that the Gauchos, who had handled the ball well up to that point, committed four turnovers during the Viking splurge.
The contest was a game of bombs. Montgomery hit on 11 3-point shots, while Casa Grande canned nine from beyond the arc.
Harvey Rouleau fired at will from long distance, and seven of his array of big bombs found the mark to account for his 21 points. Many of his hits came off passes from Evan Paulson, who finished with 12 points, nine rebounds and five assists despite spending extended time on the bench as Montgomery coach Zac Tiedemann continually rotated Vikings on and off the court.
Casa Grande received scoring from a number of sources, led by Garrett Siebels, who finished with 13. Isaiah Cappelen and Scott Nave scored eight apiece, Josh Jovick and Tony Sabella six each and Ian Cerruti five.
Montgomery’s bombing started early, with the Vikings connecting on three distance shots in the opening quarter for a 17-9 lead.
Far from intimidated, the Gauchos went on a 10-point run paced by Siebels’ two treys to move to within 20-19.
Then, as quickly as the sprint started, it stopped. Casa failed to connect from the floor for the rest of the half and Montgomery widened its gap back to nine (30-21) by the half.
With Cerruti, Sabella and Jovick all contributing baskets, Casa Grande opened the second half with a roar, but then flamed out and Montgomery romped to its ninth league win in 10 games. Overall the Vikings are 17-4. Casa Grande is now 2-8 in league and 6-16 overall.