LOCAL BASKETBALL SEASON ENDS WITH CHAMPIONSHIP FRIDAY
It is the premiere local sporting event in the area. It is an annual event that comes close to packing SRJC, no matter what the matchup is. This year, you can make the case that the matchups for both the Boys and Girls, are the best this area has to offer.
The event is North Bay League Championship night and both games have the top two teams in the YSN365.com rankings.
The NBL doubleheader along with the Sonoma County League Post Season Championship game wraps up the local version of the 2014-15 High School Basketball season.
NBL BOYS POST SEASON TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 1 Cardinal Newman (25-2) vs. No. 2 Montgomery (18-9)
It only seems like these two teams play in this game every season.
It also only seems that one of these teams wins this tournament every year. Actually that is closer to the truth. Since 2002, each team has won five North Bay League Post Season Tournaments. The rest of the league has won a combined three.
The rivalry is so big there is an article dedicated to it in this year’s Montgomery program. It says that the first game between the teams was in 1970, and was a triple overtime game won by Montgomery.
If there was a High School Hall of Fame, both coaches would be in it. Cardinal Newman’s head coach Tom Bonfigli has won 698 games during a career that started in 1981. Tom Fitchie started his coaching career at Montgomery in 1984, and stands at 559.
The two teams each took a road win in the league games this year. The games didn’t have the dramatic last second finishes that this rivalry has spoiled us with over the years, so you could say they are overdue for one in this game.
Both teams went 12-2 in league play, so this game will decide who gets the automatic bid to the North Coast Section playoffs.
On a scale of 1-10, that honor rates about a two, since both teams will be in the North Coast Section playoffs and will be a very high seed in its Division. Montgomery is in Division 2, Cardinal Newman in Division 4.
The scale is higher for winning this game for bragging rights. You could make the case that this is bigger than anything that will happen in the NCS playoffs.
NBL GIRLS POST SEASON TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP
No. 1 Cardinal Newman (22-5) vs. No. 2 Santa Rosa (20-7)
This game has grown into, if not the best rivalry in the Girls World in this area, it is right up there, and it has happened fairly quickly. The rivalry started last year when the teams tied for the NBL regular season crown, with the only league loss being to each other. Cardinal Newman won the rubber match in this game 47-42.
This game is between No. 1 and No. 2 in the YSN365.com rankings and the top two teams in the NBL, and they have had that position all season. Still with how Cardinal Newman has dominated the league, which includes two wins over Santa Rosa, it is hard to hype the game.
Cardinal Newman’s last loss was on December 29th, 52-43 to Brea Olinda that ended a disappointing tournament in the West Coast Jamboree, a tournament in which they lost all three games. That dropped the season record to 6-5.
The tough tournament didn’t cost them No. 1 in the YSN365.com rankings and since then, they haven’t come close to losing that spot, or losing period. They have won sixteen straight, with all but two of the games decided by at least twenty points. The two that weren’t were decided by 19.
If it wasn’t for Cardinal Newman, we would be talking about how good this Santa Rosa team is. The only league losses were to Cardinal Newman. The twelve league wins were by over twenty points a game. Only the last league win, a 49-42 decision over Montgomery, wasn’t by double figures. They followed that up with a 54-49 win over Windsor in the first round of the NBL Post Season Tournament.
It is the third straight season that Santa Rosa has reached the twenty win mark.
Both teams look like they will be hosting at least one game in the NCS playoffs. Santa Rosa is in Division 1 and Cardinal Newman is in Division 4.
SCL POST SEASON TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
No. 5 Piner (19-6) at No. 3 Elsie Allen (22-5)
This game deserves better than being played on the same night as the NBL Championship night.
Elsie Allen has made sure they will have a new record book with the season this basketball team is having. They can add one more page with a win, which would give them their first post season tournament championship ever. The Lobos will try to add to a school record twelve game winning streak. The loss before the winning streak was on January 9th to Piner 49-43, which was their only SCL loss.
A win for Piner will give them a twenty win season for the first time since 2008. They have won nine of ten; the only loss was the second game against Elsie Allen. They lost one other league game on January 12th to Analy 59-57. Since then they have beaten Analy twice, including on Wednesday night in the first round of this tournament 60-52.
If you think Elsie Allen has the advantage of playing this game at home, something they earned by winning the regular season championship, that isn’t how this series has gone. Over the past two seasons each team has won two games each, the visiting team winning each game.
By the way, it is mentioned above in the North Bay League Boys Championship preview that Cardinal Newman and Montgomery have won ten of the last thirteen NBL Post Season Tournament championships. Piner won two of the other three.
Both teams will be in the North Coast Section Division 3 playoffs.
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