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Intense pressure stifles Army-Navy offense

03/12/2013, 11:10pm PDT
By Nathan Max

"They never really let us get into things," says Warriors coach Tom Tarantino.

Junior guard Devin Watson did everything he could, but eventually he and his Army-Navy teammates just couldn’t keep pace with the speed, agility and pressure of Torrance Bishop Montgomery.

Watson scored a game-high 30 points, but the Warriors fell 75-56 to the Knights in a Southern California Regional Division IV semifinal Tuesday night at Oceanside High.

Watson shot 10-of-23 from the field and grabbed six rebounds for San Diego Section champion Army-Navy, which had its 15-game winning streak snapped and finished the season 29-5. Senior center Cheikh N’diaye added 10 points and grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

The Warriors cracked against Southern Section Bishop Montgomery’s smothering defensive pressure, and the Knights’ frenetic up-tempo offense.

Bishop Montgomery junior guard Justin Bibbins scored a team-high 24 points, sophomore guard Stephen Thompson added 23 points, and senior guard Larry Taylor III had 10 points for the Knights (32-1), who were playing without two suspended starters.

“We certainly came to compete,” Army-Navy coach Tom Tarantino said. “We were rattled by how athletic they were. They were just so quick that they never really let us get into things. Really, it was a tribute how hard they defended.”

In a game that was closer than the final score indicated, Bishop Montgomery sprinted to an 11-1 lead before Army-Navy used a 10-0 run to quickly tie it. The Knights pushed their advantage back to 10 after scoring five points in the final three seconds of the second quarter to take a 37-27 halftime lead.

Army-Navy closed within 43-41 with less than three minutes remaining in the third quarter before Bishop Montgomery went on a 14-2 run to break it open.

“I don’t think there’s a team much quicker in the country than them,” Tarantino said. “They were more comfortable in that intense environment than we were.”

Elsewhere

Girls Open Division: Visiting La Jolla Country Day suffered a 52-46 setback to top-seeded L.A. Windward.

Boys Division II: Hoover dropped a 60-52 decision to host Redondo Union.

Girls Division II: Lynwood dominated visiting La Costa Canyon 67-39.

Boys Division V: Horizon advanced to the regional final with a 69-65 win over L.A. View Park.

Girls Division V: Horizon defeated Calimesa Mesa Grande 70-40.

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