Montini earns overtime win at Providence
There was a lot of energy in the air, especially down the stretch of regulation and in overtime, but Montini's Kai Matthew Evans and his teammates managed to stay just calm enough when it mattered most and pulled out a thrilling overtime road win in the process.
In a Chicago Catholic League battle Friday night in New Lenox, both the Broncos and Providence Catholic hit big shot after big shot. At times each team had to believe it would end up on top. But in the end, a young Montini squad used a 3-pointer from Julian Gatewood to send the game into overtime at 56-56, and from there Evans and fellow sophomore A.J. Ashford led the way to a 75-71 victory.
"All we wanted to do was pick up our energy," said Evans of his team's lackluster first half, which saw the Celtics take a 27-21 lead into the break. "We knew if we picked up our energy we'd start scoring more and we'd get some stops. We know we have a lot of players who can score, we just needed to pick up our energy some and get the defense going."
Evans, who finished with a game-high 25 points, tallied just 3 points over the first two quarters. He busted out for 11 points as his team scored 24 points in the third quarter, surpassing the team's first-half total. Ashford and Gatewood added 3-pointers in the big outburst that had the visitors on top 45-43 after three quarters.
But a Providence team with four players scoring in double figures did not go away. The Celtics actually looked primed for a win after Adam Taylor split a pair of free throws for a 56-53 lead. But that just set the stage for Gatewood's heroics, and after he took a kick-out pass from Luke Morrill and buried a 3 with nine seconds left, the game was headed to an extra session. There Evans, Morril and Ashford shined.
"We've got a lot of young guys on the team and we just wanted a chance (at overtime)," said Evans, who converted several spinning layups to the rim. "Julian hit such a big shot and then we just wanted to finish it off from there."
Broncos coach Bob Lozano was happy to escape the road contest with his team's second CCL win of the year. Montini improved to 8-15 on the season.
"We're young and the CCL is no joke," Lozano said. "It's all about intensity. When it's there, we're never out of a game. But Providence is tough. They've got shooters and they run their sets well. Any time you can get a win on the road in the CCL you'll take it."
Morrill, who scored 10 of his team's 13 points in the opening quarter, finished with 18 points, including a pair of free throws late in overtime to seal the victory. Gatewood, the hero at the end of regulation, ended his night with 16 points and 4 steals.
Taylor kept the Celtics' hopes alive with a pair of 3s in overtime and tallied 22 points on the night, while Joe Alfirevich added 18 for Providence, which fell to 7-16, 3-8.