Rematch: Woodcreek and Antelope to meet in NorCal Division II semifinals
SANTA ROSA – Devin Murphy, Derrick Kimball and all of their Woodcreek High School basketball teammates had just exchanged postgame handshakes after knocking off second-seeded Santa Rosa-Montgomery 58-52 on Thursday night when they heard another final score from the announcer:
Antelope 51, Chico 48.
Murphy clapped his hands, smiled and barked, “Yes!” His teammates applauded, and they happily skipped off to their locker room.
The Roseville Joint Union High School District teams will meet again, and the stakes are even higher this time: a berth in the CIF Northern California Regional Division II championship game.
Eleven days after Antelope came back from a huge early deficit to edge Woodcreek 62-61 in the Sac-Joaquin Section Division II semifinals at ARCO Arena, the seventh-seeded Titans (27-6) and 10th-seeded Timberwolves (27-5) will clash in a smaller but potentially more raucous venue – at 7 p.m. Saturday at Antelope.
“We owe them one,” Kimball said of Antelope. “They snuck one away from us. Gotta pay ’em back.”
Kimball and sophomore Tyler Milani each had four of Woodcreek’s 15 assists against Montgomery (28-3), the North Coast Section champion. Murphy and John Peska led the Timberwolves with 18 points each. Murphy said he prefers Antelope’s gym over ARCO.
“Getting them back at their home place would be the best thing,” he said after grabbing a team-high nine rebounds and collecting four steals. “That would make our season.”
Woodcreek had an overall size advantage on the host Vikings, but the biggest man on the floor wore Montgomery red: 6-foot-9 Ben Freeland. But the senior center was whistled for his second foul midway through the first quarter, and he spent the rest of the first half on the bench.
The Timberwolves took advantage behind Murphy, who scored eight points in the second period, including a rebound and coast-to-coast sprint for a layup, and a controlled tip-in for a 27-22 halftime lead.
Murphy had back-to-back steals to start the third period, resulting in his basket and then a three-pointer by Peska off a feed from Milani that gave Woodcreek a 32-22 lead. Milani and Jamie Geyer each made two three-pointers and scored 10 points, and Woodcreek was 5 for 5 from three-point range in the third quarter.
“I would just get in the middle of the lane and look for our shooters, and they were making them,” Murphy said.
“That’s a tough matchup. We have four kids that can shoot the three, and when you have that many shooters, it’s really difficult to do,” Woodcreek coach Paul Hayes said. “And then when you have Devin, who penetrates and looks to kick, it’s a tough matchup.”
The Timberwolves built their lead to 40-28 on back-to-back three-pointers by Milani and Geyer, but the Vikings stormed back and closed to 43-38 on three-pointers by senior captains Alec Kobre and Zack Templeton. Kobre made four three-pointers and scored a game-high 20 points. Templeton hit two three-pointers and had 10 points and a game-high six assists. Freeland had 12 points on 6-of-7 shooting and nine rebounds.
“They’re tremendous shooters, too. That 24 (Kobre), that three at the end that made it close, I was like, Jamie can’t play any better D on that kid. That’s clutch,” Hayes said. “Then the other kid, number 5 (Templeton), he got separation and had a couple long threes. And then they pulled the lefty off the bench (junior Brian Fuller) and he canned a three like he does it in his sleep.”
Four free throws by Peska in the final minute helped the Timberwolves hang on. After Antelope’s result was announced, their focus shifted from Montgomery’s Red Sea to Antelope’s Red Zone.
Hayes remembers the Titans well – specifically, junior Jarvis Watkins and “the big kid, 42 (John Winters).” Watkins scored 20 points in Antelope’s win over Woodcreek, and Winters had 13 points, nine rebounds and two blocked shots.
“I don’t care whether they've had only one senior class. They’re tremendous athletes,” Hayes said. “Watkins is as good an athlete as we’ve played this year – in the SFL, in any game I’ve played this year. And the big kid, 42, he’s tough. He’s a handful. When you’re 6-4 and athletic … so Antelope is a formidable opponent, as they’ve shown.”
Contact Bill Poindexter at email@example.com.
Woodcreek 58, Santa Rosa-Montgomery 52
Geyer 4-8 0-0 10, Milani 4-13 0-2 10, Summers 1-3 0-2 2, Peska 6-11 4-6 18, Murphy 7-18 4-5 18, Fearman 0-0 0-0 0, Kimball 0-0 0-0 0, Morse 0-0 0-0 0, Haakenson 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 21-54 8-15 58.
Kobre 7-15 2-2 20, Nimtz 2-2 0-0 4, Freeland 6-7 0-0 12, Mendoza 1-7 1-4 3, Templeton 2-10 4-6 10, Costa 0-0 0-0 0, Becker 0-1 0-0 0, Kelly 0-1 0-0 0, Fuller 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 19-46 7-12 52.
Woodcreek 13 14 19 12 – 58
Montgomery 13 9 16 14 – 52
Three-point goals – Woodcreek 6-12 (Geyer 2-3, Milani 2-3, Peska 2-3, Murphy 0-3), Montgomery 7-22 (Kobre 4-9, Templeton 2-7, Mendoza 0-2, Fuller 1-2, Becker 0-1, Kelly 0-1). Total fouls – Woodcreek 13, Montgomery 17. Fouled out – Nimtz. Rebounds – Woodcreek 27 (Murphy 9), Montgomery 24 (Freeland 9). Assists – Woodcreek 15 (Milani, Kimball 4), Montgomery 10 (Templeton 6). Turnovers – Woodcreek 9, Montgomery 14.