NORTH RIDGEVILLE - It took two overtimes and a most unlikely hero for North Ridgeville to win its West Shore Conference opener Friday night against a tough Rocky River team, 72-64.
Freshman guard Danny Montgomery was the unlikely hero for the Rangers. He only finished with eight points, but six came on two crucial 3-pointers.
The first sent the game into overtime. The second sent the game into double overtime.
"We drew up the play during the timeout," North Ridgeville coach Bill Noggle said of Montgomery`s first 3-pointer. "There were three options to shoot a
3-pointer and Danny was Option 1."
Montgomery brought the Rangers faithful to their feet as he swished the three with two seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 51.
He repeated the feat with the same amount of time on the clock in a most improbable way at the end of the first overtime.
Trapped on the right side of the arc, Montgomery spun around and threw the ball in the direction of the basket. It hit off the backboard and into the basket for a tie at 58 and a second overtime.
This time the Rangers didn`t need any last-second heroics, going on a 14-6 run to ice the game.
Montgomery had a hard time expressing just how it felt to be a hero.
"It was a good team win and I just did what I could do to help the team," he said.
The Rangers looked like they had the game under control through the first three quarters as they held leads of 16-11 after the first quarter and 31-18 at halftime.
The Pirates fought back in the third, cutting the lead to 37-34 heading into the final period. Then they started hitting, draining five 3-pointers in a row to take their first lead, 40-39, with 6:50 left in the game.
The lead changed hands the rest of regulation. Rocky River led 51-48 and had a chance to lock up the game with Andy Breidigam at the line for a one-and-one with just 10 seconds to play.
Breidigam missed the first foul shot, however, and Keene Cockburn pulled down the rebound for the Rangers. Noggle called timeout to set up the play that sent the game into OT.
Breidigam also missed two free throws with 16 seconds left in the first overtime and Rocky River holding a 58-55 lead. This time, Montgomery pulled down the rebound and headed up the court, where he was trapped before somehow pulling off his improbable game-saving shot.
"The best part of the game tonight was that the kids never gave up," Noggle said. "We came into the season with the mindset that we would never give up. Even when our back is against the wall we would fight for four quarters. I`m so proud of this team because they fought for four quarters-plus."
"Montgomery played well tonight. He did a nice job hitting those clutch shots, but we know he can do that. He`s up here for a reason. Our role players did well for us tonight. Jeff Hammond did a nice job off the bench, giving us 10 minutes and doing what he needed to do. Nick Rogerson also gave us some good minutes tonight."
North Ridgeville`s Drew McGhee led all scorers with 23 points to go with 12 rebounds and four blocked shots.
For Rocky River, Allen Meyer led the way with 18 points, 12 of those on threes at key times.
North Ridgeville (2-0) travels to Fairview Park next Saturday to take on the Warriors.
"I wasn`t happy having those two weeks off after the Westlake game, but I`m just happy to have this next week off. This was a tough game," Noggle said.
Contact Ron Nenadal at 329-7135 or email@example.com.
NORTH RIDGEVILLE(72): Drew McGhee 9-5-23, Keene Cockburn 6-2-17, Adam Quinones 1-5-8, Will Mahaffey 2-1-5, Tim Ice 0-1-1, Dan Montgomery 3-0-8, Jeff Hammond 0-0-0, Matt Murphy 3-1-8, Nick Rogerson 1-0-2. Totals: 25-15-72.
ROCKY RIVER (64): Allen Meyer 6-2-18, Zack Youseff 6-2-16, Ryan Arnold 3-0-7, David Dunne 2-3-7, Andy Breidigam 1-3-5, Eric Schade 2-0-5, Chris Gardner 1-0-3, Barry Goepfert 1-0-3, Bobby Fitzsimmons 0-0-0, Ryan Gallagher 0-0-0. Totals 21-10-64.
North Ridgeville 16 15 6 14 7 14 - 72
Rocky River 11 7 16 17 7 6 - 64
Three-point goals: (NR) Cockburn 2, Quinones, Montgomery 2, Murphy. (RR) Meyer 4, Youseff 2, Goepfert, Gardner, Schade, Arnold. Field Goals: N Ridgeville 24-52, Rocky River 21-63. Free Throws: North Ridgeville 15-25, Rocky River 10-14. Rebounds: N Ridgeville 48 (McGhee 12) Rocky River 28 (Breidigam 8). Turnovers: N Ridgeville 22, Rocky River 11. Fouls: North Ridgeville 18, Rocky River 22.
Junior Varsity: North Ridgeville 47- Rocky River 31