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Something rare is happening in the North Bay League Boys basketball race and to say it is rare is an understatement.  Yes, it is early in the process, but Cardinal Newman and Montgomery are playing basketball games that have nothing to do with the league lead.
Windsor is traveling to Casa Grande with both teams tied at 3-0.  Cardinal Newman and Montgomery are one game back at 2-1.  So no matter the results, the Cardinals or Vikings will not be in first place when the evening ends.
The last time that you went into a night knowing that neither Cardinal Newman nor Montgomery would end the evening in first place was almost ten years ago.
That date was February 9th, 2005.  It was a night that Montgomery actually beat first place Piner 62-51. Piner went into that game with a two game lead in the NBL race.  There were four league games after that and each night Montgomery could have moved into a tie for first if they won and Piner lost.  That never happened, as Piner won out to win the league title.  That is actually the last time that a league championship pennant wasn’t handed out to either Cardinal Newman or Montgomery.
That isn’t the last time that first place belonged to someone besides Cardinal Newman or Montgomery.  That last happened on January 18th, 2008.  That night Maria Carrillo was 4-0 and had a one game lead over Cardinal Newman and Piner.  The scenario was set up similar to the way this one has been set up.  Two nights earlier Maria Carrillo defeated Cardinal Newman 52-47.

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Newman’s James Ryan fires up a jumper in the first meeting between The Cardinals and The Vikings this season.

Going into that night though, Cardinal Newman could have been tied for the lead if they got some help, which they did, as Piner defeated Maria Carrillo 53-36 to move into a tie for first.  Cardinal Newman could have done the same with a win, but they lost to Montgomery 41-39 on a buzzer beater, so they stayed one game out.  Montgomery went into that game 1-3 and wouldn’t have a game with a chance to get into first place, but would have a say in who would win a race that ended in a three way tie between Cardinal Newman, Maria Carrillo and Piner.
If they won and got some help, Cardinal Newman could move into a first place tie as that season played out. On February 5th, or six games later, Cardinal Newman, who earlier in the week defeated Piner, defeated Maria Carrillo to move into a three way tie with three games to go.  All three teams would lose once down the stretch. Maria Carrillo lost to Piner who along with Cardinal Newman, each lost to Montgomery.
To add to the wild season, Montgomery defeated Cardinal Newman and Maria Carrillo to win the NBL post season tournament.
So it is rare indeed that you know going in, that first place won’t belong to Cardinal Newman nor Montgomery when the night ends. Casa Grande and Windsor are the two teams playing for first place.  This is something they should be proud of, especially when you consider that the two teams weren’t in the NBL three years ago.
When realignment was announced, Casa Grande and Windsor were moved into the NBL, this is what they had in mind.
No. 1 Cardinal Newman 76 No. 10 Ukiah 24
No. 2 Santa Rosa 59 Maria Carrillo 39
No. 5 Windsor 37 No. 6 Casa Grande 36
Montgomery 74 Rancho Cotate 51
No. 1 Cardinal Newman at Maria Carrillo
No. 2 Santa Rosa at Rancho Cotate
No. 6 Casa Grande at No. 10 Ukiah
Cardinal Newman continues to roll, scoring at least 20 in the first three quarters in its win over Ukiah.  Tiffany Salinas led the way with 18 points.
It was good news/bad news for Santa Rosa.  The good news is they rallied to defeat Maria Carrillo 59-39.  Kylie Oden scored 19 points and Emily Codding had 13 points and 11 rebounds.  It the sophomore’s fourth double-double in five games.
The bad news is that Devin Murray again went down with a concussion in the first quarter.  No word on how serious or how long she will be out.
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Windsor’s Jessica Barbosa had another good game last night to lead the Jaguars.

Windsor scored one point in the first quarter and trailed until the last two minutes, before edging Casa Grande. Casa Grande had a chance to get the game into overtime by hitting two free throws after time ran out, but missed the second one.  Jessica Barbosa scored 17 to lead Windsor.
Montgomery rallied from a halftime deficit to defeat Rancho Cotate.  Shayla Newman was one of four Vikings in double figures with 19 points.  It is the freshmen’s fifth straight double-doube.
LEAGUE OVERVIEW: Cardinal Newman and Santa Rosa are 4-0 and one game away from their showdown next Wednesday at Santa Rosa
No. 3 Sonoma Valley 56 El Molino 31
No. 8 Analy 65 No. 4 Petaluma 60 (OT)
Piner 45 Elsie Allen 13
Healdsburg BYE
Sonoma Valley steadily pulled away in its win over El Molino.  Grace Cutting led the way with 15 points.  The Dragons have a five game winning streak and have won nine of ten.
The game of the night was in Petaluma, where Analy pulled out the overtime win.  Valerie Viramontes led Analy with 21 points.
Analy looked like they had won the game in regulation by scoring seven straight in the last 1:30 to take a 56-54 lead. They scored the go ahead points in the last seconds and started celebrating to early and got hit with a technical with 3.2 left.  Joelle Krist, who was the game leading scorer with 22, hit both free throws to force the OT.
In the overtime, Analy scored the last six points of a game that was tight the whole way. The five point lead Petaluma had in the last two minutes was the biggest spread of the game.
Daisjah Sheppard has 12 points and ten rebounds to lead Piner over Elsie Allen.
LEAGUE OVERVIEW: Sonoma Valley has a one game lead over Analy. Healdsburg, Petaluma and Piner have two losses.
SATURDAY—St. Helena at Healdsburg
MONDAY—Sonoma Valley at Maria Carrillo
Sonoma Valley at Piner
Analy at Elsie Allen
Petaluma at El Molino
Healdsburg BYE
No. 9 Ukiah at No. 1 Cardinal Newman
Rancho Cotate at No. 2 Montgomery
No. 7 Windsor at No. 6 Casa Grande
Maria Carrillo at Santa Rosa
No. 3 Piner at Sonoma Valley
No. 4 Elsie Allen at No. 8 Analy
Healdsburg at Petaluma
El Molino BYE
No. 5 Cloverdale at Middletown
Lower Lake at No. 10 Lower Lake
St. Helena at Fort Bragg
Kelseyville at Clear Lake
No. 7 Middletown at Cloverdale
Willits at Lower Lake
Kelseyville at Clear Lake
Fort Bragg at St. Helena
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