In the final analysis, Servite High School's 61-52 Angelus League win over Bishop Montgomery went beyond any special strategy. Simply put, the game was decided on free throws.
Free throws. You know, those little gimmes that cause coaches to prematurely lose their hair. Tim Haley, Bishop Montgomery coach, watched helplessly as his team missed 7 of 11 in the fourth quarter.
In contrast, the Friars (5-4, 10-10) made 12 of 16 in the fourth quarter.
"I wasn't pleased with everything our team did, but we did shoot fairly well from the line," said Larry Walker, Servite coach.
The Friars finished the game with 19 of 27 free throws; the Knights made 12 of 25.
The score was tied, 43-43, after three quarters when the Knights' Ramses Reynoso made a layup as time expired in the third quarter.
Reynoso was fouled, and had an opportunity to put Bishop Montgomery (3-6, 11-12) ahead for the first time since early in the first quarter. But he missed.
A Tony Smalley dunk with 6:50 left, put Servite up, 45-43. Bishop Montgomery took its only lead of the fourth quarter, 47-46, when Brian Dell Amico made a free throw.
Servite center John Arabia made a short hook shot to make it, 48-47. Then, the Friars outscored the Knights, 13-5, after Arabia's shot.
Dell Amico played an exceptional game, leading the Knights with 17 points. His play was all the more exceptional considering he played with a black eye suffered last Friday against St. Paul.
Shawn Sullivan led Servite with 13 points. Bob Coady added 12. Smalley, who scored 34 points in Servite's 81-77 win over the Knights earlier this season, was limited to nine points.
Arabia, who fouled out with 3:25 left, ended with eight points as did Jim Kenney.
BISHOP MONTGOMERY (52)--Reynoso 9, Dreher 6, Dell Amico 17, Taylor 11, Nelson 8, Aki 1.
SERVITE (61)--Coady 12, Smalley 9, Sullivan 13, Rollins 11, Arabia 8, Kenney 8.
Mater Dei 56, Bishop Amat 30--The Monarchs (9-0, 24-0) gained a 38-14 halftime lead, making 16 of 21 shots from the field. The second half was marked by frustration for both teams. Mater Dei made only 7 of 26 shot attempts. The Lancers (2-7, 9-13) shot 31%. Eleven Monarchs scored, led by post men LeRon Ellis and Stuart Thomas who each had 10 points. Mater Dei's has won 53 consecutive games.
MATER DEI (56)--Mounce 8, Dwyer 4, Peabody 8, Ellis 10, Thomas 10, Patton 1, Rembert 6, Quigley 6, Schmitt 1, Rocco 1, Stephens 1.
BISHOP AMAT (30)--Vetlesen 2, Marino 6, Curley 4, Kelly 8, Barrero 2, Pace 8.