ROCKVILLE – The Richard Montgomery trio of Nick Jackson, Renzo Farfan and Daniel Alexander combined for 15 of their team’s final 22 points to lift the Rockets (16-1, 7-0) over Bethesda Chevy-Chase (10-5, 5-2) 57-49 in overtime at home Friday night.
The Richard Montgomery victory puts the Rockets back on the winning side of things after Springbrook brought an end to their undefeated season last Friday.
“This was a more important win to us than anything that Springbrook could have offered,” said Rockets coach David Breslaw. “This puts us two games ahead of everyone for the division. As long as we don’t just think we’re going to coast through the rest of the division season then we’re going to be able to get that banner and that’s something we haven’t had for five years – that’s history.”
During the first half the Rockets stretched their lead over the Barons to as much as six points but could not put their opponents away.
A 3-pointer by Rockets guard Justin Nikakhtar gave his team a slim 28-27 lead over the Barons at the half.
Farfan ended the third in similar fashion, knocking down a triple to give the Rockets a one-point lead heading in the fourth quarter.
The Barons came out in the fourth hot, opening the quarter on a 7-2 scoring run after Kevin Holston sparked the team with an and-one – but the Rockets answered back.
Down four points with less than 4 minutes to go in the game Farfan converted a key and-one to pull the Rockets within one point of B-CC.
Minutes later Jackson hit a triple out of a Rockets timeout before B-CC’s Livio Caputo sank a layup to send the game into overtime.
Jackson said he never doubted the 3-pointer and that it “looked good as soon as it left my hand.”
Alexander would take care of the job in overtime, tallying eight of his total 13 points in the period to seal the key divisional win for his team.
“Like (Rockets assistant) Coach Schools always tells me, let the game come to you,” Alexander said. “And I think the team finds me late in the game.”
Defensively the Rockets contained Barons leading scorer Justin Carter, holding him scoreless from the field so that all five of Carter’s points came from the free throw line.
Baron’s coach Sean Tracy chalked Carter’s subpar performance to a mixture of fatigue and bad chance.
“He looked a little tired out there, maybe I kept him out there too long, didn’t really give him a break as he needed,” Tracy said. “But those are shots he normally hits and they were just falling short and that’s just the way the ball rolled tonight.”
The Rockets also shut down the Barons’ perimeter shooting, holding them to a 1-of-11 night from beyond the arc. Breslaw praised his team for the shutdown and said it was a focal point of his team’s strategy coming into the matchup.
“A lot of what we focused on this week was preventing the three and closing out on threes,” said Breslaw. “And that is the one goal we accomplished today, that we can say outright ‘we did that’ and that’s not always something basketball teams do after a game.”