Knights overwhelm Montbello 79-49 to pass first state tourney test
“Defense wins championships.”
If the old saying is true, then Fairview’s boys basketball team is exactly where it wants to be.
The Knights started off their 2012 State Tournament campaign on a good note Friday night, using swarming defense to knock off eighth-seeded Montbello in a 79-49 blowout.
Fairview’s defense was stellar early and often, as the Knights held the Warriors to 12, 11, 13, and 13 points in quarters one through four. This defensive pressure held Montbello to only 13 total field goals in the game.
The Knights’ greatest defensive weapon was the steal, as the team notched 10 total takeaways. Senior guard Jonah Crespi led the team with three steals, while seven players recorded at least one.
Despite their strong defensive effort throughout, it took the Knights until the second quarter for their offense to catch up. Tied 12-12 at the end of the first quarter, it seemed as if the pesky, shot-blocking Warriors would keep Fairview’s frontcourt in check.
However, fittingly, it was the Fairview’s defense that let the Knights break away in the second quarter and never look back. Tied 16-16 early in the second quarter, the Knights came away with a key steal that led to a fast break dunk from Shane O’Neill. Moments later, Caleb Pykkonen caught a fast break pass and took the ball all the way down for a layup, forcing a Montbello timeout and sending Fairview’s near-capacity crowd into a frenzy.
A layup by Gibson Farone-Collins after the timeout was all that was needed to spark a 13-3 run by the Knights and put head coach Frank Lee’s squad up for good. After a barrage of three-pointers by Crespi, the Knights were in control, taking a 41-23 lead into halftime after 29 third quarter points.
The Knights did not dominate the third quarter in their usual fashion, but they still held strong, winning the quarter 16-13. The quarter was highlighted by a bizarre triple-technical foul situation, as Brent Wrapp, O’Neill and Montbello’s Azlan Williams were called for technical fouls after an and-1 layup by Wrapp.
By the end of the third quarter, the Knights led 57-36, giving Lee the chance to empty his bench and let the starters receive a well-deserved standing ovation from the Fairview faithful.
Fairview will now look ahead to a Sweet Sixteen battle against fifth-seeded Mountain Vista at home next Tuesday. The Golden Eagles dispatched twelfth-seeded Overland and upset fourth-seeded Aurora Central earlier this week to earn the spot versus the Knights.