By Kyle Foster, photo courtesy of Don Lex (LuckyDuckImages.com)
Twitter: @NapaKyle @NapaSportsLive
Most rivalry games are close — that trend broke Thursday when Napa beat Vintage 70-40 to take the seasons final Big Game.
“It was nice beating the by a good amount,” Napa senior Joe Carnazola happily explained of winning his final Big Game by a large margin. “Last time (January 26th) I thought we let that one get away. Felt good to beat them here.”
It was the best game the Indians (11-15 overall, 4-5 Monticello Empire League) had played all season long. Shots were falling, and they simply just couldn’t do a thing wrong.
“We’ve been talking about playing four quarters all year and we haven’t done it too often, but tonight was definitely a full four quarter game,”
Napa coach Zack Cook explained of how great his team played. “I’m proud of the hard work we put in, and game planning for this game. They executed the game plan well defensively, we shot it great, and did some great things offensively, but you know our defense was the key tonight.”
“No I didn’t,” Vintage coach Rob Johnson said of whether he liked what he saw from his Crushers (11-14, 3-6 MEL) team on the night. “It hurt because I knew how much work we put in, so it was tough to take that outcome. Our guys have worked all week and worked all year, and we were ready. It was just one of those days where it just didn’t fall, our guys just weren’t clicking at all cylinders, just didn’t come out ready to go.”
The fast start by Napa combined with Vintage’s flat start created a deficit too big for the Crushers to overcome.
“We got off to a good start, I think that kinda got everyone’s jitters to go away,” Cook happily said of the good start.
“You go and you shoot over there (Vintage’s other gym) and you get ready and our guys were set mentally, we just came out and it wasn’t there,” Johnson explained of the large deficit early on for Vintage. “Hats off to coach Cook, they did a great job coming out, their players were ready to go and our guys were ready it just didn’t show up.”
Napa was led by senior Joe Carnazola who in his final Big Game of his basketball career at Napa High went for 28 points and nine rebounds. He had 11 points after a quarter and 20 of the Indians’ 41 first half points.
“He had a great game,” Johnson added on Carnazola’s effort. “It just seemed like the ball gravitated towards them tonight and that just happens. Mental errors are what we had tonight.”
“He was just unconscious,” said a happy Cook on Carnazola’s massive game. “Great game by Joe, couldn’t happen to a better kid.”
“Yeah, I missed a couple free throws, but it was a pretty good game,” Carnazola jokingly said of his effort. “I shot the ball well from three.”
Stephen Blume added nine points, Brock Bowers and Mitch Hippauf each added eight points. Hippauf grabbed 12 rebounds and Bowers had six.
Leading Vintage was Imani Lopez. He had 11 points and four rebounds. Davis Chandler added six points and six rebounds in his final game at Crusher Gym.
Both teams will conclude the season next Tuesday night at 7 p.m. Vintage will visit Armijo-Fairfield, while Napa will have its senior night against Wood-Vacaville.
With the loss Vintage is eliminated from any chance at making the playoffs, but Napa’s playoff chances are basically slim-to-none at this point. Yes if Napa wins over Wood Tuesday and Rodriguez loses to Vacaville the two teams will have the same MEL record, but all the tiebreakers favor Rodriguez.