In the zone
Youngren's scoring, passing lift Montrose past Central
MONTROSE — Angelo Youngren left the Montrose High School locker room Tuesday the way he entered it: football in hand.
Because it’s still the sport he wants to play in college, even after the Indians point guard flashed numerous second-half crossover dribbles that led to assists and jump shots and sparked Montrose to a come-from-behind 49-48 win over Central.
Youngren scored a game-high 18 points.
But long after Youngren was finished, his teammates took over, holding Central on its final possession.
With Central down one point with 1.6 seconds remaining, the Warriors’ Preston Grandbouche, who scored a team-high 13 points, inbounded the ball beneath his own basket. But his pass was tipped, and Montrose’s Benton Cruz simply caught the ball and lobbed it downcourt as time ran out.
Central (8-13, 3-5 Southwestern League) led by as much as 14, 31-17, early in the third quarter.
That’s about when Youngren, and Montrose (7-10, 4-4), took over.
On numerous plays designed for Youngren to take his defender off the dribble, the standout running back in football sometimes flashed a crossover dribble that began with a jumping, gallop-like kick. He said he learned it watching a player from Sterling High School at a state championship game two years ago. Youngren often ended the dribbles with passes to open teammates, most notably Cole Auker, who finished with 15 points.
Twice, Youngren pulled up and hit a 3-pointer.
“Once I get in a groove,” Youngren said, “it’s hard to get out of.”
Montrose ended the third quarter with Francisco Gallegos picking up a loose ball and banking in a 3-pointer at the buzzer, and Montrose had cut the Central lead to 36-33.
The Indians took their first lead of the game, 38-37, with 6:38 remaining in the fourth quarter on a pair of Auker free throws.
A minute later, there was Youngren, shaking and kicking for a crossover, then dipping into a dribble-drive from which he found Wyatt Thaute, who was fouled. Thaute hit one of two free throws to put the Indians ahead 43-37 with just over two minutes remaining.
Central tied the game at 48-48 on a rebound and layup by Clay Squier, but on the next possession, Youngren was fouled bringing the ball up court. With 39 seconds left, he made one of two free throws to put Montrose up by the final score of 49-48.
“We’ve definitely been working on plays that take advantage of Angelo’s talent,” Montrose coach Martin Maloney said of the Indians’ “down” play that allows Youngren freedom to take a man off the dribble. “Angelo’s a great talent and a strong kid.”
Youngren’s loose nature took form prior to the game. Since he played junior varsity, Youngren will find a teammate and play a game of catch with a football. Lately, it’s been Cruz, who made the game-winning steal.
“It helps calm us down,” Cruz said of the pregame catch. “And once you know (Angelo’s) in a zone, you know he’s not coming out of it.”