The CIF-SS Open Division, perhaps the toughest division in all of high school basketball, contained a headliner championship matchup under the lights of the Honda Center, featuring Mater Dei and Bishop Montgomery.
After shocking Chino Hills last week, Mater Dei was the clear favorite against Ethan Thompson and Bishop Montgomery. Montgomery, led by Thompson, David Singleton and Jordan Schakel, wasn't intimidated by any pre-existing hype, slaying Mater Dei by a final score of 70-55.
Thompson (23 points) produced several jaw dropping plays, including a show-stopping 360 slam to punctuate a fantastic performance by Montgomery.
"It was just a great feeling, I was on the fast break by myself and I just tried it, I'm glad I made it," he said.
Singleton (21 points) and Schakel (16 points) assisted in simply dismantling Mater Dei down the stretch of the final quarter.
Mater Dei's 7-foot-2 star Bol Bol wasn't in the starting lineup due to a late arrival because of an Uber mishap, yet he still finished with 15 points and 7 rebounds. Justice Sueing (11 points) and Spencer Freedman (10 points) also contributed well for Mater Dei, but Bishop was simply too much for the Monarchs to handle.
"They hit nine 3 pointers, had 4 more rebounds than us, same amount of turnovers, shot a few more free throws than us, but I just think that they made more shots than us," Freedman said.
Bol started things off great for Mater Dei in the fourth with an emphatic slam. However a few possessions later, Thompson drew the foul on a three point attempt and converted on all free throws, tying the score at 51. After an empty possession for Mater Dei, Thompson wowed the crowd with a lighting quick cross over and thundering dunk over MD's towering Bol, giving Montgomery a two-point advantage. Schakel kept momentum going for Bishop, nailing a 3 to put them up five. From that point on, Mater Dei completely fell apart after several missed shots and Montgomery baskets.
A Sueing layup got Mater Dei going to start the third, followed by a Bol slam to make it 38-31. With just under 1:30 left in the quarter, Mater Dei nursed a 40-37 lead, but Montgomery was able to hang around by knocking down perimeter shots.
Freedman scored the first points of the game for Mater Dei, and Montgomery initially faced trouble against the opposition's athleticism. Coming off the bench, Bol instantly made an impact, scoring on his first touch. Thompson found ways to score through the physical defense of Mater Dei, and the score was all tied at 12 through one.
Montgomery, who shot 37.5 percent from three, hit shot after shot to start the quarter and found themselves up 21-16 a few minutes in. Freedman kept things under control for MD, and Matt Weyand nailed a key outside jumper to cut Montgomery's lead to just one. Junior big man Reagan Lundeen gave Mater Dei good energy off the bench to end the half, and a Freedman three gave the Monarchs a 31-29 lead at the break