NORWALK, CA - In a rematch of last season’s Southern Section Open Division semifinals, the Take Flight Challenge Friday nightcap featured defending state champion Bishop Montgomery beating Sierra Canyon, 65-62.
“We played with some real toughness and figured out how to get the win,” Bishop Montgomery head coach Doug Mitchell said. “I’d like to get all my players healthy.”
In front of a packed Cerritos College gym with NBA greats Scottie Pippen and Chauncey Billups sitting courtside, and down three starters, Montgomery (13-0) battled from start to finish. The Knights held a 63-62 lead with 15 seconds left, and junior guard Nick Schrader (12 points) took a charge against a driving Scottie Pippen Jr., which set up two game-sealing Josh Vazquez free throws.
In just his second game of the season, five-star guard Cassius Stanley scored 14 points for Sierra Canyon (10-2), but struggled to gain rhythm for much of the game. Pippen Jr. added 11 points, while K.J. Martin, son of former Denver Nuggets forward Kenyon Martin, scored 10.
Boston University commit Fletcher Tynen led Montgomery with 16 points, and junior six-foot-four guard Oscar Lopez contributed 11.
Trailing 62-59 inside two minutes remaining, the Montgomery defense forced a missed Pippen Jr. layup, which turned into a huge Tynen and-one bucket at the other end. A drained free throw tied the game at 62, and with 1:20 left, Sierra Canyon went to Stanley. He pulled up and missed, but the ball was last touched by Montgomery. A Duane Washington Jr. turnover gave the ball back to the Knights, but Vazquez missed a three moments later.
Tynen snatched an offensive board and lost it, but senior guard Jalen Washington came up with a huge steal moments later. A loose ball foul against Sierra Canyon put Washington on the line, and he converted one out of two to give Montgomery a one point advantage with 17 seconds left.
A 30-27 Sierra Canyon halftime lead was cut to one after Washington knocked in a jumper on the first play of the third quarter. With under four minutes left in the third, Stanley hit two straight to give Sierra Canyon a 43-39 advantage. The Knights responded with a three pointer, but Sophomore forward Terren Frank made a jumper on the next play.
Tynen converted on an and-one layup to tie the score at 45-45 with 1:13 left, but six-foot-four senior Adili Kuerban splashed a three right after to put Sierra Canyon up three heading into the final quarter.
Montgomery jumped out to an early 8-6 lead four minutes in, and Sierra Canyon moved into a half court trap defense. Tynen threw a dime to Schrader for a layup, and Stanley missed a dunk, but picked up his miss and scored in the paint to make the score 14-10 after one.
Sierra Canyon takes on Mayfair at the Take Flight Challenge Jan. 6, before traveling to Fairfax in the Harvey Kitani Classic next week. Bishop Montgomery has now won 28 straight games, dating back to last season, and battle Oak Park next.