Video: Highlights of CIF Open Division boys title gam
Watch Bishop Montgomery jump to big lead then hold off Woodcreek and Jordan Brown.
SACRAMENTO, Calif. —
Paul Hayes didn't show much of a poker face Saturday at electric Golden 1 Center, home of the Sacramento Kings and the 2017 CIF State Championships.
The Woodcreek (Roseville)
coach kept grimacing, bending at the waist and holding his head watching Bishop Montgomery (Torrance)
, the nation's fourth-ranked team, go up 6-0. ... 12-0. ... 14-0, 17-4 and 25-6. He knew they could play better. But when?
It wasn't so much that the Timberwolves were so bad. It was Bishop Montgomery was so impressive.
"They're so good across the board," Hayes said. "They're so strong, athletic, they shoot the ball so well and are
so well coached. There's a reason they survived the gauntlet of the
Southern California playoffs."
And Saturday they rode their fast start to take down the slow-starting Timberwolves 74-67 in the CIF Open Division championship game.Ethan Thompson
scored 26 points, Jordan Schakel
20 and David Singleton
14 for the winners who were always in control even against the record-breaking performance of Jordan Brown
The 6-11 post, ranked the fifth best junior in the country by 247Sports, scored an Open Division record 35 points to go along with 17 rebounds after a very slow start. He finished 9 of 18 from the field and 17 of 21 at the line.
The Timberwolves, ranked 25th nationally, closed to within five twice, but Bishop Montgomery (31-2) just had too much savvy, experience and drive.
"I'm so proud of these guys," Knights coach Doug Mitchell said. "I got a really tough group of kids."
In winning the program's third state crown, the Knights held off Woodcreek down the stretch by making 23 of 29 free throws. It was a perfect finish for the Oregon State-bound Thompson, who made 6 of 12 shots and 12-for-15 free throws. Schakel, who'll play at San Diego State next season, made four three-pointers. Singleton, one of the state's top juniors, added seven rebounds and a game-high six assists.
The Knights completed an amazing run, taking Southern Section, Southern California and state titles against some of the top competition in the country. Woodcreek was the fourth ranked squad Bishop Montgomery defeated during the playoffs, including Mater Dei (Santa Ana) twice, Chino Hills and Sierra Canyon (Chatsworth).
Supposedly the fourth best team among "The Big Four," the Knights finished at the very top.
"We just played with a chip our on our shoulder," Thompson said. "We stepped up tonight early and competed."
They looked clearly superior to Woodcreek early, but Mitchell said he wasn't sleeping on the Timberwolves.
"I kept telling our guys that they're not going away," Mitchell said. "We tried to give backside help on Brown but we fouled too much. He went to the line too much and that hurt us."
Connecting at the line — they were 19-of-24 as a team — closing the gap to single digits seemed to inspire the Timberwolves, who found their groove. The large student body, nicknamed "The Black Mob," also lifted their spirits, though Hayes fighting through adversity is part of their DNA.
"That’s how we’ve been all season,” Hayes said. “It speaks of the
integrity and effort of our kids. That’s who these kids are as people.”
Besides Brown's mammoth efforts down low, Tyrell Roberts
hit three 3-pointers and finished with 15 points.
Ultimately, the Knights fought off Woodcreek's best shot and delivered at the line, making eight free throws in the final two minutes, to clinch the title and end the Wolverines' 19-game win streak.
"We just had to finish it out," Thompson said. "Now I just want to enjoy the moment and get ready for college."