Video: Highlights of CIF Open Division boys title game
Watch Bishop Montgomery jump to a big lead then hold off Woodcreek and Jordan Brown for the title.
Imagine attending 12 high school basketball games over two days.
That's 24 hours of hoops over a 48-hour period. There were 12 national anthems, 34 "We believe" chants, 61 traveling calls, 48 TV timeouts, 1,363 points scored, countless embraces, floods of tears and endless displays of emotion.
In the end, Southern California claimed seven of the 12 titles over Friday and Saturday but it was even closer than that. Cumulative score: South 683, North 680.
The first year-end CIF Basketball Championship party at Golden 1 Center — home of the Sacramento Kings — was an unmitigated golden success. And one didn't need to be part of any royalty to soak it all in. See complete coverage from Friday, Saturday and Open Divisions boys and girls
In fact, perhaps the best storyline among the many was the Mission (San Francisco)
boys — a team made up from kids from some of the toughest inner-city neighborhoods in the Bay Area — claiming the first state title in history from a San Francisco public school. They beat a tough and talented Villa Park squad 82-75 in the only overtime game of the 12.
"These guys are fighters," their coach Andrew Zelaya said. "Nobody gave them a chance because we (supposedly) come from a bad league. We showed everyone today."
Here are five moments/performances that stood out among many great ones:1. The finish
No memorable comeback is complete without a good finish, but
took it to another level.
The super quick 5-foot-10 Vanden (Fairfield)
senior made a terrific steal at midcourt, slashed beautifully through the lane before floating in a basket while being fouled with 11.2 seconds left. She completed the three-point play to finish off one of the greatest comebacks in state history as Vanden fought back from a 17-point deficit with 6:42 left to post a 64-61 win over Mater Dei (Santa Ana) in the D-2 final Saturday. See video highlights and an interview with Blackshell-Fair
The University of Houston commit absolutely willed her team to victory, finishing with 20 points, 21 rebounds, eight assists and five steals. Blackshell-Fair also completed an illustrious four-year career.
"The amazing part is that she's a better person than she is a player and that's saying something," her coach Allison Johnson said at a press conference after the game.
All the Vanden girls at the podium nodded. 2. Bear Hug
Following Mission's gritty victory, the team's star player Niamey Harris
(31 points, seven rebounds, six steals, four assists) made a beeline for Zelaya and the two embraced in a long Bear hug. The Mission Bears (35-1) pulled off what few saw coming, something Harris — a four-year player — and Zelaya, also the school's dean, had been working toward since he arrived.
"He's like my other dad," Harris said immediately after the game. "I love him. I really do."
Said Zelaya: "I love him like one of my own. He would not let us lose today."
3. Flailing Fist
Clovis West (Fresno)
seemed to be drowning, suffocating, all tied up in knots. The nation's No. 2 girls basketball team hadn't scored a basket in more than six minutes and it looked like the Open Division championship was slipping away, with Archbishop Mitty (San Jose, Calif.)
leading 37-30 with 5:42 to play.
Worse than that, they were losing to the nation's No. 1 team Archbishop Mitty (San Jose), a squad that defeated Clovis West earlier in the year 76-75.
But Sarah Bates
took a long inbounds pass, made a layup and was fouled. Then she flailed a fist. She would flail it three more times — two following three-point makes from the top of the key — and another after another layup off a long pass.
See video highlights and interview with Bates
Her 11-point barrage — she finished with a game-high 12 in the defensive slugfest — and her fire led Clovis West to a 44-40 victory and a first state crown.
"Sarah's always been a gamer," Clovis West coach Craig Campbell said. "The bigger the moment, the better she plays." 4. Body languageWoodcreek (Roseville)
boys basketball coach Paul Hayes is one of the most positive men in high school coaching. Upbeat. Encouraging. Jovial.
But even he couldn't contain his frustration falling behind 14-0, 17-4 and 25-6 early to Bishop Montgomery (Torrance)
, the nation's No. 4 team, in the Open Division title game before about 9,000 fans.
He tried to be positive, but shots would not drop and the Knights were just so good. He bent at the waist. Held his head. You could tell he was just waiting for one little break or bucket to change the tide.
Eventually, it came in droves and Woodcreek, behind one of the nation's top juniors, 6-11 Jordan Brown
(35 points, 17 rebounds), showed its grit, twice cutting the lead to five late before losing 74-67. Later, Hayes noted it wasn't his team's performance that had him cringing, but how good Bishop Montgomery, coached by 28-year veteran Doug Mitchell was.
They were led by Oregon State-bound Ethan Thompson
(25 points), San Diego State commit Jordan Schakel
(20 points) and top junior David Singleton
(14). See video highlights and interview with Thompson
Woodcreek found out first hand why Bishop Montgomery entered fourth in the nation and was the representative from a loaded Southern California region.
"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."
5. Matter of fact
Of all the imposing and athletic frames at Golden 1 over the weekend, Eastside College Prep (East Palo Alto) Zion Gabriel
was not one of the more memorable ones.
The slight 5-4 sophomore, however, delivered perhaps the noteworthy performance by making eight three-pointers to break the state mark in any division and any gender. More remarkable than that, she broke the record of her idol, NBA All-Star Klay Thompson of the Golden State Warriors and formerly of Santa Margarita High School, who made seven in 2008.
And perhaps, most remarkably, she did it in the very first game — a 10 a.m. start — in a almost empty, cavernous NBA arena.
She passed other long-range shooters on the record list by the name of Kelsey Plum and Candice Wiggins.
"Those are definitely some big names," she said after scoring 26 points in her team's second straight D5 championship, 63-40 over Rolling Hills. "It's amazing."