Bishop Montgomery clinches Open Division with clutch free throws
When Bishop Montgomery scored the first 14 points and led by as many 19 in the first half, no one thought the final game of the high school season would come down to free throws.
However, with Woodcreek cutting the lead to five, Bishop Montgomery calmly made 15-for-18 from the charity stripe in the final eight minutes of a 74-67 win.
The Knights were 9-for-18 from three point range led by four makes from San Diego State bound Jordan Schakel (20 points) and a pair of makes from Oregon State signee Ethan Thompson (26) and Gianni Hunt (10). David Singleton, who missed the season opening loss to Bishop O’Dowd, had 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists.
The four players in double figures negated a big night for Woodcreek star junior Jordan Brown, who set Open Division records for points (35) and most free throws made and attempted (17-for-21). He added 17 rebounds in bouncing back from a 0-for-6 start. He was dominant in the fourth quarter as Woodcreek made its run.
Tyrell Roberts had 15 points (3-for-7 on threes), three rebounds and three assists.
Woodcreek missed its first 12 shots and was just 5-for-28 in the first half before improving to 16-for-26 after intermission.
Moreau can’t overcome slow start in D2 loss
Making its second state title game appearance in four years, Moreau Catholic couldn’t overcome a slow start in losing to Esperanza 72-65. The Aztecs, which won their first state title, led 26-9 early in the second quarter before a back and forth second half.
The Mariners, which had their 21 game winning streak snapped, saw senior Damari Milstead score 11 of his 22 points in the second quarter to trim the deficit from 17 to eight going into halftime. The third quarter was freshman Kyree Walker’s time. He delivered nine of his 28 points in the third including a three pointer at the 5:21 mark to give Moreau its first lead of the game. He also added 10 rebounds for a double-double.
Down 47-42 entering the fourth, Moreau Catholic got within one possession multiple times but couldn’t retake the lead. A key sequence happened at the three minute mark when Moreau Catholic missed a layup and Esperanza quickly advanced the ball for a open three pointer by Brendan Harrick to make it 61-53 with 2:39 left.
Harrick finished with a team high 25 points. Esperanza got 22 points, 12 rebounds, four assists and three blocks from Stanford bound Kezie Okpala, who causes problems as a big ball handler against pressure and excellent length on perimeter defense.
Moreau had success with its press in forcing 17 turnovers.
“It’s Great to be a Bruin”
The message was simple from St. Patrick-St. Vincent head coach Derek Walker. Following a 59-46 win over Helix for the school’s first state title (and first boys title for a Vallejo school), the St. Pat’s alum summed it up best.
“It’s great to be a Bruin.”
The Bruins took advantage of the fourth foul on Helix star junior Miles Norris with 4:17 left in the third to go on a 15-4 run to turn a 27-24 lead into a 44-27 advantage at the end of the quarter. Helix got within eight with 3:52 left, but never threatened the Bruins, which put four players in double figures led by 16 points from senior BJ Standley.
The second half featured the Bruins attacking more and shooting 12-for-19 after going 8-for-30 (1-for-11 on threes) in the first half. The poor shooting, including 14 straight misses to end the half, turned a seven point lead after the first quarter into a 20-19 deficit going into halftime.
While the offense improved after the break, the defense was consistently good with an active 2-3 zone that featured length inside with Tavian Henderson and Romeo Mays. St. Patrick-St. Vincent held the Highlanders to 25 percent shooting (15-for-59). Helix did grab 21 offensive rebounds led by eight from Jaylen Arnold (10 points, 12 rebounds), Norris had 11 points on 3-for-8 shooting with 10 boards.
Henderson (12 points and 10 rebounds), Mays (12) and Marquel Johnson (12) were also in double figures for the Bruins, which won their final five games after losing to Lick-Wilmerding in the NCS playoffs.
“Truthfully, we were devastated,” Henderson said of the section loss. “We lost our chance at a section title, but I think it was the best thing to ever happen to us.”
It is the second state title in the calendar year for St. Patrick-St. Vincent as five players, including Johnson, won a football state title in December.