The Bishop Montgomery High School boys basketball team keeps pushing forward, and it doesn’t seem to matter who is put in front of it.
It’s a veteran team hitting on all cylinders under a seasoned coach and everyone is on top of their games.
The Knights have not lost a game since Jan. 16, a 73-67 setback to Montverde Academy of Florida in the Spalding Hoophall Classic.
After dispatching Chino Hills on Tuesday night at El Camino College, Bishop Montgomery advanced to the CIF State Open Division Regional final for a rematch with Mater Dei at Long Beach State’s Walter Pyramid at 8 p.m. tonight.
Bishop Montgomery (29-2) had a dominant fourth quarter to come from behind and beat Mater Dei in the CIF Southern Section Open Division final March 4 at Honda Center in Anaheim. It marked the first time Doug Mitchell-led Bishop Montgomery had ever beaten Gary McKnight-led Mater Dei.
Ethan Thompson led Bishop Montgomery with 23 points in the game, while David Singleton had 21 points and Jordan Schakel had 16 points. Bol Bol led Mater Dei (33-2) with 15 points and seven rebounds.
“They are so difficult to stop because of their size and their athleticism, and I thought we just kept playing, kept playing, kept playing,” Mitchell said. “We hit a cold spell where the guys just couldn’t get a shot to go down, but the guys just kept playing through stuff. And then we had a little fury there where we got some shots to fall and I thought that was the big difference.”
The winner of No. 1 Bishop Montgomery and No. 2 Mater Dei will play the winner of No. 1 Woodcreek (31-2) and No. 2 Sheldon (30-3) in the CIF State Open Division championship game on March 25 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
Mater Dei has a state-record 11 CIF State titles, while Bishop Montgomery has three state crowns.
DIVISION V, REGIONAL FINAL
No. 2 Rolling Hills Prep (27-2) at No. 1 Riverside Notre Dame (31-3), 6 p.m.
Outlook: Rolling Hills Prep’s Chris Koon dished to Alex Garcia for the game-winning basket with one second left last round against Holy Martyrs Armenian. It was Rolling Hills Prep’s first real scare of the postseason, and the Huskies know they can’t take remaining teams lightly. Koon, Garcia and JT Tan lead the charge for the young Huskies under coach Harvey Kitani, who notched career win No. 800 last round. The Rolling Hills Prep-Notre Dame winner will face No. 1 St. Francis or No. 2 Elliot Christian in the CIF State final March 24 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.
DIVISION V, REGIONAL FINAL
No. 5 Rolling Hills Prep (31-3) at No. 3 Bell-Jeff (28-3), 6 p.m.
Outlook: Well it’s official, Rolling Hills Prep was underrated headed into the CIF State playoffs. As the No. 5 seed, Rolling Hills Prep went on the road and toppled CIF-SS Division 5AA champion and No. 1-seeded Heritage Christian 74-49 behind 21 points each for freshmen Aly Maxey and Macy Pakele. Now the Huskies are one win away from playing for the CIF State crown under third-year coach Richard Masson. The Rolling Hills Prep-Bell-Jeff winner will play No. 1 Eastside College Prep or No. 2 Woodside Priory in the final March 24 at the Golden 1 Center in Sacramento.