LONG BEACH, Ca. – Southern California, as collection of geographic entities, will be well represented in the boys’ basketball championship games in Sacramento next weekend.
Los Angeles County (Torrance Bishop Montgomery, in the Open, and San Pedro Rolling Hills Estates, in Division V) will send two teams; Riverside County (Eastvale Roosevelt, in Division I) is sending one; Orange County (Anaheim Esperanza, in Division II, and Villa Park, Division III) is home to two; and San Diego County (La Mesa Helix, Division IV) will ship one north next weekend.
Bishop Montgomery (60-53 over Santa Ana Mater Dei) and Roosevelt (68-65 against Corona Centennial) earned their passage to Sacramento by way of wins in the Pyramid on the Long Beach State Campus.
In the nightcap in the Pyramid (it followed the girls’ and boys’ Division I contests, as well as the girls’ Open finale), the Bishop Montgomery Knights (30-2) ground out their second win over Mater Dei in two weeks during the Open clash.
Coach Doug Mitchell’s crew prevailed despite shooting a paltry .327 (17 of 52) from the field.
Oregon State-bound Ethan Thompson overcame a miserable (three of 15 from the field; he missed his first nine shots) shooting performance to help the Knights become the South’s rep in the Open title game against Roseville Woodcreek next Saturday night at 8 o’clock in the new Sacramento Golden 1 Center, which is home to the Sacramento Kings.
Thompson finished with 13 points and a team-high nine rebounds while junior David Singleton – held without a shot during a first half in which he accumulated three personal fouls – tallied 13 of his team-high 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Knights while sophomore guard Gianni Hunt scored seven of his 10 points over the final eight minutes.
Senior forward Justice Sueing had team highs with 21 points and 11 rebounds for the Monarchs (33-3) – who lost to the Knights in the March 4 CIF Southern Section Open title game in Anaheim – but was just six of 19 from the field and committed four turnovers.
Junior point guard Spencer Freedman added 16 points for Mater Dei.
Earlier in the day senior forward Matt Mitchell scored 35 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to go with three assists and four steals as Roosevelt beat Big VIII League rival Centennial for the fifth time this season in as many attempts.
The Mustangs (25-8) get a pop at Union City Logan in the Division I final in Sacramento next Friday evening at 6 o’clock.
Esperanza (27-3) earned its first-ever slot in a boys’ state championship game as Stanford-bound forward Kezie Okpala scored 28 points during his team’s win over Pasadena.
Junior guard Bryce Hamilton led the Bulldogs with 34 points.
The Esperanza Aztecs will play for Division II hardware next Saturday afternoon at 4 o’clock in the Golden 1 Center against Hayward Moreau Catholic.
In the Division III game at Colony High in Ontario, the visiting Villa Park Spartans avenged a loss to the Titans in the March 4 CIF Southern Section 2AA championship game in Anaheim with their 78-67 victory.
Sophomore forward Julien Franklin led Kevin Reynolds’ team with 19 points.
The Spartans (27-6) will play San Francisco Mission for the III crown Friday afternoon at 4 o’clock in the Golden 1 Center.
The Spartans ( In La Mesa, host Helix held off Reedley (near Fresno) Immanuel, 80-69, to earn the alma mater of Bill Walton a spot in the Division IV title game Vallejo St Patrick-St. Vincent next Saturday at noon in the Golden 1 Center.
Helix (31-5) has been beaten in 22 games since 6-9 Miles Norris became eligible after sitting out 30 days since his transfer from Chula Vista Mater Dei.
Norris scored 19 points and grabbed 12 rebounds Saturday night while senior guard Dylan Lee led the squad with 22.
Junior guard Nate Kendricks led Reedley with 32 points.
Harvey Kitani, who won multiple L.A. City and state titles during his stint at L.A. Fairfax, is heading north again in his first season at his new coaching position.
Kitani’s Rolling Hills Prep squad edged host and top seed Notre Dame of Riverside, 60-59, in the southern D-V finale Saturday night.
The Huskies (28-2) got 26 points from 6-3 junior Alex Garcia and will play Watsonville St. Francis Friday at noon in the Golden 1 Center.