Southern Open games follow script . . . sort of

ONTARIO, Ca. – Things went pretty much as expected Friday night in the opening round of the California Southern Regional boys basketball action.

“Pretty much”, though, didn’t extend to Chatsworth in the San Fernando Valley.

That’s where the host Sierra Canyon Trailblazers – the top-ranked team in not only California, but in all of the U.S. of A for a healthy hunk of the season – were stunned in the only upset of the night.

Saint Augustine, which captured the San Diego Open Division crown Saturday night with a narrow win over Torrey Pines, broke out to an 18-point lead at intermission and then held off Sierra Canyon, 88-81.

The win earned Coach Mike Haupt’s Saints a third shot at Santa Ana Mater Dei Tuesday night in a semifinal.

The Monarchs knocked them off, 86-62, during the Dec. 3 Diablo Inferno Tournament title game.

And they prevailed in a much-closer rematch, 74-62, during a Feb. 4 Nike Extravaganza game at Mater Dei.

Junior forward Taeshon Cherry scored 27 points Friday night for St. Augustine (28-4).

Mater Dei earned its second home game (as the No. 2 seed to St. Augustine’s No. 6) via the Monarchs’ 74-60 toppling of L.A. City Open runner-up Westchester. Seven-foot-two junior Bol Bol had 22 points and 10 rebounds for Coach Gary McKnight’s crew.

In the other two games, top seed Torrance Bishop Montgomery and No. 4 seed Chino Hills had relatively methodical approaches to their respective wins to set up their semifinal (tentatively set for El Camino Community College in Torrance).

Bishop Montgomery had consecutive wins over Oak Park (No. 17 in the BurlisonOnBasketball SoCal Top 25), Santa Margarita (No. 7), Sierra Canyon (the top seed at the time and No.  4 in the most recent BurlisonOnBasketball Top 25) and Mater Dei (No. 2) to bag its second Southern Section Open title in three years.

Friday night the Knights cruised past San Diego Open runner-up Torrey Pines, 64-49, as juniors Fletcher Tynen (14) and David Singleton (11) and senior Ethan Thompson (12) combined for 37 points.

And, in the fourth opening-round game, Chino Hills – which hadn’t played in two weeks (dating to its SS Open semifinal loss to Mater Dei in USC’s Galen Center – overcame an early five-point deficit and out-scored L.A. City Open champion Lake Balboa Birmingham, 130-110, in a packed gym on the Colony High campus in Ontario.

Yes . . . there were 240-freaking points scored in a 32-minute game.

If you extrapolate to the 48 minutes of regulation time, that’s like 360 points being scored in an NBA game.

Mind-boggling, isn’t it?

In the orgy of stats, Devante Doutrive – the best “unsigned” senior guard among college prospects in the west – scored 39 points for Birmingham (27-4) while his junior brother, Devonaire Doutrive had 25 and senior guard Deschon Winston (the Doutrives live with his family) chipped in with 16.

Six-five Gelo Ball hit the 50 mark in scoring for the seventh time in his senior season with Chino Hills, scoring 52 points while hitting 20 of 45 shots from the field (including five 3s) and all seven of his free throws.

His sophomore brother, point guard Melo Ball, had 17 points (seven of 17 from the field), 15 assists and 10 rebounds to go with three steals.

Loyola Marymount-bound Eli Scott and sophomore Onyeka Okongwu had their usual high-flying efforts for the Huskies.

Scott – despite fouling out with 1:19 to go in the third quarter – scored 21 points while grabbing 11 rebounds.

Okongwu hit all five of his shots (all dunks) in the fourth quarter before fouling out with 38 seconds while finishing with 22 points, 13 rebounds and five blocked shots.

The fifth starter, Long Beach Millikan transfer Ofure Ujadughele, hit nine of 14 shots from the field and both free throws for 20 points.

Chino Hills (30-2) beat Bishop Montgomery (28-2) twice last season, the second time coming in the State Southern Region Open final in the Pyramid on the Long Beach State campus.

Nine of the players who started in that game in Long Beach – only UCLA freshman point guard Lonzo Ball is missing, with Ujadughele in his spot – will be on the floor Tuesday night.

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Frank Burlison

Frank Burlison is a well-regarded basketball writer who was inducted into the U.S. Basketball Writers Association Hall of Fame in 2005. His opinions on the potential of high school and college players are widely respected and sought by college coaches and NBA scouts, personnel directors and general managers from coast to coast. Oh, yes – he can offer plenty of thoughts on movies, television and pop music. Yes, he can rank those, too. Hint: He’s a big The Godfather, Larry Sanders, The Wire and The Beatles loyalist.

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