Freedman buzzer-beater drops Bishop Montgomery

LAKEWOOD, Ca. – It was a “quasi rematch” of the 2017 CIF Southern Section and State Regional Open Division championship games.

And the Santa Ana Mater Dei Monarchs made the “third time the charm” Sunday afternoon at Artesia High during the title game of the fourth Ron Massey Memorial Fall Hoops Classic.

Harvard-bound point guard Spencer Freedman’s eight-foot runner in the lane with two seconds to play gave the Monarchs a 55-53 victory over the Torrance Bishop Montgomery Knights in the last of the 12 games played in the “Elite 8” bracket over the two-day event

There were also eight “Showcase” games played, with 15 teams participating (L.A. Cathedral played twice).

The Elite 8 championship was every bit as well-played and down-to-the-wire-mode as one would expect from the team clubs expected to be the best California has to offer in 2017-18 season.

The Monarchs, who beat Temecula Rancho Christian in a Saturday night first-round affair and Culver City in a Sunday morning semifinal, played without weekend no-shows in 7-foot-2 Bol Bol and recent transfer (from Seattle Nathan Hale) P.J. Fuller.

Bishop Montgomery toppled Pasadena Saturday night and then pulled away to knock off Las Vegas Bishop Gorman (59-52) in tight Sunday semifinal.

In the finale, neither team led by more than seven points in the back-and-forth tussle, with the Knights going up (53-51) on an 18-footer from the right corner from Fletcher Tynen with 1:53 and then the Monarchs tied the score on their next possession via a layup from senior Reagan Lundeen after a high-post pass from freshman Wilhelm Breidenbach 18 seconds later.

Junior guard Josh Vazquez missed on a layup attempt after an inbound pass with 48 seconds remaining, setting the stage for the final Mater Dei possession (the games were played minus a shot clock).

Freedman, a two-time all-Southern Section Open selection who has been bothered by an ankle sprain over the past few weeks, saved his finest performance of the weekend for the title game (10 points, six assists, three rebounds and two steals).

And the Monarchs got exceptional efforts over both days from seniors Michael Wang (21 points in the final after 19 and 21 in the two games) and Harrison Butler (10 points in the title game; 14 Saturday night and eight points and 11 rebounds against Culver City), along with Breidenbach (11 points and six rebounds in the semifinals)

UCLA-committed David Singleton averaged 23.3 points over the three games for the Knights, with 23 points (including four 3s and an “and 1!) and five rebounds in the title game.

In the semifinal win, Fletcher had eight points and 11 rebounds and Vazquez 11 points against Bishop Gorman.

Wang (who hit 10 shots from behind the 3-point arc) was my choice as the event’s Most Outstanding Player and led the 11-player all-tournament selections which were limited to Elite 8 participants.

Pasadena senior Darius Brown tied Singleton as the event’s leading scorer at 23.3.

Other final-game scores in the Elite 8: (third) Bishop Gorman 81, Culver City 61; (fifth) Rancho Christian 77, Pasadena 55; (seventh) Santa Margarita 50, Alemany 49.


Most Outstanding Player

Michael Wang (6-8/Sr./Mater Dei)



Jamel Bey (6-5/Sr./L.V. Bishop Gorman)

Darius Brown (6-1/Sr./Pasadena)

Harrison Butler (6-4/Sr./Mater Dei)

Spencer Freedman (6-0/Sr./Mater Dei)

Gianni Hunt (6-1/Jr./Bishop Montgomery)

Cyrus Johnson (6-4/Sr./Century City)

Evan Mobley (6-9/So./Rancho Christian)

Isaiah Mobley (6-8/Jr./Rancho Christian)

David Singleton (6-4/Sr./Bishop Montgomery)

Fletcher Tynen (6-6/Sr./Bishop Montgomery)

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