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Bishop Montgomery surges late to win Southern Section Open Division boys' basketball title

David Singleton slammed the ball down under his basket in celebratory fashion while running toward the rabidly cheering Bishop Montgomery student section.

The Knights had just secured a Southern Section Open Division boys’ basketball championship with a 70-55 decision over Mater Dei on Saturday night at Honda Center.

No one on Bishop Montgomery may have noticed amid the hugs, smiles and high-fives, but the ball Singleton slammed down ended up dropping perfectly through the net.

That was just the kind of second half it was for Bishop Montgomery.

The Knights (27-2) trailed the Monarchs, 51-48, midway through the fourth quarter, before Ethan Thompson was fouled on a three-point shot, connecting on all three to tie it at 51 with 4:40 left.

Thompson, who finished with a game-high 23 points, then lost a defender with left-to-right crossover dribble and dunked on Mater Dei’s 7-foot-2 center, Bol Bol, sending the Bishop Montgomery fans into a frenzy.

“I just saw the rim and tried to put the ball in the basket,” Thompson said. “The fans got really loud and went crazy”

The party didn’t stop from that point forward. The Knights turned that 53-51 advantage into an 11-point lead, 62-51, on three-pointers from Jordan Schakel and Gianni Hunt and a three-point play from Singleton with 2:13 to go.

“We played with a lot of heart,” Bishop Montgomery coach Doug Mitchell said. “We hit a cold spell where we couldn’t get any shots to go down, but the guys kept playing through it.”

Mater Dei (31-2) held a six-point lead, 46-40, early in the fourth quarter, but couldn’t slow down Bishop Montgomery’s scoring onslaught.

“We got that six-point lead and tried not to lose,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. “We just lost our aggressiveness.”

Thompson capped the win with a flashy 360 dunk in transition.

Bishop Montgomery claimed the top overall seed in the State Open Division Southern Regionals beginning this week.

Singleton added 21 points for the Knights, while Schakel finished with 16.

Bol paced Mater Dei with 15 points. Justice Sueinng finished with 11, and Spencer Freedman added 10.

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