A postseason in the CIF Open Division that has been filled with drama and unpredictability continued Saturday night in the Southern California Regional final before a sellout crowd of 4,537 at the Pyramid in Long Beach.
Torrance Bishop Montgomery High kept waiting and waiting for one of its best players, David Singleton, to break loose. Three fouls in the first nine minutes against Santa Ana Mater Dei left him pretty much invisible for nearly three quarters. He finally scored on two free throws with 58 seconds left in the third.
Then he caught fire in the fourth quarter. He made three three-pointers and had 13 points to help Bishop Montgomery defeat Mater Dei, 60-53, to earn a trip to next Saturday's state championship game in Sacramento. The Knights will play Roseville Woodcreek.
"In the fourth quarter, I just wanted to play my game, relax, stay calm, stay confident, trust my shot," Singleton said. "I work on it every day."
Mater Dei trailed by three with 28.2 seconds left when the Monarchs got called for consecutive offensive fouls trying to set screens just past half court. Mater Dei fans were enraged and players weren't happy either.
"I don't think the calls were right," said Justice Sueing, who fouled out after scoring a game-high 21 points. Spencer Freedman had a terrific game for the Monarchs, scoring 16 points.
Rarely does Mater Dei (33-3) lose twice in a season to one team, but Bishop Montgomery (30-2) pulled it off.
"Incredible," Coach Doug Mitchell said.
Bishop Montgomery trailed by only three points going into the fourth quarter despite little offensive production from Singleton and Ethan Thompson, who didn't score his first field goal until 1:47 remained in the third. He also came alive in the fourth and finished with 13 points. Gianni Hunt hit a big three and had 12 points.
Bishop Montgomery came away with a two-point halftime lead after a ragged 16 minutes in which both teams combined for 19 turnovers. Mater Dei failed to take advantage of 25% shooting by the Knights because it committed 12 turnovers.
Both teams suffered from foul trouble. Bol Bol of Mater Dei spent time on the sideline with two fouls. And the Monarchs ended the half by fouling Ethan Thompson 75 feet from the basket with 0.2 of a second left as he tried a desperation shot. He made all three free throws.