The very purpose of the CIF Southern Section's Open Division playoff format was served in Saturday's double-overtime semifinal battle between Sierra Canyon and Bishop Montgomery at Cal Baptist.
The two sides matched each other big shot for big shot, big defensive play for big defensive play, but when all was said and done, Trailblazers guard Duane Washington Jr. made two of the biggest plays of the game as Sierra Canyon defeated previously unbeaten Bishop Montgomery 77-74 to advance to the Open Division championship game.
Bishop Montgomery had a 60-57 lead with 4.2 seconds to go in regulation when Cassius Stanley threw a baseball pass the length of the court to Washington.
The Ohio State-bound guard sealed off his defender and corralled the ball in the middle of the paint, sprinted out to the three-point line and drained the tying jumper as time expired.
"We go over a lot of time-and-score situations in practice," Washington said. "We executed how we were supposed to and that play happened the same way in practice one day."
The Knights took a two-point lead at 71-69 with 19.7 seconds left in the first overtime period, but Sierra Canyon (23-3) executed well out of a timeout again as Scotty Pippen Jr. found K.J. Martin for a layup to send the game into double overtime.
Bishop Montgomery's Gianni Hunt, who finished with a game-high 26 points, opened the second overtime with a three-pointer, but the Knights (26-1) didn't score for the final 3:45 and the Trailblazers battled back again.
A basket from Martin gave Sierra Canyon a 75-74 lead before a three-pointer from David Singleton went in-and-out with 30 seconds to play and a three-second differential between the game and shot clock.
Washington stayed patient on the offensive end in anticipation of the Knights fouling, but it never came. Washington attacked with eight seconds left and hit a floater to seal the game and avenge an earlier season defeat.
"That was one of the best games I've ever been a part of," Sierra Canyon coach Andre Chevalier said. "Bishop Montgomery kept fighting and you could see that they weren't going to give up."
Washington finished with a team-high 20 points, while Stanley added 18 and Martin scored 18 to go along with 21 rebounds.
Sierra Canyon moves on to play Mater Dei, which defeated Etiwanda 76-66. The championship game will be played Friday night at the Walter Pyramid on the campus of Long Beach State.
Harvard-Westlake 42, Etiwanda 28: The Wolverines (25-4) played true to their No. 1 seeding and the Eagles (23-5) shot just 17.3% from the field for the game.
Jayda Ruffus-Milner scored 14 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and freshman center Kiki Iriafen added 14 points and 16 rebounds .
Windward 76, Mater Dei 64: Junior guard Charisma Osborne had 25 points as the second-seeded Wildcats (22-3) advanced to the championship game.