In a gym that was filled to capacity to see the No. 1 high school basketball team in California, Torrance Bishop Montgomery gave its fans every indication that the best is yet to come.
Opening the Southern Section Open Division playoffs healthy and at full strength for the first time this season, the Knights routed Bellflower St. John Bosco 60-43 on Friday night to improve to 26-0.
David Singleton scored 17 points, Josh Vazquez 14 and Fletcher Tynen 10.
"It's hard to find something they don't do well," St. John Bosco coach Matt Dunn said.
St. John Bosco (21-7) was no first-round pushover. The Braves owned wins over Open Division teams Santa Ana Mater Dei, Santa Margarita, Encino Crespi and Rancho Christian. And they played well, which tells you plenty about what makes Bishop Montgomery so impressive.
When the Knights opened a 29-11 lead in the second quarter, everything was clicking.
There were precision, unselfish passes on offense.
There was the usual stifling defense in which every player helps the other when needed.
There were no easy shots for the Braves.
Watching it all was veteran coach Doug Mitchell, who has waited months to have the depth and options he finally has after the return from injuries of Gianni Hunt, Will Crawford and Oscar Lopez.
At one point in the fourth quarter, Lopez scored seven consecutive points.
"Our energy was good, and we defended and rebounded," Mitchell said. "It's starting to come. We looked more like I thought we would."
Josh Adoh scored 15 points for St. John Bosco, which got as close as 13 points in the second half.
"They played as good a schedule as anybody," Mitchell said. "That's why I feel good."
Bishop Montgomery's home crowd was loud and enthusiastic, something that helped the Knights at this same time last season when they surged to win Open Division section and state titles.
"We appreciate our crowd," Singleton said. "They feed off our energy, and we feed off them."
The Open Division was reduced from 16 teams to eight this season, and the opening matchups featured some grueling games.
No. 2-seeded Etiwanda came away with a 67-62 win over Santa Margarita. Kessler Edwards scored 18 points. Jake Kyman led Santa Margarita with 22 points.
No. 5 Chatsworth Sierra Canyon went on the road to defeat No. 4 Rancho Christian 83-79. Cassius Stanley scored 27 points, Scotty Pippen 22 and KJ Martin 18.
No. 3 Mater Dei defeated No. 6 Crespi 63-53. Harvard-bound Spencer Freedman scored 16 points for Mater Dei. Arizona-bound Brandon Williams scored 15 points for Crespi.
The semifinals at Cal Baptist in Riverside on Feb. 24 will match Bishop Montgomery against Sierra Canyon and Etiwanda against Mater Dei.