Unlike the girls, there was no stunning upset for the ages on the boys side in Tuesday’s CIF Open Division regional semifinals. Top-ranked Chino Hills and Bishop Montgomery will play for the second time this season as No. 1 and No. 2 teams in the state on Saturday while the top two seeds in the north also won on Tuesday.
For more on the big upset suffered by girls No. 1 St. Mary’s (Stockton), CLICK HERE.
One great scenario many were hoping for in this year’s two back-to-back CIF Open Division state finals coming up on March 26 in Sacramento was to watch one boys unbeaten team and one girls unbeaten team, both ranked No. 1 in the nation, try to end their seasons with state championships.
While the St. Mary’s of Stockton girls saw their part in that possibility get ruined in a Tuesday upset, the Chino Hills boys certainly did not. The Huskies (33-0) defeated Foothills Christian of El Cajon 82-62 on Tuesday at Colony High (Ontario) and will now play Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in Saturday’s CIF Southern California Open Division final at The Pyramid in Long Beach.
It wasn’t a great night of shooting for the Ball brothers, but senior Lonzo Ball had 23 points and freshman Onyeka Okongwu had a big game with 19 points and 11 rebounds. Okongwu battled Foothills Christian big man T.J. Leaf throughout and Leaf kept the Knights close until the fourth quarter, finishing with 34 points.
Foothills Christian (25-5), which was ranked No. 3 in the state coming in, saw an end to the great career of Leaf. He ended with 3,022 points, which looks like will land him No. 7 on the Cal-Hi Sports all-time state career list. He will play next at UCLA and Lonzo Ball will be there as well.
In the other SoCal Open Division semi, Bishop Montgomery (28-2) outlasted Cathedral Catholic of San Diego 72-56. The Knights, who moved up to No. 2 in this week’s state rankings after previous No. 2 Sierra Canyon had been upset by Cathedral Catholic last Friday, will now play Chino Hills in a No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the state matchup for the second time this season. They lost 71-67 in a game played Jan. 30 at Cerritos College.
A 19-4 run to start the fourth quarter sealed the win for Bishop Montgomery, which was led by David Singleton with 22 points and Jordan Schakel with 21.
Cathedral Catholic, which finished 21-7 and was No. 9 in the state, got 23 points from 6-foot-10 junior center Brandon McCoy.
NorCal Open Division:
Modesto Christian, De La Salle Win
It hasn’t been a picnic for either Modesto Christian or De La Salle of Concord to reach the CIF Northern California Open Division championship that will be played Saturday at Sleep Train Arena.
For the Crusaders, who have been ranked just above DLS in the Cal-Hi Sports State Top 20 at No. 6 compared to No. 7 for being on a longer winning streak and having avenged their only loss, had to survive an overtime game on Tuesday night. They pulled away in that extra session, however, and defeated Sheldon of Sacramento 61-49.
Modesto Christian (32-1) went on a 22-0 run in the third and fourth quarter to erase a 14-point deficit and take a 41-33 lead. Nico Rojas had 16 points and seven rebounds while Jay Chen made seven of eight from the line in the late going and had 10 points.
Sheldon (23-6), which was No. 13 in the state, received 15 points from Drew Cobb.
The Spartans, who are actually seeded No. 1 in the bracket ahead of Modesto Christian at No. 2, they didn’t need overtime on Tuesday night to beat Sacramento 63-56. They did require the extra time, however, in their first round game last Friday to get past Salesian of Richmond.
Solomon Young had another strong outing for Sacramento (30-2) with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but the Dragons (No. 8 in the state) never quite got going against De La Salle’s rigid defense. The Spartans (30-2) were led by Jordan Ratinho and Emeka Udenyi with 20 and 19 points, respectively.