Boys Hoops State Team of Year 2017

It wasn’t the first CIF state title for Bishop Montgomery, but this time the Knights won the Open Division and for the first time they are State Team of the Year. Photo: @BMHSKnights/

Bishop Montgomery of Torrance officially goes into the books as state’s best for 2016-17 season after winning CIF Open Division state title. Due to the teams that the Knights beat to finish at the top, such as nationally ranked Sierra Canyon, Mater Dei (twice) and Chino Hills, a case also could be made that they’re one of the best teams ever from the South Bay region of L.A. County. There has been some great ones over the years, however, from there.

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When one thinks about how well this year’s Bishop Montgomery of Torrance basketball team played together and how it got past a quartet of nationally ranked squads to win a CIF state title, it’s easy to start thinking about it in historical terms.

“Best team ever from the South Bay?” it was said aloud on press row as the final seconds were coming off the clock in the Knights’ 74-67 win over Woodcreek of Roseville in last Saturday’s CIF Open Division state final at the Golden 1 Center.

If the South Bay region of Los Angeles County wasn’t the hotbed of talent that it has been over the years, the answer might be a quick, “Yes.”

Dueling Jordans — Jordan Schakel of Bishop Montgomery and Jordan Brown of Woodcreek — go against each other in the CIF state championships. Photo: Willie Eashman.

Schools like Inglewood, Westchester of Los Angeles and others, however, are also from the South Bay. “Wait a minute,” came a second thought. “What about Inglewood 1980? What about all those Westchester teams that won state titles?”

So no, it doesn’t look like it can be claimed that Bishop Montgomery 2017 was that good. But the Knights would have to be in the conversation and are now joining some of those other South Bay teams after being officially added to the list on Monday of Cal-Hi Sports State Teams of the Year.

When the season began, just about all of the national pollsters had the Knights behind Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth and defending CIF Open Division champ Chino Hills, but the Cal-Hi Sports preseason list had them first. That selection looked silly when Montgomery played in the NorCal TipOff Classic and lost 70-63 in its first game to Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland.

In that game, however, standout junior guard Davy Singleton didn’t play with an injury while senior swingman Jordan Schakel was limited with an injury.

With Singleton and Schakel at full-strength and the rest of the Knights’ younger players continuing to improve (especially sophomore guard Gianni Hunt), head coach Doug Mitchell got the group to its peak in the last month of the season.

Entering the CIF Southern Section Open Division, there was no doubt that Bishop Montgomery was only going to be seeded as high as fourth. It wasn’t just the loss to O’Dowd, but the Knights also dropped an MLK weekend contest to nationally ranked Montverde Academy of Florida 73-67. Sierra Canyon’s only loss at that point was in overtime to a Nathan Hale of Seattle, Wash., squad that will end the season as the nation’s No. 1 team. Chino Hills just had the one loss to Oak Hill Academy of Virginia while Mater Dei of Santa Ana just had one loss to Chino Hills but since then had added 7-foot transfer Bol Bol.

It also didn’t look good for the team’s chances heading into the CIFSS semifinals that it had to survive a 57-54 win against Santa Margarita in the quarterfinals.

After that, however, the Knights began to resemble a team that could be the No. 1 team in the state. They knocked off Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth 70-63, went on a 17-2 run in beating Mater Dei 70-55 in the CIFSS Open Division final and then went through Chino Hills (87-80), Mater Dei (60-53) and then Woodcreek to take the Open Division state title. Five of the last six teams that the Knights beat were in the national rankings.

“It actually helped a lot that a lot of those other teams like Sierra Canyon and Chino Hills were getting so much attention,” said Oregon State-bound senior guard Ethan Thompson, the team’s leading scorer. “We played with a chip on our shoulder. We felt we had something to prove.”

Thompson, who was on a CIF divisional state title team as a freshman with older brother Stephen Thompson Jr. and freshman teammate Schakel, led the team with 26 points against Woodcreek, including 17 in the second half.

That team from three years ago was not No. 1 in the state overall, but Thompson’s father, well known at the time as Stevie Thompson, was the top player for Crenshaw of Los Angeles in 1985 and 1986 that is shown as State Team of the Year twice.

Singleton will be a senior returnee next year and one of the top guards on the West Coast. Six-foot-6 junior forward Fletcher Tynen also will be back and had several big games down the stretch.

The only other graduating senior on the roster along with Thompson and Schakel is forward Conor Cole. Those three will be missed, but as long as Mitchell, one of the top coaches in the state (and moving up on the all-time charts as well), continues to teach and coach, Bishop Montgomery isn’t going to be dropping too far anytime soon.

Congratulations to the Knights’ entire roster of players, coaches, parents and fans for having California’s State Team of the Year.

Eli Scott dunks for 35-0 Chino Hills during 2015-16 season. Photo: Mark Bausman/

Cal-Hi Sports Boys Basketball
State Teams of the Year All-Time List

2017 – Torrance Bishop Montgomery (31-2)
2016 – Chino Hills (35-0)
2015 – Oakland Bishop O’Dowd (28-4)
2014 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (35-0)
2013 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2012 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2011 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (32-3)
2010 – Los Angeles Westchester (32-3)
2009 – Los Angeles Westchester (35-2)
2008 – Oakland McClymonds (32-0)
2007 – Lakewood Artesia (33-2)
2006 – Lakewood Artesia (32-1)
2005 – Los Angeles Westchester (25-3)
2004 – Los Angeles Westchester (23-2)
2003 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-2)
2002 – Los Angeles Westchester (32-2)
2001 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (33-2)
2000 – Compton Dominguez (35-2)
1999 – Compton Dominguez (32-3)
1998 – Los Angeles Westchester (29-3)
1997 – North Hollywood Harvard-Westlake (35-1)
1996 – Compton Dominguez (34-2)
1995 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (36-1)
1994 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (29-2)
1993 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (26-2)
1992 – Alameda St. Joseph (32-3)
1991 – Alameda St. Joseph (31-3)
1990 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (34-1)
1989 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (25-2)
1988 – Los Angeles Manual Arts (27-3)
1987 – Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-1)
1986 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (25-2)
1985 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (24-0)
1984 – Long Beach Poly (31-2)
1983 – Los Angeles Crenshaw (27-2)
1982 – Carson (26-2)
1981 – Long Beach Poly (26-2)
1980 – Inglewood (29-0)
1979 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (28-1)
1978 – Pasadena (26-2)
1977 – Oakland Fremont (25-1)
1976 – Long Beach Poly (30-1)
1975 – Elk Grove (27-5)
1974 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (30-2)
1973 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (29-2)
1972 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (30-1)
1971 – Los Angeles Verbum Dei (29-2)
1970 – Berkeley (32-0)
1969 – Compton (30-0)
1968 – Compton (32-0)
1967 – Los Angeles Fremont (16-2)
1966 – Los Angeles Jordan (18-0)
1965 – Long Beach Poly (29-3)
1964 – Long Beach Poly (32-1)
1963 – Oakland McClymonds (19-3)
1962 – Oakland McClymonds (23-0)
1961 – Compton (28-3)
1960 – Oakland McClymonds (22-0)
1959 – Oakland McClymonds (22-0)
1958 – Oakland McClymonds (21-0)
1957 – San Francisco Poly (28-1)
1956 – El Cerrito (31-1)
1955 – Alhambra (27-2)
1954 – San Francisco St. Ignatius (26-2)
1953 – Los Angeles Loyola (34-2)
1952 – Compton (32-0)
1951 – Los Angeles Jefferson (27-0)
1950 – Chico (15-3)
1949 – Los Angeles Washington (21-0)
1948 – San Francisco Lincoln (29-2)
1947 – Los Angeles Mt. Carmel (34-2)
1946 – Stockton (20-2)
1945 – San Diego Hoover (16-1)
1944 – Alameda (15-1)
1943 – San Francisco St. Ignatius (14-0)
1942 – Palo Alto (18-0)
1941 – Glendale Hoover (21-1)
1940 – Long Beach Poly (22-2)
1939 – San Francisco Lowell (17-3)
1938 – Whittier (24-3)
1937 – San Francisco Lowell (17-3)
1936 – San Diego (14-1)
1935 – Santa Barbara (14-1)
1934 – Santa Barbara (16-1)
1933 – Stockton (16-2)
1932 – San Francisco Lowell (18-3)
1931 – Whittier (25-1)
1930 – Palo Alto (13-0)

Note: List continues back to 1903 in Cal-Hi Sports Record Book & Almanac. All selections prior to 1975 made retroactively based on research by our founder, the late Nelson Tennis.

Mark Tennis is the co-founder and publisher of He can be reached at Don’t forget to follow Mark on the Cal-Hi Sports Twitter handle:

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