Saturday was an eventful day of championship basketball at the Honda Center that saw several teams capture rings. Colony defeated Villa Park in the division 2AA championship to start the action off, while Capistrano Valley took down the No. 1 seed, Oxnard, in the 2A title matchup. In the nightcap, Bishop Montgomery emerged victorious in a clash with Mater Dei for the Open Division Southern Section championship.
Colony vs. Villa Park
The 2AA division title game featured Colony taking on Villa Park in what turned out to be a tightly contested contest. Villa Park fought hard the entire game, but Colony’s 36 to 27 advantage in rebounding proved to be the difference in a 74-70 final.
Rodrick McCobb dominated with 19 points and 9 rebounds for Colony, and Sedrick Altman stepped up as well with 16 points.
“I wasn’t too worried about points, I was worried about getting the win, that’s what we’ve been preaching all year,” McCobb said.
“I came up big for my team being a leader.” Altman added, “I just had to try to not make the moment bigger than what it is.”
Villa Park was led by Caleb Banuelos (20 points) and Myles Franklin (16 points). Franklin reflected on his team’s loss, saying, “they sped us up a lot, but they weren’t anything crazy compared to some of the teams we’ve played this year.” He added, “they did a good job of trying to get us out of our offense and out of rhythm.”
After a competitive first half, Colony took a 36-29 lead into the third quarter but were resisted by an explosive Villa Park run. Villa Park came out of the break controlled and focused, playing very aggressive. Banuelos knocked in a big time three-pointer to give Villa Park a 51-46 lead with two minutes left, and seemed to have stolen all momentum. Colony responded well after getting punched in the mouth, but still found themselves down 55-53 after three quarters.
In an intense, back and forth fourth quarter, Colony initially stole back the lead due to the play of McCobb. Banuelos hit several big shots for Villa Park, and both teams were playing hard.
After trading several baskets, Colony got a few stops and then sealed their championship win on two-made Jozelle Carter Jr. free throws.
Capistrano Valley vs. Oxnard
“I know a lot of people are probably saying that’s the ugliest CIF championship game in history, but I thought it was the most beautiful one,” Capistrano Valley head coach Brian Mulligan perfectly summed up the events of the first afternoon boys CIF Final as his team was successful in taking down the No. 1 seed in their 2A division, Oxnard.
Capo played incredible defense from start to finish, winning the championship by a final score of 41-31. If you love to watch high scoring basketball, this was certainly not the game for you.
Defense rained supreme throughout the game, as Mulligan alluded to.
“These guys, the defense they played, unbelievable.” He added, “we had trouble putting the ball in the basket, because they play really good defense too.”
Dawson Baker poured in 25 points for Capo, almost matching Oxnard’s total, and Grayson Beeman provided loads of energy as well.
“I tried to stay aggressive and continue to do some of the things I know I can do, drive to the hole and make things happen,” Baker said.
Beeman added, “I know how much this meant to us, and I gave it my all.”
Oxnard was led by Brycen Wight (11 points) and Mason Johnson (9 points), and as a unit they just couldn’t seem to score. For the game, Oxnard shot just 24 percent from the field, and 10 percent from the three-point line.
Bishop Montgomery vs. Mater Dei
Under the bright Saturday night lights of the Honda Center in arguably high school basketball’s toughest division, the Southern Section Open, Mater Dei fell in an epic clash with Bishop Montgomery.
Coming off an emotional victory in last week’s semifinal against Chino Hills, Mater Dei was tasked with the challenge of trying to refocus for the championship against a very good Bishop Montgomery team. Led by Ethan Thompson (23 points), David Singleton (21 points), and Jordan Schakel (16 points), Montgomery beat Mater Dei 70-55.
Thompson got into foul trouble late, but head coach Doug Mitchell trusted his star player to stay away from that fourth foul.
“Every time out I just said Ethan, we got four,” said Mitchell.
To bring the house down, with the game all but over, Thompson skied for a fast break, 360 slam dunk.
“It was just a great feeling, I was on the fast break by myself and I just tried it, I’m glad I made it,” he said.
Ethan Thompson ( @_ethanthompson5 ) sure showed off when scoring the final point for Bishop Montgomery to clench the OPEN DIVISION W 🔥💯 pic.twitter.com/Yd64dfIPRE
— CIF Southern Section (@CIFSS) March 5, 2017
David Singleton was ecstatic about capturing a CIF ring, saying, “it feels great, I wanted to win not only for myself but for my team, especially the seniors.”
On the losing side, Spencer Freedman (10 points) and Justice Sueing (11 points) starred for Mater Dei, who came so close to capturing a championship. Bol didn’t start for the Monarchs because of a late arrival to the Honda Center, due to a late Uber, but still scored 15 points and grabbed 7 boards.
Head coach Gary McKnight discussed what went wrong for his team down the stretch, saying, “we had that six or seven-point lead, we could’ve expanded on that by getting a few stops.”
“Instead I thought we just tried not to lose, and we stood around a lot.” Freedman added. “They [Montgomery] hit nine 3-pointers, had 4 more rebounds than us, same amount of turnovers, shot a few more free throws than us, but I just think that they made more shots than us.”
Mater Dei had a 44-38 advantage heading into the fourth quarter, but simply fell apart down the stretch. After three Thompson-made free throws to tie it at 51, the Montgomery star added to his mixtape with a nifty crossover into the lane and posterizing flush over MD’s 7-foot-2 Bol Bol, giving Bishop a two-point advantage. After a gigantic Jordan Schakel three and several stops extended Montgomery’s lead, Mater Dei was finished.
2017 CIF SS Finals: Honda Center Results:
Girls-Division 3AA: Thousand Oaks 62, Glendora 52
Boys-Division 2AA: Villa Park 74, Colony 70
Girls-Division 1AA: Valencia 50, Canyon 45
Boys-Division 2A: Capistrano Valley 41, Oxnard 31
Boys-Open Division: Bishop Montgomery 70, Mater Dei 55
Girls-Open Division: Long Beach Poly 68, Harvard Westlake 50