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Mater Dei loses to Bishop Montgomery in bizarre fashion
LONG BEACH – Mater Dei’s quest for a 12th boys basketball state championship ended with one of the more bizarre losses in the school’s spectacular boys basketball history.
The Monarchs lost to Bishop Montgomery of Torrance, 60-53, Saturday in the CIF Southern California Regionals Open Division championship game at the Pyramid at Long Beach State.
Mater Dei’s Matt Weyand was called for two illegal screens in the final 25 seconds. Monarchs 7-foot junior center Bol Bol and the team's leading scorer did not take a shot until the fourth quarter.
Mater Dei finished the season with a 33-3 record. The Monarchs also lost to Bishop Montgomery on March 4 in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division championship game, 70-55.
Bishop Montgomery coach Doug Mitchell was impressed that his team beat Mater Dei twice in the same season.
“They don’t (lose) to the same team very often,” Mitchell said.
It had been a while since Mater Dei lost to a team twice in a season. The previous team that did so was Artesia of Lakewood in the 2005-06 season.
Bishop Montgomery (30-2), ranked No. 1 in California by CalHiSports.com, will play Woodcreek of Roseville (32-2) in the CIF State Championship game Saturday in Sacramento. Woodcreek defeated Sheldon of Sacramento in the CIF Northern California final.
Justice Sueing was by far Mater Dei’s most effective player Saturday. Sueing, a 6-7 senior forward who signed with Cal, scored a game-high 21 points with a game-high 11 rebounds.
Mater Dei junior point guard Spencer Freedman scored 16 points. Sueing and Freedman were the Monarchs' only players with more than four points.
Bol finished with four points, making two of his three fourth-quarter shots. He missed stretches of the game because of foul trouble.
Bishop Montgomery junior guard David Singleton scored 15 points, 13 of them in the fourth quarter. He sat out much of the first half after getting his third foul in the opening seconds of the second quarter.
Ethan Thompson, perhaps the Knights’ best player, was 0 for 9 shooting in the first half. He wound up with 13 points, seven of which came at the free throw line.
Mater Dei shot better than Bishop Montgomery. The Monarchs were 39 percent from the field. Bishop Montgomery was 33 percent.
“It was kind of a gut check win for us,” Mitchell said.
Mater Dei took a 36-33 lead into the fourth quarter. Singleton made a 3-pointer to tie it, 36-36, then scored on an offensive rebound and soon added another 3. That second 3 put Bishop Montgomery on top for good, 41-38.
Freedman led a late Mater Dei rally. He made two free throws with 48 seconds left to trim the Bishop Montgomery lead to 55-51, and followed with a steal for layup that made it 55-53.
After Thompson made one of two free throws to nudge the Knights advantage to three points, Weyand was called for an illegal screen. Singleton made the two resulting free throws for a 58-53 lead.
As Freedman dribbled into the front court, Weyand was whistled for the second illegal screen with 18 seconds to go. Bishop Montgomery’s Jordan Schakel made the two free throws off of that to create the final 60-53 margin.
Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight declined to talk to the media after the game. Mitchell, though, had no qualms about the illegal-screen calls
“I thought he (Weyand) was moving on both of them, going forward,” Mitchell said.
Mater Dei is 16-8 in regional championship games. The Monarchs' 16 regional titles are the most in California basketball history.
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