The Bishop Montgomery Knights were able to slow down the offensive onslaught of the Chino Hills Huskies as they won 87-80 in a game held at El Camino College. LaMelo Ball finished with 14 points, nine rebounds, and nine assists while LiAngelo Ball dropped 25 for Chino. Ethan Thompson had 23 points and 10 rebounds while David Singleton had 25.
The game started fast for the Knights after a delay because of shot clock malfunctions. They jumped out to a 17-6 lead and forced the Huskies to call a timeout. Thompson and Fletcher Tynen scored some easy baskets off penetration. Chino would answer the bell with an 18-6 run to make it 24-23. LiAngelo had it going as he hit a crazy windmill layup and knocked down a fade away three-pointer off the glass.
Both teams got cold in the second quarter and this was a point where the Knights established a slow pace, which frustrated Chino. Bishop only scored 13 points in the quarter as there was a lid on their end, but the slow pace benefitted them. At the half, Chino led with the scoreboard showing 40-39. Scott and LiAngelo combined for 29 for Chino as Thompson paced Bishop with 10.
The intensity of the game picked up in the second half as both teams knew they had a shot at advancing. LaMelo and Gianni Hunt we’re going back and forth exchanging words as neither of them was willing to back down. Both coaches barked their orders to their players more often and the fans from Bishop were going wild. LaMelo hit tough shots including a deadly three where he took some time to marvel at his work as he held his form. It felt as though the Huskies would take momentum, but the Knights finished the quarter strong and led 60-55.
The pace picked up in the fourth as Chino played with a sense of urgency. Elizjah Scott hit the glass hard and found easy buckets for Chino. He finished with 24 points and 19 rebounds! Singleton and Thompson would not be denied as they were as cool as cucumbers all night finishing around the rack. Their point guard, Hunt, set them up nicely with good passes and he made sure LaMelo had a bad night shooting. He embraced the big time matchup and scored 14 himself. He talked about going against LaMelo. Most notably, he recognized LaMelo is a top prospect in the 2019 class, but he believes he is on his level.
“I like that, I like the competitive nature it’s what gets me going. That just added more fuel to the fire and more motivation,” stated Hunt.
The final horn blew and Bishop celebrated their victory. After losing both contests last year to Chino, they were able to win and advance to the semi-finals of state to play Mater Dei. They got a great lift off the bench from super-sub Josh Vazquez. Coach Doug Mitchell talked about his performance.
“He was really calm under pressure. He gave us good minutes,” said the Knights coach. “I thought a lot of people wouldn’t notice that, but I thought he gave us really good minutes tonight.”
This Knights team was really focused and made sure they honed in on the fine details to beat the Huskies who play a fast pace. Chino had scored 130 in their last game and Bishop held them to 80 by making sure they got back on defense and kept fresh bodies on the court to thwart the Ball brothers. The Knights were hyped after a big win, but Thompson noted that after tonight they will shift their attention to the next game.
The game against Mater Dei will be a rematch for Bishop as the Knights beat the Monarchs in the CIF Finals just a few weeks ago. Only this time, a spot in the California State Finals is on the line.