With time winding down in regulation and a packed Galen Center on its feet, LaMelo Ball launched a three as time expired but his shot missed, sending the game into overtime.
Mater Dei scored the first six points in overtime but Chino Hills came back to tie it, 79-79. Spencer Freedmen made two free throws with nine seconds left to give Mater Dei a 83-80 win over Chino Hills in the CIF-SS Open Division semifinal on Friday night.
“I’m proud of the way our team battled back in the second half,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. “They were killing us on the boards in the first half.”
The highly anticipated matchup got off to a fast start as LaMelo Ball scored 11 points in the first quarter. Freedman matched Ball with 11 points also to give the Monarchs a 22-21 lead in the first quarter.
“We played a great team in an unbelievable environment,” Freedman said. “We knew we had to bring our A game against them.”
Chino Hills settled for too many outside shots in the second half. The new man in the middle made a difference as the Huskies could not find an open lane. Bol Bol finished with 14 points and 15 rebounds while adding five blocks.
Justice Sueing led the Monarchs with 25 points while Freedman finished with 17 points and nine assists.
“There style of play is difficult to go against,” McKnight said. “It’s a pretty good rivalry.”
Mater Dei will play Bishop Montgomery for the CIF-SS Open Division championship on March 4 at the Honda Center.