Bishop Montgomery High's boys' basketball team took it to Moreau Catholic High, 85-44, in a record setting 41-point winning margin for the California State Division IV championship last Saturday at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento.
The margin of victory eclipsed the previous records of 36, also set in Division IV, by Santa Monica Crossroads over Sacramento Encina, 93-57, in 1997 and in 2007 by North Hollywood Campbell Hall, 70-34 against Santa Rosa Cardinal Newman. Both of those squads included current National Basketball Association players Baron Davis (Crossroads) and Jrue Holiday (Campbell Hall).
The Knights win also took their frustrations out of their 65-64 Division IV title loss to Richmond Salesian five years ago.
Bishop Montgomery started to break the game open late in the first quarter where it grabbed a 17-9 lead. From there, the Mariners proved to be no match for the small, young, but quick Knights. They stretched their advantage to 17 (36-19) by halftime, 30 (62-32) after three periods, and continued to pour it on Moreau Catholic from Hayward from there.
Bishop Montgomery was led by Stephen Thompson, Jr.with a game-high 20 points, four assists and three steals. Stephen, Jr. is the older son of ex-Crenshaw High standout Stephen Thompson, Sr. who keyed the Cougars to state Divsision I crowns in 1985 and 1986. Stephen, Sr. went on to play at Syracuse University and in the NBA, mostly with the Sacramento Kings.
Stephen, Jr.'s freshman brother, Ethan, added 14 points and five rebounds. Justin Bibbins, the team's only senior, contributed 12 points, nine rebounds and four assists.
Bishop Montgomery also had a small team with no player over 6-feet-5 in Blake Miles, who had a spectacular fourth quarter dunk.
"We're small but we had to battle," Bibbins said. "This was a great group. I've never played with a group of guys that are so cool."
The win ended the Knights' season at 28-6 and they are hoping to even play in the California State Open Division playoffs and be able to battle with the likes of powerful Santa Ana Mater Dei next season. Last Saturday at the Sleep Train Arena, the Monarchs won their fourth consecutive state Open Division title over Oakland Bishop O' Dowd, 71-61. Mater Dei was led by three-time all-American and University of Arizona-bound Stanley Johnson.
Bishop Montgomery played in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division, splitting its four games for a consolation runner-up finish. The Knights lost in the consolation final at Sierra Canyon in Chatsworth, 66-62. Sierra Canyon was the top seed, while Bishop Montgomery was seeded No. 2 in the Southern California Regional Division II playoffs. The Trailblazers, however, lost in the semifinals to Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart and the Knights went on to top the Cardinals, 66-56, for the regional Division IV crown on March 22 at Colony High in Ontario.
One of Bishop Montgomery's Southern Section Open Division wins was against Bellflower St. John Bosco, 64-63. The Braves went on to win the state Division II championship over Folsom, 63-54, Saturday at the Sleep Train Arena.
The Northern California champion Mariners had just one player score in double figures in sophomore Oscar Fryar with 12 points.
Final Snyder South Bay Basketball Top 10:
Boys: 1. Bishop Montgomery, 2. Westchester, 3. Redondo, 4. Serra, 5. Narbonne, 6. Inglewood, 7. Peninsula, 8. Palos Verdes, 9. Mira Costa, 10. Mira Costa.
Girls: 1. Serra, 2. West Torrance, 3. Bishop Montgomery, 4. Narbonne, 5. Culver City, 6. Mira Costa, 7. Inglewood, 8. Redondo, 9. Peninsula, 10. North Torrance.