#12 Knights Defeat #2 Sierra Canyon Trailblazers
By Guest Contributor
LOS ANGELES, FEBRUARY 26, 2017 – Last Friday night, February 24, 2017, at the USC Galen Center in front of a crowd of 10,258 fans, #12 Bishop Montgomery Knights shocked America’s High School Basketball Nation beating #2 Sierra Canyon Trailblazers 70-63 in what some are calling one of the biggest upsets in CIF Basketball Playoff history. With Sierra Canyon ranked #1 in CA and Bishop ranked #4 no one except maybe the players themselves ever thought Bishop could overcome last year’s loss to the Trailblazers in a personal battle of former teammates from the AAU youth powerhouse squad, “CALI STYLE”; including Bishop’s David Singleton, III and Ethan Thompson with Sierra Canyon’s Cody Riley, Mike Feinberg, Adam Seiko, Terrance McBride and Remy Martin. Some may recall Singleton left the AAU squad on a controversial note after leading that team to countless victories and 3 National Titles (one 2nd place and two 5th places).
It was time for not only revenge from last year’s loss in the CIF-SS City Semi-Finals for Bishop but it was also time to remind all adversaries that the “so-called” overrated Knights have earned every ranking, every win, every National spotlight that the team, the players and its Coaching Staff led by Coach Doug Mitchell, have received. Bishop’s “Big Three” includes Senior Forward, Jordan Schakel a San Diego State University commit who ended up strong in the fourth bringing 15 of his 20 points that quarter; Senior Guard Ethan Thompson, soon to join his Father and Brother at OSU had the team high of 21 points as he continues to show previews of what he will add to the Beaver’s repertoire; and then there is heavily recruited Junior Guard David Singleton, III, considered by many HS sports analysts to be PAC-12’s biggest kept secret.
With offers from Arizona, USC, Oregon, ASU, Gonzaga, UNLV and interest from UCLA, Stanford, CAL, and Grand Canyon, the West Coast is all too familiar with his game. East Coast offers include UCONN, Coached by Kevin Ollie, a native of Los Angeles, and Penn, an Ivy League school that has offered Singleton partly because of his 4.1 GPA. Singleton who recently was recognized as 1 of 5 key players to watch by USA Today for his work in the Naismith HS Hoophall Classic against Montverde is #11 on ESPN National, #2 on ESPN CA State 2018 Shooting Guard Rankings. What has been overlooked or perhaps forgotten about Singleton, by Sierra Canyon not only stacked with his former youth AAU teammates; but who are also coached by his former AAU Coach Ty Nichols, is his ability to facilitate and rotate the ball. Singleton start playing basketball at 3 ½ years old as a point guard and by 10 years old had become, perhaps one the most dominate point guard of his youth era leading his AAU squad to a record of 110-6 in just three seasons.
The Knights came out on fire in the first quarter of this year’s Semis on a 20-4 run against the Trailblazers to set the tone that if SC wanted it, they were going to have to fight for it and that they did. However, Singleton collected 7 of his 11 points early in the first including a 3 from both him and teammate Sophomore Guard Josh Vazquez and a quick 6 points in the paint from Thompson. An early lead coupled with the renowned tenacious team defense, Bishop kept the #1 2018 Recruit Marvin Bagley from dominating the paint (scoring most of his 28pts from the outside) and former teammate Cody Riley to 5 points in the entire game. Singleton quickly realized that he had to get others involved to win this game, he found his teammates in perfect positions. Capitalizing on the offensive dominance of not only Schakel and Thompson, Singleton facilitated 8 assists worth 20+ points to include teammates Fletcher Tynen, Gianni Hunt and Will Crawford as well as adding 5 rebounds this game.
The Lead Guard skills of Singleton may have been forgotten by most because of his shooting ability as the MaxPrep All-American put up 210 points in 3s alone last year but the Knights use David’s versatility when needed. This year’s all-around stats, as Singleton has gotten bigger, better, stronger and faster; include 18 steals, 69 rebounds, and 62 assists. Southern Cal’s Open Division Championship is scheduled for Saturday, March 4th and with the upset of Mater Dei against Chino Hills, former AAU teammate Spencer Freedman cannot afford to have amnesia when it comes to what Singleton can do on the ball.