Five Takeaways: Bishop Montgomery vs. Etiwanda

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Southern California

Posted On: 02/28/18 7:18 PM

Torrance, Ca. — Thanks to the fine folks of the St. John Bosco and Crespi boys basketball programs for agreeing to play a 5 p.m. game, it allowed for a Open Division playoff “double-dip.”

After watching the Braves beat the Cetls, 72-60, I jumped on the 105 West to the 710 South to the 91 West to the 110 South to the 405 North and on to side streets to the home of the Bishop Montgomery where it hosted Etiwanda in a Southern Section Open Division third-place game.

After missing the first six minutes of the game, or so, it was clear that Bishop Montgomery was on a mission to bounce-back from is double overtime loss to Sierra Canyon in the Open semifinals Saturday.

The Knights (27-1) defeated the Eagles (28-3) pretty handily with a 65-51 decision behind strong performances from junior guard Gianni Hunt, senior wing David Singleton, senior forward Fletcher Tynen and junior guard Josh Vazquez.

Etiwanda was paced by its senior quartet of Kessler Edwards, Elijah Harkless, Krystian Wilson and Mathew Essien.

Five Takeaways

Bishop Montgomery looked locked in despite its tough loss Saturday

You never really know how a team will respond after its 41-game winning streak gets snapped in dramatic fashion like what happened to the Knights Saturday, but Bishop didn’t miss a beat. The Knights shared the baskeball, turned down open looks for better ones, defended their tails off and looked to be having a lot of fun in the process. If Bishop can stay healthy and continue that level of play, I wouldn’t want to see them in the state playoffs.

Bishop Montgomery point guard Gianni Hunt led the Knights to a bounce-back win over Etiwanda.

Gianni Hunt and Josh Vazquez form one of the best backcourt duo’s in SoCal

This isn’t a shocking assertion by any stretch, but the level to which Hunt and Vazquez feed off of one another is worth writing about after every game. What works best between the two is they are both willing and able passers, but can also operate off the ball to throw a completely different look at the opposing defense. Both are improved perimeter shooters, which has opened up the floor for easier drive and kick opportunities.

Nick Schrader is one of the most underrated players in SoCal

Nick Schrader is one of those guys who does everything that doesn’t show up in the box score. He moves well off the ball, sets good screens, flashes to open spots in the defense and makes the correct decision out of the high post or off the wing. He’s best offensively when running the baseline and finishing in the paint. Schrader steps over and takes charges on the defensive end and is very good at hedging and recovering on any ball-screen action he’s put in to.

Aggressive Kessler Edwards is a great Kessler Edwards

There are times when Edwards, Etiwanda’s best player and prospect, goes missing on the offensive end, whether that be due to a lapse of touches or a lapse in aggressiveness. Edwards, a 6-foot-7 wing, was quick to pull the trigger from 3-point range Tuesday and he connected on three of them, which helped the Eagles climb back into the game momentarily midway through the third quarter. Edwards, who is currently signed with Pepperdine, could be an interesting late add if he opts out of his NLI after the Waves announced head coach Marty Wilson wouldn’t be back after this season.

Elijah Harkless is one of the best competitors in the area

Harkless plays with a reckless abandon that might turn off some people, but once you look past that, you can see that the unsigned senior is just trying to do everything he can to win. The 6-foot-3 guard has impressive natural feel for the game, freakish athleticism and burst and eyes passing lanes that few others can see. Harkless will benefit a lot by improving his perimeter shooting, which will open up the rest of the floor for him.