LOS ANGELES, Calif. — The memories of the Ball Brothers slicing and dicing the heralded Mater Dei boys basketball team to 48-point defeat almost a year ago to the date is are a little less vivid now.
No. 13 Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.) upset No. 10 Chino Hills 83-80 in overtime Friday night in a CIF-SS Open Division semifinal in front of an electric, sold out Galen Center crowd of 10,258.
The Monarchs advance to play Torrance Bishop Montgomery next Saturday night in the Open Division semifinals.
This was the first time that Chino Hills lost to a Southern California opponent since falling to the Monarchs, 73-62, in the 2015 CIF-SS Open Division quarterfinals.
Mater Dei (31-1) also avenged a loss to Chino Hills (29-2) earlier this season in the Tarkanian Classic Platinum Division championship game on Dec. 20.
One of the biggest differences, both literally and figuratively, from the Dec. 20 matchup compared to Friday night was an obvious one, according to Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight and just about everyone else with eyes, was the presence of 7-foot-2 center Bol Bol.
“Funny how a 7-foot-2 guy alters things,” McKnight said. “He’s just getting better and better. He blocks shots and played the whole game. He definitely gives us a different look than back (in December).”
Bol was contesting everything around the basket, making it difficult for the Huskies to get good looks around the rim, and forcing them to settle for tough, contested 3-pointers.
The defensive reinforcements led to Chino Hills shooting just 28.3 percent (26-for-85) from the field for the game.
LiAngelo Ball (9-for-32) and LaMelo Ball (8-for-33) combined to shoot just 26.2 percent from the field, including 13-for-46 for 3-point range.
Matt Weyand, a four-year varsity player at Mater Dei, was the key component defensively against the Ball brothers, according to McKnight.
“Weyand was just outstanding defensively out there,” he said. “He didn’t score a lot of points, he did a fantastic job against the Balls.”
Somehow, despite the lackluster shot selection and percentage, Chino Hills managed to take a 72-66 lead on back-to-back 3-pointers from LiAngelo and Ofure Ujadughele with 4:25 to play.
Mater Dei tied the game at 72 on a free throw from Justice Sueing with under 30 seconds to play and the game went to overtime after LaMelo Ball missed a deep 3-point attempt.
The Monarchs stormed out to a six-point lead in the first few minutes of overtime on a thunderous dunk through contact from Harrison Butler, which resulted in a foul and three-point play and a transition layup from Butler on a nice pass lead-pass from Spencer Freedman.
Chino Hills reclaimed a one-point lead, 79-78, on a 3-pointer from LiAngelo Ball and a jump shot from Onyeka Okongwu with 1:29 to play.
Mater Dei held an 81-80 lead when Freedman was fouled with 9.5 seconds to go. The junior point guard calmly stepped to the line and knocked down the pair of free throws.
LiAngelo Ball missed the potential game-tying 3-pointer and the ball went up and over the backboard and out of bounds with a second left on the clock.
Freedman said that there was nothing going though his mind when he iced the game.
“It just looked like an empty gym, honestly,” he said. “I’ve taken millions of free throws, and I missed a couple earlier, so the law of averages said I had to make two of them.”
Sueing finished with 25 points to lead Mater Dei. Freedman added 17 points and nine assists, while Bol finished with 14 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks.
LaMelo Ball scored a game-high 28 points for Chino Hills. LiAngelo Ball added 26 and Elizjah Scott pulled down a game-high 21 rebounds.