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CIF-SS Div. III-AA Finals: Bishop Montgomery
vs. Compton Centennial--(Mar. 3, 2000)

Who: No. 1 Bishop Montgomery (23-5) v. No. 7 Compton Centennial (17-11)
Where:  Loyola Marymount University
What: CIF Southern Section Division III-AA Championship
Time:  8:30 p.m.
Date:  March 3, 2000

A lot has happened since we previewed both of these teams at the beginning of the season.  Bishop Montgomery, at 23-5 has fulfilled just about every expectation, winning the Del Rey League, earning success and admiration, maybe even a little envy from most of their opponents, and knocking off some huge opponents along the way, including beating Fresno Washington Union by 22 points and virtually shutting down the consensus No. 1 player on the West Coast in this year's senior class, McDonald's All-American and Kansas-bound DeShawn Stevenson.  The Knights have done it with their relentless running, quickness and pure athletic ability, and the fact that Coach Doug Mitchell has had two All-Americans of his own, twins Errick Craven (6'-2" Sr. G) and Derrick Craven (6'-2" Sr. G) sure hasn't hurt. 

Centennial turned out just a little differently than everyone thought they would at the beginning of the season.  Gone is Omar Weaver (6'-7" Sr. SG/SF) who transferred to the school over the summer from Washington D.C.   The Apaches also had to forfeit five regular season games due to some foul ups with paperwork on some of their transfer players.   But even with the forfeits, Coach Rod Palmer has pulled off some good wins this year over some tough teams, including league Rivals Redondo, Santa Monica and some other quality teams like Bellarmine Prep and City Section finalist Westchester.  They've also played some other tough teams, including Mater Dei, losing 53-63, Fontana (a win at 60-48), and Centennial Corona (another 2win at 73-65).

If you're looking for an all-out war, and a fast paced game with excellent big men, and quick, high scoring guards, then this is a game you don't want to miss.  Here's a look at the rosters:

Bishop Montgomery Knights Compton Centennial Apaches
Derrick Craven   6'-2" Jr. G
Brian Pruitt   6'-6" Sr. C
Daniel Fynaardt   6'-1" Sr. G
Leland Dodd   6'-2" Jr. F
Brandon Peace   6'-0" Fr. G
Kenny D'Oyen   5'-9" Jr. G
Ian Salisbury   6'-0" Sr. G
Craig Caldwell   6'-2" Jr. F
Devaughn Peace   6'-3" Jr. G
Errick Craven  6'-2" Jr. G
Fred Washington 6'-3" Fr. F
Jamaar Sloan   5'-9" So. G
Ellis Myles   6'-8" Sr. F
Eric Alvarez   5'-10" Sr. G
Deon Davis   6'-4" Sr. G
Timothy Eli   6'-6" Jr. F
Sterling Byrd   6'-5" So. F
Jonathan Smith   5'-8" So. G
Donny Joubert   6'-2" Sr. G/F
Greg Goodin   56'-2" Sr. G
Kellen Buffington   5'-11" Sr. G
Anthony Coleman   6'-10" Sr. F
Jamaal Barnes   6'-4" Jr. G/F
Eric Ratleff   6'-2" Jr. G

Bishop Montgomery  comes into this game having beaten Morningside by just four points, 62-58, but the Craven's did exactly what they've been doing all year, as Errick scored 26 points, and Derrick contributed his double digit total as well.  These are two of the most athletic, quickest, best ball-handling guards you're likely to see anywhere at the high school level, and we've said before that they're the only two guys we'd actually pay money to see play at this level, and that's saying a lot (especially since we don't have to pay with a media pass).  Errick is averaging 20 ppg and Derrick is averaging 17.  They'll be matched up against guys like Eric Alvarez, who is averaging 11 ppg but is also probably dishing out 8 or 9 assists each game, and against Jamaal Barnes who is averaging 14.8 ppg during the regular season.

While both teams like to run and gun, the real advantage will be with Centennial down on the low blocks: Brian Pruitt is a banger and a pure wide-body football player at about 240 lbs, but Compton will no doubt put Ellis Myles on him, which should free up Anthony Coleman to do his thing.  Ellis is a tough, hard-nosed banger who can also score, and he averaged 22.1 ppg through the regular season and has been the difference in most of Compton's playoff games.  Even though Ellis, who is currently unsigned but looking at schools like USC, San Diego State, UConn and others, was held to just three points in Centennial's semifinal win over Corona Del Mar, he can and will be a huge factor in this game no matter how much or how little he scores.

Of course Bishop Montgomery is much more than just the twins and Pruitt (who is averaging 12 ppg):  Point guard Kenny D'Oyen averaged 12 ppg during the regular season and he's averaging about 5 assists per game as well.  DeVaughn Peace averaged 8 ppg and is a tough defender who also helps push the ball on the break, and Fred Washington is averaging 8 ppg off the bench and is one of the best freshmen in SoCal.   Centennial also features Donny Joubert as one of the bench scorers and he's also turned in some good rebounding performances while Deon Davis has had some big games for the Apaches. 

This is going to be a great game, and unfortunately, it's going to conflict with the City Section Championship game between Westchester and Crenshaw, which is being played at the Great Western Forum tonight, starting at 8:00 p.m., but then life is about making choices. . . .  And the good thing is that no matter which game you decide to see, you'll still have the chance to see all four teams next week in the State Regional Tournament, albeit in different divisions (Bishop Montgomery and Centennial will, of course compete in the D-III State Regional, while Crenshaw and Westchester will be in D-I).

See you there.

First round games
February 16
  Second Round
February 18
Feb 22
Feb 25
March 4
Upper half of Bracket
Bishop Montgomery @ Bye   Banning 52
Bishop Montgomery 75
*Bishop Montgomery 62

@St. Bernard HS

Monrovia 49

Bishop Montgomery 62


@Inglewood HS


*Morningside 58

Friday, 8:30 p.m.

Granite Hills 56 @ Banning 78
St. Francis 51 @ Pomona  53 Pomona 56
Monrovia 62
Costa Mesa 51 @ Monrovia 55
Morningside 65 @ Santa Ynez 48 Gladstone 42

Morningside 65
*Morningside 82


Harvard- Westlake 65

Diamond Ranch 68 @ Gladstone 76
La Canada 58 @ Nordhoff 52 (OT) Harvard-Westlake 70
La Canada 51
Ganesha 70 @ Harvard-Westlake 76
Lower half of Bracket
Corona Del Mar @ Bye   Northview 25
Corona Del Mar 47
*Corona del Mar 57


Notre Dame S/O  55

Compton Centennial 68


@Estancia HS


*Corona del Mar 46

Northview 64 @ Cabrillo 55
Estancia 56 @ Verbum Dei 59 Verbum Dei 46
SO Notre Dame 52
Workman 58 @ Notre Dame/SO 62
Santa Paula  33 @ Centennial Compton 80 Compton Centennial 51
Chaminade 49
*Centennial/Compton 69


San Dimas 42

Chaminade 60 @ South Pasadena 36
Azusa 42 @ Gabrielino 60 Gabrielino 37
San Dimas 66
San Dimas @ Bye

The Swish Award
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