Kwock lives the dream in Cardinals’ win

Friday night’s boys basketball game between Bishop Diego and Besant Hill was like one of those Hollywood films where the impossible happens and the home team wins.

In this real-life classic, Sam Kwock turned in a movie-star performance, nailing seven 3-point buckets in the second half to will the Cardinals to a 75-70 come-from-behind thriller at the Brickhouse in the Laguna/Bishop Tournament.

He made eight total from long range.

“I didn’t think I was going to have many shots but they kept coming,” said the freshman, who totaled 24 points.

In only his fourth high-school game, the five-foot guard was hoisted into the air by an ecstatic throng consisting of his teammates and schoolmates in a scene many dream of.

It was well deserved.

Kwock seemed to pop a trey from every point around the arc without a miss during the second half, when the Cardinals erased a five-point halftime deficit, finally taking the lead with four minutes to go on 3-point play by junior Hayden Slaught.

“He was on fire tonight; you couldn’t stop him,” said Slaught, who  along with freshman Elias Muñoz was the team’s second-leading scorer with 15.

The Cardinals were up against a team featuring 6-foot-8 Yannic Atanga and 6-foot-3 Ivan Matip, both from Cameroon. Atanga, who is reportedly being recruited by UCLA, scored 23 before fouling out with six minutes remaining. Matip pitched in 18.

“Towards the end when the big guy fouled out, it totally changed the game,” said Bishop Diego head coach Ray Vazquez.

Kwock’s three-pointers helped the Cardinals hang around until that point, and his seventh of the half brought Bishop to within two at 64-62. Soon after his three-point play, Slaught nailed two more free throws to put Bishop up for good, 68-66.

Slaught, who scored 10 of Bishop’s final 12 points, gave credit to an old shooting coach — UCSB men’s basketball legend Carrick DeHart — for his confidence at the line.

“He taught me just focus on the middle of the basket and nothing else,” recited Slaught.

As for the result?

Slaught hit six-of-seven, all coming in crunchtime.

“These kids believe they can win every time they step on the floor,” Vazquez said of his 4-0 squad, impressed by the energy the team has infused into the Brickhouse.

“It hasn’t been like that in years,” said Vazquez.

With the victory, the Cardinals get a chance to win their own tournament with a championship tilt against Blair set for Saturday.

“4-0 is good. We wanna get to CIF and just keep on playing excellent basketball,” stated Kwock.

Saturday’s tipoff is set for 12:30 p.m.


Bishop Diego – Nevarez 4, Slaught 15, Fling 2, Kwock 24, MacGillivray 6, Munoz 15, Tack 4, Garcia 8.

Besant Hill – Matip 18, Atanga 24, Tohoyi 14, Vonberg 1, Grosbach 2, Pease 2, Chan 2.

Halftime score – BH leads 34-29

Free Throws – BD 13-18, BH 9-28