Kwock knew Bishop had right stuff to play for CIF title

Bishop Diego (22-7) vs. Valley Torah (22-4), 8:30 p.m. tipoff at Mater Dei: It’s No. 1 vs. No. 2 in the Division 6AA final. Top-seeded Valley Torah (North Hollywood)  is trying to become the first orthodox Jewish school to win a basketball title, while Bishop Diego is seeking its first boys hoops title in school history.

“This is what we’ve been working for since August. Our goal has been to win CIF,” Valley Torah’s 6-9 center Aaron Liberman said. “We’ve got one shot, and only one shot, so we’re going to do our best to pull it off. I’m really focused on winning this game.”

Bishop Diego senior point guard Ben Kwock was the only member of his team back in September who wrote winning a CIF title as a team goal for this season. He obviously knew there was something special about this group of Cardinals.

“I put that because I thought our team had enough talent and we had enough chemistry where we could go far, (maybe) into the CIF final. We’ve gotten there, now we just have to go out there and win.”

Elias Munoz, Bishop’s leading scorer, said team chemistry has been a key to the Cardinals’ success.

“Our chemistry is good. We’ve all been playing together since 6th grade, so we all get along together.”

The tight-knit Cardinals bought into first-year coach Dean Prophet’s system and it’s paid off in a big way. They won the Frontier League championship and they are playing without fear in the CIF playoffs.

“We’re just one big family and we’ll do anything for each other,” said Kwock.

“We’re certainly excited for the opportunity,” said Prophet. “It’s been a real good learning experience for all the boys and myself — this is my first time through it.  I think the boys have worked hard and they’ve seen what hard work can give them, and we’re in the finals.”

Prophet plans to have Noah Tack battle against Valley Torah’s Liberman. Tack gives up nearly six inches in height, but he can be disruptive with his physical play.

Liberman averages 18 points, 11 rebounds and three blocked shots. His 6-4 younger brother, Nathaniel, is also is a big scoring threat.

Prophet plans to put Reese Moulton on the younger Liberman.

“This is one of the greatest feelings I’ve ever had, the best of my athletic career,” said Kwock about reaching the CIF final.”But it would be way better if we just won, but it’s nice to be in the finals and get a chance to win a title for Bishop.”