Bishop gets plenty of contributions in CIF first-round victory

Bishop Diego’s boys basketball team has shown throughout the season that several players can produce points and help it win games.

Bishop Diego's Elias Munoz drives to the hoop while being pressured by a Lennox Academy defender. Munoz was the game's high scorer for the game with 24 points. (Vince Agapito photo)

That was how the Cardinals’ first-round CIF Division 5-AA playoff game against visiting Lennox Academy went Wednesday night. With leading scorer Elias Munoz saddled on the bench with two fouls in the first period, the Cardinals were able to turn a 15-13 deficit at the start of the second quarter into a 28-17 halftime advantage.

Once Munoz returned in the third period, it was lights out for Lennox as he and drained four 3-pointers without a miss, and the Cardinals rolled to a 61-45 win at the Brickhouse.

The results sets up a tough second-round game for the Cardinals (14-12) as they travel to third-seeded Ribet Academy on Friday. Ribet eliminated Webb 66-47.

Reese Moulton, Brandon Gonzalez, Thomas Lash, Nolan Tisdale and JV call-up Grant Sexton took control of the game for Bishop in the second quarter. They outscored Lennox 15-5 after the Panthers rallied from an 11-2 deficit to make it 13-12 at the end of the first period and took the lead on a 3-pointer by Joel Salazar to start the second.

Lash got things going with a 3-pointer and Moulton followed with a putback to put the Cardinals into the lead for good at 18-17. Gonzalez drained a 3-pointer and Moulton scored on another offensive rebound before Lennox called time out.

The Panthers, who relied on breakouts after Bishop missed shots, turned the ball over out of the time out and Tisdale converted with a nifty drive through the lane for a layup and a 25-17 lead. Sexton finished the period with 3-pointer.

“In the second quarter, we shot 50 percent from the field. Sharing the ball allowed that,” Bishop coach Dean Prophet said. “Without Elias in there, they tend to share the ball a little bit more.”

Another big difference for the Bishop turnaround was getting players back on defense to slow Lennox’s transition game.

“We made a concerted effort to get back,” said Prophet. “A lot of times their guy was looking up and there were five guys back.”

The third quarter was showtime for Munoz. He was on fire from beyond the arc, burying shot after shot. He also had a couple of assists, a pair of steals and a basket on an offensive rebound. He finished with a game-high 24 points, 14 points coming in the quarter. The only shot he missed was a half-court attempt at the third quarter buzzer.

Bishop led 52-34 going into the final quarter.

“I was upset about the first half,” Munoz said, “but I came out in the second half and shot the lights out.”

Munoz’s torrid shooting caught his coach a little off guard.

“We were sort of surprised because he’s had a bad back, but I guess it loosened up,” said Prophet.

The Cardinals’ all-around team effort reflected in the stats: Gonzalez scored 11 points and had five steals; Tisdale had eight points, six assists and five steals; Moulton and Leo Schneider each scored six points and grabbed 10 rebounds apiece.

Iggy Salazar scored 14 points and Brian Romero added 11 for Lennox (12-8).

BISHOP DIEGO —Tisdale 8, Gonzalez 11, Munoz 24, Schneider 6, Lash 3, Moulton 6, Sexton 3.
LENNOX — I. Salazar 14, J. Salazar 9, Ramirez 7, Romero 11, P. Hernandez 2, Gutierrez 2.
Lennox Academy…12 5 17 11 — 45
Bishop Diego…13 15 24 9 — 61

3-point goals—BD 9: Munoz 6, Sexton 1, Lash 1, Gonzalez 1. LA 4: Romero 2, J. Salazar 2.

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