Crespi edges Bishop Montgomery

ENCINO -- There was some blood, plenty of sweat and a teardrop or two after the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoff game between Crespi and Bishop Montgomery on Tuesday night.

Spinnin’ wheel’s spinnin’ true.

In the fourth quarter, Crespi’s Michael Avery had to change his uniform, from No. 4 to No. 1, because it had blood on it. Teammate London Perrantes had to carry his team in the fourth quarter after two Celts fouled out. Bishop Montgomery’s Lamond Murray Jr. didn’t feel much like talking after his team was eliminated from the playoffs.

Crespi won the game, 73-67, and advanced to the semifinals. The Celts will play La Verne Lutheran on Friday night at the University of La Verne.

After building a 21-point lead in the third quarter, Crespi, the No. 19 team in the ESPN Los Angeles basketball rankings, had to hold off a furious comeback by Bishop Montgomery, the No. 9 team in the ESPNLA rankings, in the fourth quarter.

“I’ll take it,” Crespi coach Russell White said. “As long as you’re not trailing at the end.”

Crespi led nearly all the way. Bishop Montgomery was up, 3-2, in the first quarter before Crespi went on a 10-2 run and never looked back. The Celts were up 15-8 after the first quarter and led 32-24 at halftime.

The Knights cut the Crespi lead to five points in the final period, but that was as close as they would get.

“We made some defensive stops,” Murray said. “We played a lot harder than in the first half.”

Crespi (23-6) opened the fourth quarter with a 13-point lead, 55-42. Bishop Montgomery’s Justin Bibbins caught fire in the fourth quarter, scoring 13 of his game-high 29 points in the final period. He hit a 3-pointer to cut the Crespi lead to seven points with four minutes to play. His basket with 2:42 left closed the gap to five points, 64-59.

Moments before that, Michael Milligan Jr. fouled out. He scored 19 points and was instrumental in building Crespi’s big leads in the first half.

Less than a minute later, Tyler Foreman fouled out with Crespi up 66-59.

That’s when Perrantes took over. He scored eight points in the fourth quarter, making tough shots through the lane as Bishop Montgomery (23-4) turned up its defensive pressure. He scored 24 points to lead Crespi.

“The defensive pressure was getting to us,” White said. “We’re not really used to that.”

Avery was a perfect 10-for-10 from the free-throw line and scored 17 points for Crespi.

Murray scored 17 points and had seven rebounds for Bishop Montgomery.

“We believed we were going to be able to go all the way,” Murray said. “It’s a real disappointment.”