Kai Morphy
Bishop Diego sophomore Kai Morphy flies through the lane to try a scoop layup during Tuesday’s CIF 5AA quarterfinal vs. Estancia.  (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

Kai Morphy was cool as a cucumber on Tuesday night, sinking six straight free throws in the final 43.2 seconds to complete Bishop Diego’s stunning 49-46 upset of No. 2 seed Estancia in a CIF Div. 5AA boys basketball quarterfinal at a raucous Brick House.

Morphy, a 6-3 sophomore guard, knocked down four 3-pointers and led all scorers with 20 points. Matthew Cunningham scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half and made a key steal of an in-bound pass and twisting layup to beat the third-quarter buzzer, giving the Cardinals (20-11) a 35-31 lead.

“This feels really good,” said Morphy. “The fans were incredibly supportive”

And what was he thinking about when he went to the line to shoot free throws with 43.2 seconds, 3.0 seconds and 1.4 seconds remaining?

“Slowing my heart rate down and putting the shot in,” he said. “At halftime, we talked about how we needed to pick it up. We knew we had to come out strong so we could get a win. We kept on shooting and didn’t worry about the last shot. That kept us in the game because we kept shooting and shooting and trusting our shot, then they started falling.

“It’s awesome to be going to the CIF semifinals.”

The Cardinals won the coin flip, so they’ll be hosting No. 3 Vistamar (25-4) of El Segundo on Friday at 7 p.m. Vistamar edged Thacher 60-57 on Tuesday night.

Bishop advanced to the CIF semifinals for the first time since 2014. And they did it without one senior in the starting five. The starters included two juniors, two sophomores and freshman point guard Bryan Trejo who fouled out with 2:40 to go in the third period.

Jake Covey was strong on the inside for Estancia. He scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half for the Eagles (27-4), who had their Estancia 19-game win streak snapped and suffered their first loss since Dec. 13.

Bishop took a seven-point advantage early in the fourth quarter, 40-33, on a triple by Marcus Chan. The Eagles went on an 11-3 spurt, capped by two straight 3’s from Brandon Pierson to take a 44-43 lead with 2:32 to play.

Matthew Cunningham

Matthew Cunningham hit a pair of triples and scored 11 of his 14 points in the second half. (Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo)

The Cardinals were down a point (46-45) and had the ball with 25 seconds left and the shot clock off. Morphy got the ball beyond the 3-point line, recovered from a left-foot slip, then drove to the basket and drew a foul from Larry Andres with 3.0 seconds left. He calmly sank both free throws for a 47-46 Bishop lead.

Bo Graham ran the baseline under his own bucket, then threw the ball out of bounds at midcourt. Morphy was fouled again with 1.7 ticks left and swished both free throws for a 3-point lead, 49-46.

Estancia needed a 3-point try but threw a length-of-the-court in-bound into the key area and Connor Streett intercepted, touching off a wild celebration at midcourt.

“We knew they were going to be tough, we got a little lead and I kept telling them during timeouts to stay focused,” said Bishop coach James Coronado. “We made one more play than they did. We’ve been playing better and better defense throughout the season.

“I know Kai beat himself up in an early game when we lost a close one and he was 1-6 on free throws at the end. 6-6 and nothing but the bottom of the net tonight … he definitely made up for it.”

The Cardinals led 19-16 at the half and went on a 12-4 run to open the third quarter, taking their largest lead, 31-20, on a baseline spin move and layup by Cunningham. The Eagles responded with an 11-2 burst to pull within two (33-31) on a 3 from the left side by Marvin Hoiry.

“We try to get the ball inside before we shoot but we’ve got great shooters who sometimes shoot quicker than we like. We kept telling them, get the ball in and trust your shot. All year long, we never wavered from shooting 3’s.

“At the beginning of the season, we weren’t clicking and we had a few guys out and a few transfers waiting. We knew we had the right stuff and it’s all coming together at the end.”

Connor Streett picks off Estancia’s last-gasp pass and the celebration is on! Bishop upsets No. 2- seeded Eagles 49-46 and snaps their 19-game win streak. pic.twitter.com/sbMzeB4ozH

— NoozhawkSports (@NoozhawkSports) February 19, 2020