ONTARIO, Calif. --
The only thing harder than beating a two-time defending state champion once is beating a two-time defending state champion twice.Etiwanda
found that out the hard way Saturday when it fell 60-37 to Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
in the CIF Southern California Open Division Regional Basketball Championship game at Citizens Business Bank Arena.
The Eagles were riding high just weeks ago when they knocked off Long Beach Poly in the Southern Section Division I-AA semifinals and then did the same to Mater Dei in the title game. The Monarchs brought them back down to Earth Saturday by dominating physically and making the shots they couldn't make in that section final loss.
"That first time we outplayed them. They just came with a whole different attitude tonight," said Etiwanda coach Dave Kleckner. "We shot poorly because they took us off our offense. We lost the game on rebounds. They dominated us on the boards and we didn't shoot the ball well."
Etiwanda entered as the No. 3 team in the Xcellent 25, Mater Dei was 10th.
Mater Dei was physical with Etiwanda, but was also solid shooting the ball, registering a 41.5-percent success rate for the game and 52.2 percent in the second half. And the defense was nothing short of dominant, holding Etiwanda to 26.9 percent shooting.
The Monarchs may have dominated but there were plenty of omens early on that pointed to a tight contest. Etiwanda grabbed a 10-5 lead with three minutes left in the first quarter and more importantly, Elijah Brown
ended up earning his third foul of the game with 2:07 left in the first.
It looked like it was going to be a tight game. Then the defense and Jordan Strawberry
Mater Dei went on a 16-6 run for the entire second quarter and Strawberry was responsible for 10 of those points. He finished the night with 17.
Coach Gary McKnight definitely was not happy to see Brown pick up those fouls, but he was happy with his bench.
"That really concerned me. (Brown) got those fouls because he tried to do too much," McKnight said. "Through the first half (Strawberry) just hit shot after shot. I'm really happy for him."
The Monarchs' 29-17 halftime advantage grew even more in the third quarter, and by that point it was obvious that the Monarchs were out for revenge and weren't going to be stopped.
Etiwanda's star guard Jordan McLaughlin
was held to a dreadful shooting mark of 1-for-15 and just four points. McKnight commended Chris Nealey
for his defensive work. And he had even more praise for Stanley Johnson
, whose second-half explosion sealed the deal.
Johnson went into the halftime break with four points, then made all four of his 3-point attempts in third quarter before finishing with 25 points and 12 rebounds.
"I myself wasn't able to get going. But we hit shots. We were able to
drive and kick. Jordan (Strawberry) was huge in the first half, he kept us in the
game. And Stanley was amazing," Brown said.
Etiwanda got nine points from Dominick Alexander
and seven from Tim Myles
"We were going to play our game. We have a system and we try to execute it every game," Kleckner said. "Tonight they beat us at our own game. They were physical with us. We had a hard time making cuts. They are bigger and stronger than us."
Mater Dei will face off against Archbishop Mitty (San Jose) in the state final.Division I
Santa Monica 53, Loyola (Los Angeles) 50
The Vikings' Jordan Mathews
hit the biggest shot of the night at Citizens Business Bank Arena, breaking a tie game with a 3-pointer from the right elbow with 3 seconds left. It also put him atop his team's scoring stats with 19 points to go with six rebounds.
And it spelled sweet revenge, as Loyola had bested the Vikings twice earlier this season.
Santa Monica had a 15-point lead in the second quarter but that lead slowly evaporated until it was tied in the final seconds. The Vikings led 11-5 at the end of the first and 26-16 at halftime.Troy Maloney
added 17 points for Santa Monica.
Loyola took a big hit in the fourth quarter when point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright
went down with an ankle or foot injury. He finished his night with 10 points. Thomas Welsh
scored 17 points from the center position to go with 10 rebounds and three blocks, and Trey Mason
It was an amazingly close game in the stats as well. They tied 28-28 in rebounds, were .1 percent off in shooting percentages and Loyola turned the ball over one more time than Santa Monica did. And only six total points were scored by bench players in the game.
Santa Monica will face off against Pleasant Grove (Elk Grove) in the title game. Division II
Redondo Union (Redondo Beach) 60,
JW North (Riverside) 48
The Sea Hawks were 10-17 last year. Now they are heading to the state title game after lighting it up from 3-point range.
Redondo Union lit it up to the tune of 46.2 percent beyond the arc (6-for-13) and five of those were from
, who finished with 15 points to lead his team. Three of them were in the first quarter, when Redondo took a 15-6 lead. It was 31-21 at the half.
JW North did its damage at the free throw line, connecting on 22 of 26 tries. That made up for abysmal 26.8-percent performance from the floor. The Huskies' inside game wasn't clicking, though they did win the rebounding battle 29-24. Deshon Taylor
scored 11 points and Dorian Butler
added 10 points and 11 rebounds.
For Redondo, Chris Henderson
scored 12 and Ian Fox
had 10. The Sea Hawks shot 42.2 percent from the floor and forced 23 turnovers on defense.
Redondo Union will face College Park (Pleasant Hill) in the final, a Cinderella story from the North Coast Section.
St. Augustine (San Diego) 61,
Chaminade (West Hills) 57
The Saints went on a 21-6 tear in the fourth quarter to overcome an 11-point deficit at Colony High School and will advance to Sleep Train Arena. Brynton Lemar
scored 24 points and hit a basket with a little more than four minutes left to finally take the lead back. HE grabbed 11 rebounds, as did Trey Kell
, who also scored 17.Jack Williams
scored eight points for Chaminade.
St. Augustine will take on Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) in the state final.
Pacific Hills (Los Angeles) 73,
Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 69
The Bruins knocked out the Knights, a team that entered the Southern Section IV-AA tournament without a loss. Jahmel Taylor
scored 24 points for Pacific Hills, with 16 of them coming from 18 free throw attempts. He also added 10 rebounds, three steals and five assists. Namon Wright
also scored 20 in the game at Colony High School.
Pacific Hills was stellar from the free throw line, making 27 of 32 attempts, and also won the rebounding battle 36-31. The Bruins led by nine at halftime then were able to coast on to the victory.
Bishop Montgomery's offense ran through Lamond Murray Jr.
, who took 25 of his team's 60 field goal attempts. He scored 25 points to go with nine rebounds and the Knights also got 14 points from Larry Taylor III
and 13 from Ognjen Miljkovic
Pacific Hills will match up against Cardinal Newman (Santa Rosa) in the state final.
Horizon (San Diego) 54,
San Gabriel Academy (San Gabriel) 36
San Gabriel Academy led 22-19 at halftime, according to the San Gabriel Valley Tribune
, but the second half saw the Panthers make up the deficit and pull away for the huge win at Cathedral Catholic High in San Diego. Cody Underwood
led Horizon with 17 points and Josh Ajayi
led San Gabriel Academy with 21 points.
Horizon will play perennial power St. Joseph Notre Dame (Alameda) in the title game.