Video: Mater Dei beats Chino Hills
Monarchs prevail over defending national champions 83-80 in overtime.
Last season in a California Southern Section Open Division semifinal game, Chino Hills
handed Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
its worst defeat in the illustrious 35-year coaching history of Gary McKnight.
Chino Hills doubled down with a win over Mater Dei in the Tarkanian Classic championship game in December.
Friday at the Galen Center on the campus of USC in another Southern Section semifinal, it was anything but a blowout as the game see-sawed back-and-forth throughout before Mater Dei pulled off a thrilling 83-80 overtime victory.
Chino Hills (29-2) held the lead most of the night and took a 72-66 lead with four minutes left in regulation on a second straight 3-pointer by Ofure Ujadughele
.See the bracket: Southern Section Open Division Championships
But like they did all night, the Monarchs fought back, scoring the last six points of regulation on a bucket from Bol Bol
and basket and two free throws by Justice Sueing
to tie the game with less than a minute remaining. A last-second shot by LaMelo Ball
missed, sending the game to overtime.
Mater Dei (31-1) scored the first six points of OT, making it a 12-0 run, but Chino Hills came back to tie it at 79. The Monarchs pulled away and two free throws by Spencer Freedman
with 9.5 seconds left gave Mater Dei an 83-80 lead. A long 3-pointer by LiAngelo Ball
missed and the Monarchs pulled off the victory.
A recent California Golden Bears commitment, Sueing finished with 25 points while Freedman added 17 and Bol 14.
Chino Hills got big games from LaMelo Ball with 28, LiAngelo 26 and Ujadughele with 14.
Mater Dei entered ranked fifth nationally by MaxPreps and winners of 19 straight, 17 by double digits. The Monarchs, who lost 102-54 to Chino Hills last year, had also won 10 straight since the addition of one of the nation's top juniors in Bol, the 7-foot-2 forward who transferred at mid-season from Kansas. Mater Dei's only loss this season was to Chino Hills.
McKnight has led Mater Dei to 11 state and 22 section titles since 1983. He also entered the game as California's winningest coach with 1,081 victories against just 96 defeats.
Chino Hills entered No. 3 in the country. The defending national champion had a 60-game win streak snapped 95-91 Feb. 4 against Oak Hill Academy (Mouth of Wilson, Va.) and before Friday had won four straight including a 98-74 quarterfinal win over Long Beach Poly.
Mater Dei faces Bishop Montgomery (Torrance)
in the Southern Section title game on March 4.