LOS ANGELES –
It was a bit like the game of Clue. Jordin Mayes, from the top of the key, with the bomb.
That's what killed Mater Dei's hopes of dethroning Westchester in the Southern California Regional Division I finals on Saturday at the Galen Center.
Mayes was open, and he nailed his his three-point basket to propel second-seeded Westchester (Los Angeles) to a 71-63 victory over top-seeded Mater Dei (Santa Ana) on Saturday.
The victory keeps alive Westchester's hopes of winning a second consecutive state title.
Ranked No. 11 in the Xcellent 25, Westchester (31-3) will play
on Saturday at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. Mater Dei (32-2), ranked No. 7 nationally, had its 26-game winning streak snapped.
There had been debate about who should be the higher ranked team. Mater Dei had the better record, but Westchester was considered to have the tougher schedule of opponents.
The answer now is clear.
Still, the Comets were in a scrap. They had just blown almost all of a 20-point second-half margin as Mater Dei went on a 27-6 run to pull to 54-53 with 4:23 left in the game.
Dwayne Polee Jr. made two free throws on separate trips down the court. Mater Dei's Keala King answered with one free throw, and then Mayes answered with his big three-pointer with 2:55 remaining.
“I think we were scrambling against their zone and we kicked it back out and he was wide open,” Westchester coach Ed Azzam said. “It wasn't a play. He was open and he made the shot. It was on him.”
Mater Dei's aspirations of victory collapsed after that. Polee followed with a dunk, Mayes added a sweet 15-foot jumper and Westchester was in command, 63-54, with 1:51 to go.
From that point on, Westchester made seven of 12 from the free throw line in the final 1:14.
“This is a team that lost only one game all year long, so they have the confidence,” Azzam said. “They have the tradition, they don't expect to lose, they know they're going to be in the game, so you have to to play 32 minutes against a good good team, a very talented, well-coached team, and we just happened to pull it out. We got a little fortunate at the end, made some shots and made some free throws.”
Westchester got 21 points from Mayes (Arizona), 20 from Polee and 14 from Reggie Murphy.
Tyler Lamb (UCLA) was brilliant. He scored 32 on 13 of 22 shooting; he was three of seven from the three-point arc.
“We didn't help ourselves, we were very individualistic, in the first half especially,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. “We shot way too many threes. Wouldn't know we had a game plan this week. It was a little frustrating to watch. Guys were trying to do too much on their own instead of letting their teammates be part of it.”
Mater Dei was three of 16 from the three-point line in the first half, five of 29 for the game.
Lamb had 17 points at halftime on seven of 13 shooting, but no one else had more than three points. Three-year starter Gary Franklin (California) was one for 10 from the field, and 0 for 6 from the arc, in the first half.
Franklin finished with 18 points. He was five of 18 from the field, one of 10 from the arc. Keala King (Arizona State) scored 10 while shooting three of 14 from the field.
“We picked it up in the second half, we made a nice run at them,” McKnight said. “We could have very easily rolled over, but we made a run there. . . I think we ran out of gas at the end.
“Their size was a little tough. Murphy (6 feet 9 inches) was a big body down there and he was difficult to guard. We didn't shoot the ball very well. If you're going to shoot threes you need to at least make 30 percent, and we made 17 percent. You shoot 17 percent and you shoot 29 (times) your gonna have problems.”
Girls Division I
Poly (Long Beach) 68, Clovis West (Fresno) 53
They came out of the blue, like four bolts of lightning striking the same basketball rim. Long Beach Poly, utilizing an uncommon friend, delivered from the three-point line Saturday and it propelled the top-seeded Jackrabbits to a 68-53 victory over second-seeded Fresno Clovis West at the Galen Center.
The victory gave Poly the Southern California Regional Division I title, and gives the Jackrabbits a chance to win an historic fifth consecutive state title in Bakersfield against El Dorado Oak Ridge.
Poly was locked in a 33-33 battle in the opening minutes of the third quarter when Ariya Crook-Williams made consecutive three-point baskets. Then Olivia Montgomery hit one. And then Crook-Williams made her third in less than three minutes for a 47-35 lead.
“I don't think we were expecting that much of their shooting,” said Clovis West coach Craig Campbell.
“It definitely hurt,” said Clovis West shooting guard Katie Ogden, whose back-to-back three-pointer had wiped out a 33-27 deficit in less than two minutes.
“Once she started hitting those threes,” said Poly coach Carl Buggs, “I felt we were ready to roll.”
And roll they did. Poly's 28-25 halftime lead reached 49-38 going into the fourth quarter.
The closest Clovis West would get after that was seven points.
Crook-Williams, who averaged 8.6 points on the season, finished with 16. Ta'nitra Byrd, who averaged 8.2, had eight in the first quarter as Poly opened a 19-11 lead; she finished with 13.
Sheila Boykin (UNLV) celebrated her 17th birthday Saturday with 14 points on seven of 15 shooting. She benefited from the onslaught from the perimeter; it opened up the middle, allowing her to score 12 of her 14 in the second half.
“Pick your poison,” Campbell said.
“Stat-wise, we're not a three-point shooting team,” Buggs said. “If you're going to defend us, you're not going to defend our three-point shot.”
Poly shot 28 percent from the three-point line this season. It made seven of 15 against Clovis West.
Poly's depth wore out the Eagles, and it got 22 points from its bench; Clovis West got none.
Poly forced 26 turnovers that led to 28 points, a 19-point advantage over CW.
The Jackrabbits struggled early trying to contain Long Beach State-bound center Janae Coffee, who finished with 14 points. Coffee had nine at halftime. “She's a presence,” Buggs said. “She's a presence.”
Columbia-bound Brianna Orlich scored 16, half from the free throw line. She had scored 39 in a 61-57 semifinal victory over Santa Monica. Ogden had 12.
Boys Division II
Lincoln (San Diego) 60, Compton 52
Twenty-seven to 10. That's the scoring advantage that Lincoln dropped on Compton in the third quarter Saturday of the Southern California Regional Division II finals at the Galen Center.
The second-seeded Hornets (28-2) shot 75 percent from the field in that decisive eight-minute span, making 12 of 16 shots, to score a 60-52 victory. They made three of six from the three-point arc (while going 1 of 11 in the other three quarters). And most importantly, they made Compton's 28-22 halftime lead disappear.
“They came out, they had more energy than us and they took the momentum from us,”said Compton coach Tony Thomas.
Did they ever.
Cliff Sims Jr. scored at the outset to extend Compton's lead to 30-22. Sims scored again to make it 34-29, but then came a 13-1 run by Lincoln in a span of 3 minutes 7 seconds in which four different players scored.
Compton (21-15) didn't help itself. It made only 18 of 64 shots (28.1 percent) for the game. Simms scored 18, Allan Guei scored 12 and Anthony January 11. January's shooting was particularly frigid; he connected on only four of 18 shots, but the 6-foot-7 sophomore was not the only one who struggled. His best days are certainly ahead of him.
Lincoln will play Mountain View St. Francis on Friday in Bakersfield.
Lincoln was led by Victor Dean, who scored 19 points, and Norman Powell, who scored 15 with nine rebounds.
Compton eventually got the deficit whittled to five points, 57-52, on January's putback with 1:46 left but it was as close as the Tarbabes would get.
It ended a terrific run in which Compton beat the defending state champion, top-seeded Rialto Eisenhower,
Girls Division II
Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 51, Brea Olinda 46
Mater Dei, whose only losses the last two years were to Brea, avenged those defeats on Saturday at the Galen Center by scoring a 51-46 victory in the Southern California Regional Division II finals.
It didn't come easy. In fact, the more impressive performance might have belonged to Brea, which made a game of it despite playing without its starting point guard, Alexis Perry, who suffered a catastrophic knee injury in the regional quarterfinals. It moved post Keitra Wallace to the point with mixed results against Mater Dei's tough defense.
Many thought Mater Dei would win in a runaway. Not even close.
With the victory, Mater Dei (31-1) will play in Bakersfield on Friday against Concord Carondelet, which scored a 40-38 victory over San Jose Archbishop Mitty. Brea, ranked No. 2 in the Xcellent 25 to Mater Dei's No. 3, Brea Olinda finished 31-3
The game was at times physical and at times ragged, but it was consistently intense as Mater Dei tried to beat its nemesis while nine-time state champion Brea tried to successfully defend its 2009 title.
Second-seeded Mater Dei has now won 63 of its last 65 games, but those two losses were to top-seeded Brea. One came in last year's regional final, 44-38, when Mater Dei was ranked No. 1 in the nation. The other came in January, 47-43, again while the Monarchs were undefeated and No. 1.
“It's always in the back of your mind, that Brea beat us,” said Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, a junior who has committed to Connecticut and scored a game-high 17. “We're not going to deny that.”
Jessica Duarte added 16 points and nine rebounds, and Jordan Adams had seven points and a game-high 13 rebounds for the Monarchs. Mater Dei's 36-27 rebounding edge proved crucial, as the Monarchs got 23 second chance points to Brea's four.
Mater Dei also had an advantage at the free throw line; the Monarchs made 13 of 29, Brea five of 10.
That was a point of contention that got Brea coach Jeff Sink a technical foul. Trailing, 50-45, Kelsey Harris was fouled while apparently shooting a three-point shot with 30 seconds remaining. One official ruled three it was a three-pointer, another official signaled a two. Harris missed the second shot, and Brea reacted like it was awaiting a third; Mater Dei grabbed the rebound. On the next stoppage, with 15 seconds left, Sink said it was a “bogus call” and he was whistled for his comment. Mater Dei missed the free throws, but retaining possession was critical.
Jeanier Olukemi led Brea with 12 points and 12 rebounds, and Iowa State-bound guard Kelsey Harris added 10. Wallace scored eight and had four assists.
Brea led at halftime, 25-23, and going into the fourth quarter, 41-38.
But four turnovers in the first 97 seconds of the final period were costly and the momentum seemed to carry through the quarter. Brea, which had made 17 of 39 shots through the first three quarters, managed only two field goals – on two of seven shooting – and five points in the fourth.
Mater Dei took its first lead of the fourth quarter with 2:55 remaining on free throws by Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, who finished with a game-high 17 points. The Monarchs took the lead for good, 47-45, on Alex Thomas' rebound and basket with 2:23 to go.
“In the fourth quarter, my assistant (Pete Bonny) said if we can get the lead, everything would be OK, we just couldn't get the lead,” said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan, who guided Fullerton Troy to state titles in 2005 and 2006. “There were points in the game where you could see, them hang their head like, 'Oh no, not again, something bad is going to happen.'
“When we're up and feel the momentum going, it's hard to stop us.”
Boys Division III
Serra (Gardena) 74, Centennial (Compton) 50
Beating Serra wasn't going to be easy in the first place, but Centennial (Compton) didn't do itself any favors Saturday at the Galen Center in the Southern California Regional Division III boys championship.
The third-seeded Apaches didn't rebound and didn't make free throws and didn't win, not that it was expected. But their loss to top-seeded Serra was shocking by the disparity of score.
When they played in the Southern Section Division III-AA finals, Serra had eked out a 62-58 victory. This time, it wasn't even close.
Serra (33-2) will play Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland) on Saturday in Bakersfield in the State Division III finals. Centennial finished 28-7.
Serra's Keith Shamburger and Vaughn Autry scored 14 and 11 points, respectively, but losing coach Vadim Malikin said his squad did a good job against those players. The difference, he said, was “those other guys.”
Marqise Lee scored 12 and had a team-high 11 rebounds, and Craig Carter had 10 points.
In all, Serra out-rebounded Centennial, 49-24.
At the free throw line, Serra made 12 of 19, Centennial made eight of 22, a terrible 36.4 percent.
“I don't think our effort was good, especially early in the game,” Malikin said. “Had we played harder on the glass in the first half, it would have been a much closer game. We gave up 14 points in the first quarter, but at least six of those were off of second chance points.”
In all, Serra scored 20 second chance points to Centennial's two.
Centennial got 19 points from Deonte Burton and 15 from Kurt Davis.
Serra held a 14-11 lead after one quarter, took exerted its dominance in the second quarter by outscoring Centennial, 19-11, to take a 33-22 lead at halftime.
In the first half, Centennial made eight of only 18 shot attempts; Serra made 14 of 30, and finsihed 28 of 63 (44.4 percent) for the game. Centennial finished 19 of 49 (38.8 percent).
“They just outworked us on the boards,” Malikin said. “We just didn't do a good enough job.”
Girls Division III
Bishop Amat (La Puente) 56, Inglewood 54
Bishop Amat (La Puente) Coach Richard Wiard said the stat sheet showed a recipe for disaster. His team gave up 14 extra shots and committed 10 more turnovers. Yet, that's the kind of season it has been for Bishop Amat, scored an improbable victory over second-seeded Inglewood at the Galen Center.
Arielle Wideman and Leticia Galarza, scored 17 points apiece as Bishop Amat stunned the Sentinels. The victory avenged a 15-point loss to Inglewood in the Southern Section III-AA semifinals.
Part of the credit belongs to Michelle Yamamoto and Gina Henderson, who shut down Inglewood's star point guard, Loyola Marymount-bound Hazel Ramirez. Bishop Amattook its first lead midway through the third quarter, and traded leads 11 times, the last coming in the final minute.
After beating fourth-seeded Agoura, top-seeded Santa Margarita and second-seeded Inglewood in the Southern Regionals, Bishop Amat will next play the nation's top-ranked team, St. Mary's (Stockton), next Saturday in Bakersfield for the State Division III title. St. Mary's defeated Sacramento, 70-45.
The victory by Bishop Amat (27-7) prevented Inglewood (30-6) from taking a second consecutive trip to the state finals. When they played on Feb. 27, Inglewood ran away to a 63-48 victory.
“I was happy to play them again in the sense that we played awful lost time, and if we played better this time we would have a chance to win,” said Richard Wiard, who is in his 14th season as Lancers coach.
Inglewood held a 54-53 advantage when the game's dominant player, 6-foot-1 junior forward Deajanae Scurry, fouled out with 56 seconds remaining. Wideman used the opportunity to convert a free throw that tied the score at 54. With 12.1 seconds left,
Bishop Amat's Andrea Villanueva made the front end of a one-and-one, and Wideman pulled down the biggest rebound of her career. She quickly dumped the ball to Galarza, who was fouled. Galarza made one of two with 8.8 seconds left to make it 56-54.
Inglewood's Marcie Hill got off a 16-footer with 2 seconds left but missed the mark.
The victory sends Bishop Amat to the state finals for the fifth time. The Lancers won in 2005 and 2006, and lost in 2004 and 2007. Wideman is the only player from that '07 team.
“This time, I'm not just cheering, I'm happy to contribute,” said Wideman, a 5-foot-9 Nevada-Reno recruit who had 10 rebounds as Bishop Amat out-rebounded the taller Sentinels, 37-35.
Bishop Amat committed 24 turnovers to Inglewood's 12, and gave up 18 offensive rebounds. Scurry finished with 18 points, and Noelini Tuiasoa had 11. Ramirez finished with nine, seven in the fourth quarter.
The difference was at the free throw line, said losing coach Tony Scott. Bishop Amat made 18 of 25, Inglewood made nine of 19.
“I thought we were the superior team,” Scott said, “We just didn't get it done.”
Boys Division IV
Price (Los Angeles) 69, Parker (San Diego) 48
A 25-14 run in the third put this one to bed as top-seed Price (32-3) breezed to the championship at Colony High School.
Cal-bound Allen Crabbe had 9 of 16 shots, scored 25 points and grabbed a game-high 10 rebounds, while teammates Casey Trujeque and Askia Booker added 13 and 11 points, respectively.
Price shot 47 percent from the field and 9 of 20 on 3-pointers, including three each from Crabbe and Trujeque. It was in sharp contrast to second-seed Francis Parker (20-10), which made just 16 of 52 shots (31 percent) but got 18 points by Dalante Dunklin and 17 from Eric Norman.
Girls Division IV
Harvard-Westlake (North Hollywood) 57, Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) 44
The anticipated showdown between two teams that waged a competitive game in the Southern Section finals never developed as top-seeded Harvard-Westlake opened an early lead and continued to add to it in a 57-44 victory over third-seeded Bishop Montgomery.
When they faced each other in the Division IV-AA finals, Harvard-Westlake scored a 58-54 victory. This game, at Colony High in Ontario, didn't have nearly the drama.
Princeton-bound Nicole Hung scored 23 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Hung held her own at the free throw line: She was 13 of 13.
Sydney Haydel scored 15 points for the Wolverines, and Nicole Nesbit scored 11.
Bishop Montgomery was led by Kristin Ale, who scored 15 before fouling out late in the game. Sophomore Devon Brookshire added eight points. The Knights didn't help themselves from the free throw line: They converted only 10 of 24, while Harvard-Westlake made 19 of 26.
Harvard-Westlake (33-1) will play St. Mary's (Berkeley) on Friday at the Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield. Bishop Montgomery (29-8), a seven-time state champion, was seeking its 11th appearance in a title game.
Boys Division V
Lutheran (La Verne, Calif.) 52, Windward (Los Angeles) 50
A tight contest from the get-go, second-seed Lutheran (27-8) got 17 points from Bruce English and 13 by Carl Cooper to help offset big performances from Windward's Wesley Saunders (17 points, 12 rebounds) and Nicholas Stover (14 points).
The defending state champions (26-9) just had trouble shooting (17 of 57, 30 percent). They commited only four turnovers and held a 38-32 edge in rebounds over Lutheran, which took 19 less shots but made one more field goal.
Girls Division V
St. Anthony (Long Beach) 48, Montclair Prep (Van Nuys) 41
Kendall Cooper scored 16 points to lead top-seeded St. Anthony to a 48-41 victory over third-seeded Montclair Prep to win the Southern California Regional Division V title.
Cooper is a 6-foot-3 sophomore who also pulled down 11 rebounds.
James Anderson, who guided Harbor City Narbonne to two state titles in Division I, now has a chance to do the same at his tiny alma mater.
Balance turned out to be the difference. St. Anthony's (25-9) had six players score to Montclair Prep's four; the four points apiece scored by those other two players, Paris Lamar and Raquel Johnson, were the difference in a seven-point victory.
Taylor Hixon and Rina Towne scored nine apiece for St. Anthony's.
Montclair Prep (24-8) got double-figure scoring from three players. Chantel Dooley scored 15, and Jasmine Martinez and Kimberly Scamman scored 12 apiece.
Senior writer Mitch Stephens contributed to this report.