CHANDLER, Ariz. – Katie Lou Samuelson
turned to Mater Dei (Santa Ana, Calif.)
coach Kevin Kiernan and shrugged her shoulders. She couldn't help but smile.
Kiernan had been screaming for his Monarchs to run a play in the third quarter of what would be a 96-74 win over
Riverdale Baptist (Upper Marlboro, Md.)
in the title game of the top bracket at the Nike TOC, but Katie Lou Samuelson had inexplicably been left alone by the Maryland team's defenders.
So she buried the three, en route to 18 points in the third quarter alone, a total of 27 for the game and a surprisingly easy win.
"I was open so I just shot it," the sophomore said. "I knew if I made it, it would be OK, and if I missed it, I'd be in trouble with the coach."
Pssst. Here's a hint, Katie Lou: When you score 27, make 11 of 16 shots (six of nine from beyond the arc) and grab eight rebounds in a game that might just give your team its third national title in four years, the coach is not going to be too annoyed.
And besides, Katie Lou, your sister
could stand up for you. Hard as it may seem to believe, senior Karlie was even better, finishing with 36 points, 11 rebounds and seven of eight from beyond the arc – some of them way beyond the arc.
"For anyone else, that's a terrible shot," said Kiernan, "but I've had to adjust."
It's not hard for a coach to settle for 3s when his team makes 14 out of 19 on the night, and shreds the defense of previously unbeaten Riverdale Baptist, which entered the tournament No. 5 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings
Speaking of rankings, Mater Dei will definitely rise from its No. 9 position, because No. 1 Bishop O'Dowd, No. 4 St. Mary's of Phoenix and No. 6 Long Beach Poly all lost at the Nike TOC.
And speaking of rankings, Katie Lou Samuelson, who was co-MVP of the tournament with Karlie, is considered one of the top players in the Class of 2016, and the speculation is she'll follow older sisters Bonnie and Karlie to Stanford.
She definitely follows them in being a long 6 foot-plus shooter with extreme range and a blink-and-you-missed-it release – and both she and Karlie benefit from the point guard play of Andee Velasco
, who had 10 assists and 13 points Saturday.
Velasco survived the onslaught of quick and physical Riverdale Baptist guards, and handled the pressure with aplomb beyond her years. All of her assists went to one of the Samuelsons.
"It's rewarding to play with them," she said.
And even though the Samuelsons transferred in this season, Kiernan said the chemistry on the team has been great.
"The adjustment's been more for the other kids," Kiernan said. "But they buy in."
* Chloe Jackson
of Riverdale Baptist made the Division E all-tournament team, along with Chantel Osahor
of St. Mary's (Phoenix, Ariz.)
, Sophie Cunningham of Rock Bridge and Oderah Chidom
of Bishop O'Dowd (Oakland, Calif.)
St. Mary's finished third, beating O'Dowd 63-60 after controlling the game most of the way, and Rock Bridge won the consolation crown by knocking off Dr. Phillips 45-42.
St. Mary's (Berkeley, Calif.)
, a school of 600 students, stunned No. 6 Long Beach Poly, a school of 5,000, to win the Joe Smith Division title. Gabby Green
, the MVP, hit a runner with 10 seconds to go for the 47-45 win. Poly had the ball under its own basket with 24 seconds to go, but threw the inbounds pass directly to a St. Mary's player, and after Green dribbled down the clock, she went to her left, and made just her third basket of the game.
* Green's teammate Mikayla Cowling
, also a junior, joined her on the all-tourney team along with Kelsey Plum
of La Jolla Country Day (La Jolla, Calif.)
, Jordan Reynolds of Central Catholic
, Sierra Calhoun of Christ the King (Middle Village, N.Y.)
and Jada Matthews
of Long Beach Poly (Calif.)
* Other division winners included Sacred Heart Academy, which got a late three-pointer from sophomore Gretchen Samsel to beat Archbishop Mitty 63-61; Windward (Los Angeles)
(68-43 over Miramonte) with the marvelous Jordin Canada
at the point, Kristen Simon
in the paint and Courtney Jaco
taking 3s; Brea Olinda (Brea, Calif.)
(48-43 over Hamilton) behind Anna Kim
; Grandview (51-43 over Campbell County); Horizon Christian (71-61 over Marcos de Niza); Etiwanda (Calif.)
(57-50 over Oaks Christian); Marlborough (Los Angeles)
(68-60 over Fairfax); Denver East (58-46 over Mater Dei Catholic); and San Clemente (Calif.)
(51-45 over Bradshaw Christian).