ANAHEIM, Calif. —
Nobody was talking about Etiwanda (Calif.)
when the Southern Section playoffs began.
Now, the Eagles are being dubbed the "giant slayers" of the Southland after knocking off the top two ranked teams in California in back-to-back games.
Etiwanda served notice that it warrants consideration as the best team in the state by upsetting top-seeded Mater Dei (Santa Ana)
54-51 Saturday night to win the Southern Section Division 1AA championship at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The sixth-seeded Eagles (28-2) appeared to be on their way to an easy victory, leading by 14 points with less than 3:30 left, but Mater Dei (30-2) pulled to within three points and actually had a chance to force overtime in the final moments.Stanley Johnson
's last-second three-pointer hit the rim and the clock expired as both teams fought to secure the rebound. Kenny Barnes
could've clinched the victory for the Eagles but missed a pair of free throws with 8.6 seconds left.
The win came four days after Etiwanda's 59-55 overtime win at second-seeded Long Beach Poly.
Mater Dei ended the week No. 4 and Long Beach Poly No. 8 in the MaxPreps Xcellent 25 national rankings
"When the playoffs started, all anyone was talking about was a Mater Dei-Poly rematch," said Barnes, who led the Eagles with 16 points. "No one was picking us to even make the finals, but we knew we could."
Mater Dei pulled to within 54-51 on Elijah Brown
's basket with 45 seconds left. Brown had 21 points and Johnson 18 for the Monarchs, while Jordan McLaughlin
added 14 points and Delewis Johnson
12 for Etiwanda.
"We did a nice job of distributing the ball and getting everyone involved," Etiwanda Coach David Kleckner said. "The kids played with confidence and I think we proved people wrong tonight."
In other Southland games:JW NORTH (Riverside) 59, VILLA PARK 58: Deshon Taylor
scored 10 points and stole the ball from Villa Park's Kevin Olsen
to seal the Huskies; 59-58 victory with three seconds left in the Southern Section Division 2AA final.
ST. JOHN BOSCO (Bellflower) 79, CHAMINADE (West Hills) 56: Isaac Hamilton
had 23 points and Tyler Dorsey
had 22 as the Braves dominated the Southern Section 3A final. Daniel Hamilton
and Darien Williams
each had 14 points for St. John Bosco (24-6), which played impressively enough to warrant consideration for the new Open division of the state playoffs. Jack Williams
had 16 points and Jaron Martin
added 13 for the third-seeded Eagles (24-7).REDONDO UNION (Redondo Beach) 67, WESTLAKE (Westlake Village) 63: Derek Biale
scored 19 points and Ian Fox
added 18 for the Sea Hawks (23-8) in the Southern Section Division 2A title game. It was the third CIF title in four years for Coach Reggie Morris. Grant Lozoya
and Larry Bush
each scored 18 points for the Warriors (26-5).
SERRA (Gardena) 70, LUTHERAN (La Verne) 52: Ron Freeman
had 16 points and Ajon Jefferson
had 15 points as the third-seeded Cavaliers (25-6) repeated as Southern Section 4AA champions. Skyler Williams
had 20 points Jay Miller
added 11 for the Trojans (25-7), who had an 18-game winning streak snapped. Lutheran had upset Bishop Montgomery (Torrance) in the semifinals and lost last season's final to Serra.
SANTA MONICA 66, EL TORO (Lake Forest) 56: Trevis Jackson
had 17 points and Erron Vaughn
had 11 for the the second-seeded Vikings (26-6), who won the Southern Section 1A title. Leading scorer Jordan Mathews was held to 13 points. George Buaku
led the No. 1-seeded Chargers (27-7) with 12 points.
In the Los Angeles City Section Division I final at Cal State Dominguez Hills, top-seeded Westchester (Los Angeles)
beat second-seeded El Camino Real (Woodland Hills)
65-59. Darnell Brown
had 12 points and Matthew Grant
added 11 for the top-seeded Comets. Julian Richardson
had 13 and Kelton Conway
had 12 for the second-seeded Conquistadors.