Freedman lifts Mater Dei with blazing finish


SANTA ANA – Top-ranked Mater Dei came close to losing its first Trinity League game in five years, but pulled off the comeback to defeat St. John Bosco, 65-56, Friday night at Mater Dei.

Mater Dei sophomore point guard Spencer Freedman, after shooting 3 for 13 for three quarters, went 6 of 6 for 17 points in the fourth and finished with 25 points.

The Monarchs (18-3, 5-0) are 94-1 in the Trinity League since its start in 2006, their lone loss coming to Orange Lutheran in 2011.

St. John Bosco (15-5, 2-3) controlled the first half, going into the break with a 31-20 lead. Junior guard JJ Watson scored 13 in the first quarter. He finished with 23.

The Braves lost their star when Watson fouled out with 31/2 minutes left in the game. St. John Bosco did not score after his exit.

The Monarchs were without their biggest star for the entirety of the game. Six-foot-10 senior center MJ Cage was not in the building Friday.

“I think he’s sick,” was Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight’s comment after the game.

Instead, Freedman took center stage. McKnight said he had confidence in his point guard even after his struggles.

“You can’t tell a shooter to quit shooting,” McKnight said

Freedman said it was his coaches and teammates trusting him and “making sure I know that I can make those shots (that gave) me the will to keep shooting.”

Despite leading most of the game, Braves coach Matt Dunn didn’t feel good about the loss.

“We’ve led at the half of all five league games, so that shows that we’re competitive,” Dunn said. “But we haven’t found a way to win three of them, so that shows that we’re not good enough.”

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