Cage stands tall in Mater Dei's victory in Nike Extravaganza


SANTA ANA – Mater Dei’s MJ Cage delivered one of his stronger performances of the season in a 79-72 win over Shadow Mountain of Phoenix, Ariz., on Friday night in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei.

The 6-foot-10 senior, who signed with Oregon, scored 22 points and had eight rebounds. It was his second-highest points total of the season. Cage scored 23 points vs. Edison on Dec. 10.

Mater Dei (22-3) plays Foothills Christian of El Cajon, which features UCLA-signee T.J. Leaf, Saturday in the Nike Extravaganza.

“We’re going to have to bring it,” Cage said of the Foothills Christian game. “T.J. Leaf’s a great player.”

Shadow Mountain (21-5) is coached by Mike Bibby, who played at Arizona and in the NBA. His son, Michael Bibby, scored 20 points, 11 in the first quarter.

Spencer Freedman, a sophomore point guard, scored 19 points with five assists for Mater Dei. He made three 3-pointers, scored on a couple of end-to-end drives, dribbled around and through traps and presses and kept the ball moving in the half-court offense.

“He makes other people look good,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said of Freedman.

The action was tense at times in the first half, with elbows thrown and a technical foul called. Both teams were in double-bonus in the first half. Shadow Mountain got its 10th team foul in the first quarter.

Mater Dei led at halftime, 43-36, despite being behind for much of the second quarter.

Leading the Monarchs’ rally in the second half of the second quarter was Freedman, who made two 3-pointers. Cage scored eight points in the quarter.

Mater Dei’s game tonight is scheduled to begin at 8:45. Foothills Christian is ranked No. 4 in California by Mater Dei is ranked No. 5.

The Nike Extravaganza’s schedule Saturday has three “morning session” games and six that are “evening session” games. Separate admission is required for the sessions - $12 for the morning session, $12-$22 for the evening session.

The Monarchs conclude the regular season next week with league games against Orange Lutheran and St. John Bosco.

Mater Dei’s game Saturday is scheduled to begin at 8:45 p.m. Foothills Christian is ranked No. 4 in California by Mater Dei is ranked No. 5.

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