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Mater Dei earns a second shot at Bishop Montgomery
SANTA ANA – Mater Dei gets a second chance. Two second chances, really.
The Monarchs beat St. Augustine of San Diego, 63-57, Tuesday in a CIF Southern California Regional Open Division semifinal at Mater Dei.
The win sets up a rematch Saturday at the Pyramid at Long Beach State as Mater Dei (33-2) will play Bishop Montgomery of Torrance (29-2) in the championship game. Tip-off is scheduled for 8 p.m.
Bishop Montgomery advanced with an 87-80 win over Chino Hills in Tuesday’s other Open Division semifinal.
Bishop Montgomery beat Mater Dei, 70-55, in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division championship game two weeks ago at Honda Center.
Mater Dei senior Justice Sueing said the Monarchs will be excited for another opportunity to win a championship, and another opportunity to beat Bishop Montgomery.
“Can’t wait for that,” Sueing said. “Our game plan definitely will be different. We’ll be a lot better.”
Sueing and junior center Bol Bol led Mater Dei with 15 points each. Matthew Weyand added eight points. In the game’s final 33 seconds, Weyand was 5 for 6 at the free-throw line.
It was Mater Dei’s third win over St. Augustine (28-5). The Monarchs defeated the Saints, 86-62, on Dec. 3 in the championship game of the Diablo Inferno tournament at Mission Viejo High, and defeated them, 74-62, in the Nike Extravaganza at Mater Dei on Feb. 4.
St. Augustine had won seven in a row since the Nike Extravaganza game.
Mater Dei is 13-1 against Bishop Montgomery during Gary McKnight's 35 years as Monarchs coach. That one loss was on March 4 in that CIF-SS Open Division title game.
The Monarchs have won 16 regional championships, by far the most of any California school. They are 16-7 in regional championship games. Mater Dei’s 11 state championships is a state record.
St. Augustine was CIF-San Diego Section Open Division champion. The Saints were led by senior Taeshon Cherry who scored 25 points with 11 rebounds. Cherry, a 6-foot-9 junior, is the San Diego Union-Tribune’s San Diego County player of the year.
The first quarter ended in a 14-14 tie. The Monarchs grabbed the lead for good in the second quarter and had a 28-25 lead at halftime. They pushed their lead to 11 points in the third quarter, but St. Augustine, led by Cherry and Otto Taylor (16 points) kept battling and cut its deficit 48-41 going into the fourth quarter.
Mater Dei shot 43 percent from the field, but was only 3 for 19 (16 percent) on 3-pointers. St. Augustine was 36 percent from the field and 25 percent (6 for 24) on 3s.
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