Most Viewed Stories
Fryer on basketball: Mater Dei victory required more help than usual
Just as important to Mater Dei’s win over Chino Hills at USC’s Galen Center on Friday were Harrison Butler, Michael Wang and Matt Weyand. Their defensive efforts on Chino Hills’ brothers, LaMelo and LiAngelo Ball, were crucial to the Monarchs’ 83-80 overtime win in a CIF-Southern Section Open Division semifinal.
Butler, Wang and Weyand got plenty of the type of teammate help required when guarding the Balls, who combined to shoot 27 percent from the field and 13 of 41 on 3-pointers.
When LaMelo Ball maneuvered past one Mater Dei defender, another Monarch would slide over to pick him up. Then there was that third line of defense, the 7-foot Bol. Bol’s presence made Chino Hills players less inclined to drive the lane, thus allowing Mater Dei’s outside defenders get out farther to pressure the many 25- to 30-foot shots the Balls hoisted.
When Mater Dei lost in December to Chino Hills, 84-73 at the Tarkanian Classic tournament in Las Vegas, the Monarchs did not have Bol. Bol transferred to Mater Dei in early January and became eligible shortly thereafter.
“It’s funny how a 7-footer can alter things,” said Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight after Friday’s win.
Mater Dei plays Bishop Montgomery of Torrance in the Open Division championship game at Honda Center on Saturday at 7 p.m.
Bishop Montgomery has some shooters, too. The Knights’ David Singleton and Ethan Thompson don’t have the range of the Balls (who does?), but they will be another challenge for Mater Dei’s defense.
The schedule for the championship games was released Monday, and Capistrano Valley and Villa Park were included in the teams scheduled to play their final at the Honda Center on Saturday.
Those games are:
• Villa Park vs. Colony of Ontario, Division 2AA, 11:15 a.m.
• Capistrano Valley vs. Oxnard, Division Division 2A, 2:45 p.m.
Pacifica Christian will face Carnegie of Riverside in the Division 6 final Saturday at 4 p.m. at Godinez High.
Tickets for the Honda Center games are on sale at Honda Center. Participating schools will sell tickets for games at Honda Center, Azusa Pacific University and Godinez High beginning Wednesday. Advance sales are not happening at Azusa Pacific and Godinez.
Adult general admission for the Honda Center games is $18 in advance, $20 on game day. Student presale tickets for Honda Center games are $10 in advance, $12 on game day (valid student identification is required). Children tickets are $10 in advance, $12 on game day.
Parking at Honda Center will be $20.
A separate admission is required for the Open Division boys and girls games at Honda Center.
Admission to CIF-SS finals at Azusa Pacific is $15 for adults and $8 for students and for children. Admission to CIF-SS finals at Godinez is $14 for adults and $5 for students and for children.
CIF-SS basketball finals will be carried live, either on TV or live streaming, by Fox Sports West. Go FoxSportsWest.com/Prep-Zone for information.
• Villa Park is in its fifth CIF-SS boys basketball championship game over the past 20 years. The Spartans are 0-5 in those games. Their most recent CIF-SS final was in 2014, when they lost to M.L. King of Riverside, 61-46, in the Division 1A game.
• Capistrano Valley is not a tall team, but the Cougars have defeated two taller groups in these playoffs, Sunny Hills in the 2A second round and Rancho Christian of Temecula in the semifinals.
• The 11-player roster of Pacifica Christian, in the a CIF-SS final in its first season of varsity basketball, has no seniors, one junior, three sophomores and six freshman. One of those freshmen, point guard Dominick Harris, is averaging 26 points a game. In the Tritons’ Division 6 semifinals win over Foothill Technology of Ventura, it was another freshman, Cal Whitney, who led the way with 23 points and four steals.
• USA Today’s national rankings this week have Mater Dei at No. 11, up from No. 13 last week. Bishop Montgomery is No. 9. Sierra Canyon dropped from No. 2 last week to No. 12 after losing to Bishop Montgomery on Friday. Chino Hills slipped from No. 10 to No. 13 in USA Today’s rankings.
• Beyond the top 10, the following is this writer’s ranking of Orange County teams 11-25: 11. Corona del Mar (22-8); 12. Buena Park (24-6); 13. Orange Lutheran (11-17); 14. Crean Lutheran (23-7); 15. San Clemente (20-9); 16. Ocean View (22-07); 17. Aliso Niguel (19-12); 18. El Toro (18-10); 19. Canyon (16-12); 20. Huntington Beach (18-12); 21. Newport Harbor (17-12); 22. Mission Viejo (16-13); 23. Northwood (19-9); 24. Trabuco Hills (14-15); 25. Foothill (17-11).
• Seedings and first-round pairings will be released Sunday for the CIF Southern California Regionals which determines the teams that play in the CIF State championship games. Teams from the four CIF sections, the Central, Los Angeles, San Diego and Southern sections, play in the Southern California Regionals in six divisions that include an Open Division.
• The CIF-SS office will designate four teams for the regionals Open Division. Those four almost certainly will be the CIF-SS Open Division semifinalists, Bishop Montgomery, Chino Hills, Mater Dei and Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth. All 16 CIF-SS Open Division teams will be somewhere in the Southern California Regionals, as will every finalist in the other CIF-SS divisions.
• The regionals begin with first-round games March 8 in Divisions 1-5, and on March 10 in the Open Division.
• Esperanza was eliminated in the Open Division on Feb. 21. The Aztecs are going to the regionals, perhaps in Division 1. When they play in the regionals first round on March 8, there will be a 15-day gap between games for Esperanza.
Contact the writer: firstname.lastname@example.org