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SANTA ANA - It was an off-night for Stanley Johnson, but that didn’t stop the top-ranked Mater Dei basketball team.
Johnson scored just five points, but the Monarchs (25-1, 9-0) had three players reach double figures, led by senior Elijah Brown (19) in a 71-54 Trinity League victory over third-ranked Orange Lutheran (17-8, 4-5) on Tuesdsay night.
“If you would have told we were going to win by 20 and Stanley is going to have five (points), I probably would have thought I don’t think so,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. “I thought some of the other guys stepped up and we had some fun. Everybody added in.”
Brown led the charge, scoring 17 of his 19 points in the first half. He scored 10 in the first period.
“I tried to come out and be aggressive,” Brown said. “Play the game, use the game plan we had and execute it. Basically attack the rim and that started to open up the rest of my game.”
Mario Soto scored 11 and Andrew Tisdale added 10 for the Monarchs. MJ Cage was next with nine points.
Jordan Strawberry had five points and eight assists.
“Stanley is a great player, one of the best in the country, regardless of age,” Brown said. “But people don’t understand how good of a team we are. These kinds of things don’t really surprise me.
“He’s going to have his nights, I’m going to have my nights and we’re both going to have our off nights. We’ll find a way to win. We’re a veteran team, a smart team and we’re really good at executing the game plan and as long as we do that, we’re most likely going to win the game.”
Johnson didn’t score his first points until a dunk with 3:31 left in the third quarter. By that time, Mater Dei had a 17 point lead.
“He struggled a little bit, but he’s allowed to do that once in a while,” McKnight said of Johnson.
Payton Banks led Orange Lutheran with 17 points. Brian Beard added 11 with six assists. Kendall Lauderdale and led the Lancers with seven rebounds.