Revamped Mater Dei earns chance to play for regional title


SANTA ANA – Losing is never an acceptable conclusion, but for the Mater Dei girls basketball team, one loss helped get them refocused and now they’re one step away from a CIF State title appearance.

After losing in the CIF-SS Open Division, the Monarchs hit the reset button on the season and continued their turnaround with Tuesday’s 56-41 home victory over Fairmont Prep (23-9).

Mater Dei (27-5) will face Cajon of San Bernardino in the CIF Division II Southern California Regional final on Saturday at 9 a.m. at Long Beach State.

“When we lost in the Open Division, we only had two games between Feb. 8 and March 9, so we kind of went back and changed everything we do,” Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said. “New drills, new philosophy, just changed everything and these last three games of state, we’ve played much better.”

Jayda Adams led the Monarchs with 17 in the regional semifinal game. Emma Torbert had 15, nine in the first half, and Ally Rosenblum scored 13. Nicole Freeman scored nine.

“We just wanted to win,” Adams said. “At halftime, we were looking at the scoreboard and we were only up by eight (28-20) and coach was like build the lead because last time we played them (Jan. 30) we were down by 13 and we came back and he said anybody can come back from eight and win the game.”

Mater Dei won that meeting, 50-47.

The Monarchs made sure there wouldn’t be any late-game madness as they opened the third on 9-2 run to increase their lead to 37-22. The lead would get up to 18 in the quarter on a 3-point field goal from Adams, 45-27.

Adams led the Monarchs with three 3-point field goals.

“We just had a lot of energy and we kept fighting until the very end,” she said. “The last time we played them we only played (well) for a solid six minutes. Coach said we had to play for 32 minutes and that’s what we did.”

Rachel Williams led Fairmont Prep with 11 points. Christina Li and Tristen Rollon had 10 apiece.

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