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Matson Classic loaded with intriguing matchups
Top-ranked Mater Dei and No. 2 Brea Olinda will be in the same building Saturday afternoon.
While Orange County’s perennial powers won’t square off, both will participate in the Tony Matson Memorial Classic at Orange Lutheran.
The four-game showcase begins at noon with Canyon taking on No. 9 Santa Margarita. Mater Dei and No. 4 Fairmont Prep meet at 1:30 p.m.
Brea Olinda and Windward of Los Angeles take the court at 3 p.m., and fifth-ranked Orange Lutheran and Sierra Canyon of Chatsworth wrap up the event with a game at 4:30 p.m.
Saturday’s showcase marks the seventh installment of the Matson Classic, honoring former Lancers girls coach, Tony Matson, who passed away in 2009.
“I think most of the coaches that have participated over the years knew Tony in some fashion,” current Orange Lutheran coach Tom Howard said. “The desire to play in it is two-fold, I think. For one, it honors Tom’s legacy. And at the same time, we’ve been able to create matchups that showcase some of the best teams in Orange County and Southern California.”
The Canyon-Santa Margarita opener pits two teams that have spent time in the county top 10 this season. Brea coach Jeff Sink said last week the Comanches are the most improved squad he has seen in the county this season.
All six teams competing in the day’s final three games are among the teams on the watch list for the CIF-SS Open Division.
Mater Dei and Fairmont Prep played last season in the Matson Classic. Brea Olinda was the state runner-up in Division 3 a year ago. Windward was the Southern Section’s 1AA champ.
Sierra Canyon won the Division 4 state championship last March, but the Trailblazers will have their hands full against a gritty Lancers team led by Jessi Matson.
“She’s her father’s daughter,” Howard said of the junior guard, the youngest of Tony’s three daughters. “She embodies his toughness and competitiveness. She’s a spitting image of him as a competitor, and continues to honor him by how hard she plays.”
Adjusting to the high school game is a tall task for ninth-graders, no matter how talented they are. Several local youngsters have opened eyes by acclimating to the varsity stage somewhat seamlessly.
Oxford Academy center Austyn Masuno and Trabuco Hills guard Sierra Clark are the lone freshmen listed among the county’s top 20 scorers more than halfway into the season.
Masuno’s 19 points per game is the best among ninth graders, and it’s good enough for one of the five best averages in the entire county. The center is also averaging 12 rebounds per game and has tallied 16 double-doubles in 18 appearances.
Clark is Trabuco Hills’ leading scorer at 13 points an outing in the competitive Sea View League. The guard scored a career-high 25 against first place Dana Hills less than two weeks ago.
Los Alamitos freshman Cailyn Crocker has taken the Sunset League by storm. The guard is averaging over 18 points in her first four career league games. In Los Al’s last 10 outings, Crocker is putting up 16 a night.
Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan captured his 750th and 751st career wins last week in victories over Santa Margarita and Orange Lutheran.
Now in his ninth season on the Monarchs sideline, Kiernan has compiled a 261-18 mark.
In his 20-plus year career coaching both girls and boys, Kiernan has an overall record of 751-122.
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