CIF state boys final preview: Mater Dei vs. Bishop O'Dowd
CIF STATE BOYS BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIPS
Mater Dei (29-4) vs. Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland (27-4)
Where, when: Haas Pavilion, Berkeley, Saturday, 8 p.m.
Fan info: Tickets are $16 general admission; $10 (seniors and students with valid ID), $10 children. Parking: $10.
Live coverage: Time Warner Cable SportsNet or Time Warner Cable Community; live streaming on TWCCommunity.com
Outlook: It is a rematch of last year’s state Open Division final. The Monarchs beat O’Dowd in last year’s Open Division state championship game, 71-61. Stanley Johnson, now starring in the NCAA Tournament for Arizona, scored 25 points in that game. MJ Cage scored 16 points. O’Dowd’s Dragons are No. 1 in the state rankings put together by CalHiSports.com. Mater Dei is No. 2 in that California top 20. O’Dowd’s top player is Ivan Rabb, a 6-foot-10 senior. In last year’s state final, Rabb had only two points through three quarters and finished with 10 points, 16 rebounds and three blocked shots. Rabb has not selected his college destination; his final five choices are Arizona, Cal, Kansas, Kentucky and UCLA. O’Dowd 5-10 senior guard Paris Austin committed to Boise State. Mater Dei has won four straight state champions, tying Price of L.A. for most state titles in a row. Rex Pflueger, a 6-6 senior guard who signed with Notre Dame, leads the Monarchs at 16.9 points a game. La’Vette Parker, a 6-2 senior guard, is scoring 16.2 points a game and is the Monarchs’ best outside shooter. Cage, a 6-10 junior, is averaging 13.4 points and 11.7 rebounds a game. Mater Dei came into this season with 11 state championships, the most of any school in California history. The Monarchs are 11-4 in state championship games. Monarchs coach Gary McKnight said controlling Rabb again will be emphasized. “MJ’s going to have to match Rabb as best he can,” McKnight said. “MJ’s been playing well, KJ Smith has been playing well, Pflueger is coming off of a great game, and La’Vette has been shooting the ball well. If we’re firing on all cylinders, we’ll have a shot. O’Dowd is No. 1 in the state for a reason.”