Mater Dei's second loss is last of season (video)

Mater Dei's second loss is last of season (video)
The Monarchs are knocked out of the state playoffs by Fairfax.
SANTA ANA - Four Mater Dei players scored. The Monarchs needed a fifth scorer, and needed one badly.

That fifth source of points was in the gym and on the bench, but unable to play. Mater Dei, having soldiered along so well for almost two months without Andy Brown, finally showed how much they missed him these past few days.

Mater Dei's season of great expectations ended in the second round of the CIF Southern California Regionals on Tuesday, when the Monarchs were eliminated from the state tournament by Fairfax of Los Angeles, 79-64, at Mater Dei.

It was the second loss in four days for Mater Dei (31-2). The Monarchs' first loss of the season came Saturday in the CIF-Southern Section Division I-AA championship game, a loss to M.L. King of Riverside.

Brown was part of a remarkable starting five, a rare group of which all had NCAA Division I scholarship offers in hand, with Brown signed with Stanford, the Wear twins, David and Travis, signed with North Carolina, and juniors Gary Franklin and Tyler Lamb committed to USC and UCLA, respectively.

Brown's season ended in January, when he tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee. Brown could only be a spectator Tuesday.

“This is the team we have,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said last Saturday, waving off the loss of Brown. But Brown was Mater Dei's best player in the section and state playoffs last year.

Fairfax (27-4) will play Westchester (32-2) in the semifinals Thursday.

Fairfax got a lot of scoring from a lot of sources Tuesday. Junior guard Jordan Weathers scored 23 points, and was 7 for 11 on 3-pointers. Solomon Hill, a senior forward who signed with USC, scored 19, as did junior guard Donte McFrazier.

Renardo Sidney, the Lions' 6-10 senior center who committed recently to USC and is a state player of the year candidate, did not do much. He missed his first six shots and finished 2 for 13 from the floor for 10 points.

David Wear scored 21 points with 13 rebounds. Lamb scored 13. Mater Dei shot poorly from long range, making only four of 19 3-point tries. Franklin struggled the most, going 0 for 9 behind the arc and 3 of 18 overall.

The Lions were far crisper on offense, and far more active on defense than the Monarchs.

McKnight said the Monarchs focused on stopping Sidney, based upon what they had seen of Fairfax in previous games. But other Lions supplied the big baskets, especially Weathers, who made three 3-pointers in the second half.

“They didn't hit those shots in those other games,” McKnight said. “Tonight, they hit those shots time after time.”

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