Mater Dei girls banged up but still winning
SANTA ANA – Even without its starting backcourt, top-seeded Mater Dei was able to wear down Narbonne of Harbor City, 59-38, in the CIF Southern California Regionals Division 1 semifinals on Saturday night at Mater Dei High.
Jordan Adams and Alexas Williamson were both out because of injuries, but USC-bound Alexyz Vaioletama came through with 29 points and 19 rebounds to lead the Monarchs.
"We knew everybody had to step it up," Vaioletama said. "We had to do all the little things and not depend on one person."
Narbonne, the L.A. City Section runner-up, stayed with Mater Dei for most of the game. The Gauchos had a 10-8 lead after the first quarter and the game was tied, 24-24, at halftime. The Monarchs were clinginging to a 40-36 lead heading into the fourth quarter.
That's when Vaioletama and Jessica Duarte started heating up. Duarte hit back-to-back 3-pointers early in the quarter and Vaioletama continued her dominance in the paint as the Monarchs outscored the Gauchos, 19-2, in the final quarter.
"We were good on the boards all night," Kiernan said. "I think we wore them down. I think they got tired in the fourth quarter.
"At the beginning of the year her (Vaioletama's) timing was kind of off. Now she's just crushing people."
Connecticut-bound Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis took over the point guard duties with Adams out with the injured shoulder and finished with 15 points, six rebounds and five assists. Arizona State-bound Kiki Alofatuli added 11 points and 10 rebounds for the Monarchs.
"Narbonne is a tough matchup for us with our starting backcourt out," Kiernan said. "So it was like throw out the records and seeds. They were right there with us for most of the game."
Atoe Jackson scored a team-high 15 points to lead Narbonne, which fell to 31-5.
Mater Dei (32-1), the defending CIF-SS Division 1AA champion, will meet Canyon Springs of Moreno Valley in the Division 1 final on Saturday at 6 p.m. at USC's Galen Center.
Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said Williamson and Adams are likely out for the remainder of the season.
The Mater Dei-Canyon Springs winner will play the winner of the Northern Regional final, Carondelet of Concord vs. Berkeley, for the state championship on March 26 in Sacramento.