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Mater Dei, Orange Lutheran earn top seeds

OCVARSITY.COM

Mater Dei and Orange Lutheran are the only county teams to receive No. 1 seeds in their respective divisions heading into the CIF-SS girls basketball playoffs. The pairings were announced on Sunday afternoon.

No team has a bigger bull's-eye on its back than the Monarchs, the top seed in Division 1AA. Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in the county, No. 1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 1 in the nation by ESPN, has won six consecutive Trinity League titles, four consecutive CIF-SS titles and three consecutive state championships.

The Samuelson sisters – Katie Lou and Karlie– have fit in better than expected since they transferred from Edison to Mater Dei this season. And sophomore Andee Velasco has emerged as one of the top point guards in the county.

"The bracket looks OK," Monarchs coach Kevin Kiernan said. "It's going to be tough in that division any way you look at it with Long Beach Poly, Etiwanda, Troy, Santiago (of Corona), Centennial (of Corona), Brea and Edison. It does not get much tougher than that."

Orange Lutheran, which took third place in the Trinity League behind Mater Dei and Jserra, is the top seed in Division 2A. The Lancers are trying to get back to the finals for first time since winning the Division 3A championship in 2011.

The Lancers are led by veterans Abbey Goodsell, Sydney Jacobs and Jessica Salottolo.

"It's nice to be a No. 1 seed and obviously we feel we have as good a chance as anyone in the bracket," Lancers coach Tom Howard said. "However, it's not going to be easy. We need to have a great week of practice and prepare to play our best every game. That is the only thing in our control.

NOTES

Celia Marfone led Laguna Hills to a the Division 3AA championship and the Division 3 state championship game last season. Marfone has moved on to UC Davis, but Maddy Ziering-Smith and Anna Mumm played big roles on that team last season. The Hawks' chances took a big hit after Mumm suffered a season-ending knee injury two weeks ago. Laguna Hills still grabbed the No. 4 seed in Division 3AAA and will open the playoffs at home on Thursday at 7 p.m.

"I think it is wide open and a number of teams could win it," Hawks coach Jim Martin said. "Our chances suffered a huge blow when we lost Anna Mumm for the season two weeks ago." ...

Canyon reached the Division 2AA quarterfinals last season and they won the Division 2A title in 2011. The Comanches, which placed fourth in the Century League, are seeded 11th in Division 1A this season and open at Cypress on Saturday at 7 p.m.

Said Canyon coach Matt Dale: "The (Division 1A) bracket doesn't seem to have one extremely dominant team, but rather several very, very good teams from all over the Southern Section. The top six team are from all over and have had some very impressive performances. The five seeds are filled with O.C. teams with great coaches at Westminster, Foothill and Huntington Beach, all of whom will do a great job preparing their teams for each round." ...

JSerra got the No. 2 seed in Division 4AA, which is the most loaded division after Division 1AA. Windward of L.A. is the top seed in Division 4AA. The Lions played the Wildcats in the PAW Division IV Showcase on Feb. 4 at JSerra and gave the top seeds a tough game before Windward pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 59-48 victory. ...

Contact the writer: carias@ocregister.com


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