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Mater Dei hoping to rebound in state playoffs

OCVARSITY.COM

Mater Dei's girls basketball team was the overwhelming favorite to win its fifth consecutive CIF-SS title this season.

The Monarchs were ranked No. 1 in the county, No.1 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports and No.1 in the nation, and they were 28-0 heading into their CIF-SS Division 1AA semifinal game at Etiwanda last week. Then the Eagles pulled off the upset, beating Mater Dei, 73-72, in overtime.

Mater Dei, the three-time defending state champion, still landed in the CIF State Open Division, so now the Monarchs have to regroup and get ready for Stockdale of Bakersfield in a Southern California Regionals game on Friday at 6 p.m. at Mater Dei High.

"We just need to keep doing what we have been doing all year," Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said. "The kids have worked hard and have had a tremendous season. We played hard against Etiwanda. (Etiwanda) played well and we got a little rattled in a tough atmosphere. People forget how young we are.

"The faculty and administration at Mater Dei have been very supportive of us. You find out a lot about the people connected with your program when you have some adversity thrown your way. We believe in these kids and we will continue to work and prepare for teams like we have all year."

MOVING ON

Troy also earned a berth into the Open Division of the state tournament even though it lost to Santiago of Corona, 53-41, in the CIF-SS Division 1AA semifinals last week.

"It was a difficult loss, but they have short memories and they will be ready," Troy coach Roger Anderson said of his players.

Anderson was expecting his team to get a berth in the Division 1 state tournament, but the Warriors ended up on the road against La Jolla Country Day on Friday at 7 p.m. in the Open Division.

"It was very hard to get ready for state not knowing where we will play division-wise," Anderson said. "So we just concentrate on continuing to try and get better, working on our timing and defense."

SECOND CHANCE

JSerra, which lost to Serra of Gardena, 48-37, in the Division4AA semifinals, landed the No. 4 seed in the Division 4 Southern California Regionals and will play host to Mater Dei of Chula Vista on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

The Lions beat the Crusaders, 69-66, in the Holiday Hardwood Invitational on Dec. 26 at Oaks Christian High of Westlake Village.

"We need to continue to focus on our defensive schemes," Lions coach Mary Rossignol said.

"The details and little things will be key. Offense puts people in the seats and defense wins championships."

NOTES

Orange Lutheran was the top seed in CIF-SS Division 2A, but the Lancers got knocked off by Culver City, 42-40, in the semifinals. This was the first season no Orange County team reached a CIF-SS final.

"I guess at some point it was bound to happen, just statistically speaking," Lancers coach Tom Howards said. "It certainly took a series of very unusual and unlucky events for that to happen. I don't think it has anything to do with the quality of teams in O.C.

"There were a lot of O.C. teams in really tough divisions and (they were) put in very difficult situations."

The Lancers landed a spot in the Division 2 state tournament. They open at Serra of San Diego on Wednesday at 7p.m. ...

El Dorado, which lost to Agoura, 41-36, in the Division3AAA semifinals, earned a berth in the Division 3 state tournament. The Golden Hawks play at No. 6 seed Our Lady of Peace of San Diego on Wednesday at 7 p.m.

Contact the writer: carias@ocregister.com


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