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CHAS METIVIER, FOR THE REGISTER
On their knees, JSerra's Coco Miller and Mater Dei's Karlie Samuelson battle for possession in game action Saturday.
See more photos from this game in the Hot Shots Overtime slideshow for Saturday's games.

Mater Dei girls pass test from JSerra

FOR THE REGISTER

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – Andee Velasco stood at the top of the key isolated one-on-one with her defender.

With two dribbles between her legs and a right to left cross-over, she found space in the lane to dish the ball to teammate Jayde Woods for an uncontested layup as the JSerra help defender stepped into her path.

The bucket gave the Mater Dei girls basketball team a six-point lead over the Lions with 2:34 to play, and the boost they needed to overcome an inspired JSerra performance.

The top-ranked Monarchs used a strong fourth quarter to defeat No. 4 JSerra, 61-54, in a Trinity League game Saturday night at JSerra High.

In what Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan described as his teams first test of "adversity" this season, he felt the Monarchs passed with flying colors.

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SLIDESHOW: Hot Shots Overtime: Saturday's games

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"All of our games have been pretty comfortable," he said. "It's not to say we want a game like this, but it's really good for us to be able to win it."

Karlie Samuelson, who had a game-high 28 points, said the Monarchs were able to stay calm in order to secure the victory.

"We didn't panic," she said. "It was a good test for us, they (JSerra) played really well."

Mater Dei (21-0, 5-0) entered the fourth quarter trailing, 47-44, and with leading scorer and rebounder Katie Lou Samuelson out because of a left knee injury since the 6:07 mark of the second quarter. Somebody had to step up.

Velasco and the elder Samuelson were there to take over.

"Andee stepped up and made some big shots," Samuelson said. "We knew we had to step it up and we knew we could do it."

Velasco finished with 17 points, including four 3-pointers.

JSerra's valiant attempt at knocking off the top team in the nation fell just short despite a solid all-around effort, including a team-high 18 points from August Touchard.

Lions leading scorer Coco Miller finished with 14 points. Kiernan said the Monarchs defense was keyed to stop her.

"We were trying to keep Coco Miller out of the game," he said. "Sometimes that cost our rebounding, so we had to kind of make a tradeoff."

Kiernan had some strong words for his team before the fourth quarter, and the Monarchs were met with an equally strong performance to win.

"I told them that the whole season is on the line," he said. "The league title is on the line, you're going to have to find a way to win, and to their credit they did."


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