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MIGUEL VASCONCELLOS, FOR THE REGISTER
Mater Dei's Elijah Brown and Tustin's Deondre Bryant battle for the rebounds under the Monarch basket during Saturday's championship game of the Orange Holiday Classic at Chapman University.

Mater Dei tops Tustin in Orange Holiday Classic final

ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER

ORANGE – Tustin boys basketball coach Ringo Bossenmeyer figured his team would have to be close to perfect, and the opponent would have to be average.

The opponent, Mater Dei, was average Saturday — by Mater Dei's very high standards.

The Monarchs beat Tustin, 77-55, in the championship game of the Orange Holiday Classic at Chapman University.

Tournament most valuable player Stanley Johnson of Mater Dei scored 27 points with 12 rebounds and three blocked shots. Elijah Brown scored 26 with five 3-pointers and 11 rebounds.

"You've got to hope you bring you're A-plus game and they play a C-plus game," Bossenmeyer said. "They shot the heck out of it and we didn't."

Mater Dei (14-0) made 13 of 27 3-point shots. The Tillers (13-2) were 3 for 14 on 3-point tries.

Nick Hornsby led Tustin with 17 points, but had a difficult time. He was 5 for 21 from the floor, and 1 for 7 on 3-pointers. Overall, Tustin was 18 for 61, for 30 percent, compared with Mater Dei's 46 percent shooting.

"Some of our boys shot really well," said Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight, who now turns his attention to Trinity League play that begins at JSerra on Wednesday.

"We've had two practices in 2½ weeks because of all the tournaments," he said. "We breaking down a lot, and we need to get some practices in before league starts."

Specifically, McKnight said, "We need to get better at staying on our feet defensively, playing with a little more passion, and our zone offense leaves a little bit to be desired. We've got a lot of things to work on."

Mater Dei senior point guard Jordan Strawberry, who had six assists, agreed.

"We need to get better defensively," he said. "And we need to move the ball more on offense. When we move the ball around, the more guys we get touching the ball each time down the floor, the better we'll be."

Mater Dei had a four-point lead going into the second quarter, thanks in part to Brown's running 3-point bank shot at the buzzer. The Monarchs outscored the Tillers by 11 points in the second quarter to push their lead to 15.

Tustin got caught up in Mater Dei's fast-paced style in the third quarter, when the Tillers perhaps would have been better off slowing the tempo and making it as much of a half-court game as possible.

"We got into a little rush there in third quarter," Bossenmeyer said. "That happens when you play Mater Dei, the kids get a little amped up. Then the avalanche comes."

Johnson started the avalanche by scoring eight points in the third quarter. Mater Dei had the game in hand with a 19-point advantage going into the fourth quarter.

The Tillers, whose only other loss was to No. 5 Foothill, opens Empire League play at Yorba Linda on Wednesday.

Also in the Orange Holiday Classic:

Village Christian of Sun Valley 82, Canyon 65: The Crusaders (13-2) led by nine at halftime, then scored 34 points in the third quarter to take a big lead and defeat the Comanches (11-6) in the third-place game.

Bryan Alberts led Village Christian with 27 points. JoJo Ballestero led Canyon with 17 points including three 3-pointers. Nick Anderson added 14 points for the Comanches.

Canyon went 2-2 in the tournament. The Comanches' losses were to highly ranked teams. They lost in the semifinals Friday to Mater Dei, which is No. 1 in Orange County and No. 1 in maxpreps.com's national rankings. Village Christian is No. 1 in CIF-Southern Section Division 5AA.

Contact the writer: sfryer@ocregister.com


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