Mater Dei storms to victory in Las Vegas
LAS VEGAS — Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said he was worried how his team would react to an eight-day break between games.
Well, his players responded with a 70-30 drubbing of Cheyenne of Las Vegas on Thursday night in the second game of the Jerry Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High.
Mater Dei (7-0) opened the tournament with a 76-31 victory over Ribet Academy of Los Angeles on Wednesday, and it didn't relent when it came to its matchup with the Desert Shields (4-4).
The Monarchs got off to a quick start, outscoring Cheyenne, 19-4, in the first eight minutes of the game, led by eight points from Elijah Brown.
Mater Dei finished the opening half just as strong as it started, taking a 41-11 lead into the break.
McKnight pulled his starters early in the second half after Andrew Tisdale scored eight consecutive points to give the Monarchs a commanding 57-15 advantage.
"We had eight days off between the (Ocean View) Tournament of Champions and this tournament," McKnight said. "I thought we were a little rusty last night, but I'm hoping we get better and better as this tournament progresses."
McKnight said he wanted to use this tournament to play against teams the Monarchs didn't know much about.
"We didn't scout Cheyenne much coming into this game," he said. "We wanted to play somebody who was not local, so we could work on different things."
Brown showed no signs of rust, as he led all scorers with 24 points, including 5 of 6 from 3-point range. All of the senior's points came in the first half.
McKnight said Brown's strong start to the season is a result of the work put in by the 6-foot-4 senior.
"He has really worked on his game," he said. "He comes in the mornings, stays after practice, he's such an improved player from last year to this year."
Brown's running mate, Stanley Johnson, pitched in 17 points, six rebounds and five assists in limited minutes.
Mater Dei will face Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland at 10:20 a.m., and depending on the outcome of that game, it will play again Friday night at a time to be determined.