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ARMANDO BROWN, FOR THE ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Mission Viejo's Michael Cramer dribbles up court while being tightly defended by Mater Dei's Jordan Strawberry during the first half of Saturday's Division 1 Southern Regionals Round 2 against Huntington Beach at Mater Dei.

Missing pieces don't derail Mater Dei

OCVARSITY.COM

SANTA ANA — Mater Dei starting forward Stanley Johnson didn’t make a field goal until late in the fourth quarter. Starting guards Katin Reinhardt and Eli Stalzer didn’t even play.

That didn't stop the Monarchs from showing once again just how special they are.

Top-seeded Mater Dei beat ninth-seeded Mission Viejo, 78-66, Saturday in the second round of the Division 1 Southern Regionals at Mater Dei High.

The Monarchs will be host to fourth-seeded Loyola of L.A. in the semifinals on Tuesday.

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“We’re fine,” Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. “We got a lot of guys that can play. We’ve won seven straight (in the postseason). Life is good. We’re on a good run.”

Reinhardt, who suffered a broken right thumb after getting it caught in an opponent’s jersey in the CIF section finals against Long Beach Poly last week, will need surgery and not be available the rest of the state tournament.

Mater Dei (31-2) held a small lead for most the game against Mission Viejo but began to pull away when forward Mario Soto banked in a jumper to beat the third-quarter buzzer, giving the Monarchs a nine-point lead that wasn’t threatened.

Mater Dei forward Xavier Johnson had game-highs of 28 points and 11 rebounds. Guard Jordan Strawberry had 15 points, Soto had 11 and guard Elijah Brown had 10.

The Diablos (28-5) shot 57.9 percent from the field in the first half to trail, 34-29, at halftime.

Guard Evan Zeller finished with 22 points, guard Max Redfield had 15 and guard Michael Cramer had 14.


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