JSerra's Megan House and Mater Dei's Karlie Samuelson battle for a rebound in the first half.

Mater Dei girls too strong for No. 5 JSerra


SANTA ANA - The Mater Dei girls basketball team might be lacking the experience it has had in years past, but the Monarchs showed in their Trinity League opener against No. 5 JSerra on Thursday night that they are still very talented.

With four players scoring in double digits, including sophomore star Katie Lou Samuelson who led the way with a game-high 29 points, the No. 1 Monarchs cruised to a 75-52 victory at Mater Dei.

Samuelson, who scored the Monarchs' first 11 points of the game, also added nine rebounds and four steals.

"We figured they (the Lions) were going to try to take away Karlie and Katie Lou Samuelson," Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said, "and we wanted to make sure the other kids were ready for triangle-and-2 and box-in-1 (defenses). We've been working on playing against gimmick defenses for the last week or so, and we haven't played since Dec. 22 so we figured we'd be a little rusty, too.

"We just wanted to shake off the rust, get the ball to different people, and if they didn't go to the gimmick defenses then find the Samuelsons."

Sophomore guard Andee Velasco helped set the tempo for the Monarchs, who controlled the game from start to finish. Velasco scored 14 points and added seven assists and two steals.

Senior Karlie Samuelson, who was plagued by foul trouble early, contributed 15 points, and sophomore Cheyenne Allen added 10.

The Monarchs (13-0, 1-0) did an excellent job of containing JSerra's standout guard, Coco Miller, who made just six of 18 shots for 20 points.

Courtney Vaccher contributed 19 points and was a perfect 8-of-8 from the floor for the Lions (11-4, 0-1).

Mater Dei led 38-23 at the half before outscoring JSerra, 26-7, in the third quarter to take a 64-30 lead.

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