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PAUL RODRIGUEZ, ORANGE COUNTY REGISTER
Mater Dei's Katie Lou Samuelson, right, stays in front of Windward's Jordin Canada as she finds an opening to pass the ball off to a teammate in the CIF Open Division Southern California Regional final Saturday.

Mater Dei girls reach end of the line

OCVARSITY.COM

ONTARIO – When the Samuelson sisters, Karlie and Katie Lou, transferred to Mater Dei from Edison this season, Monarchs coach Kevin Kiernan knew he was going to be building a team with a different style.

"We're going to live and die with the 3," Kiernan said in the preseason.

That style carried Mater Dei all the way to the CIF Southern California Open Division regional finals before it ran into Windward of L.A.'s Jordin Canada, arguably the best point guard in the nation, sharpshooter Courtney Jaco and the physical presence of 6-foot-1 power forward Kristen Simon.

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Mater Dei worn by Windward's relentless five

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The top-ranked Wildcats (32-0) ended Mater Dei's run of three consecutive state championships with an 81-71 victory on Saturday night at Citizens Business Bank Arena.

"We played a different style this year," Kiernan said. "In a game like this, where you have to go against a big post – the post at Etiwanda hurt us a little bit, too – in a game like this it hurts you. We knew that and we've kind of embraced the style we're going to play. It took us to 30-2 and got us to here.

"With a young team, I'm pretty happy with that. I don't think we could have gone another way with the team we had."

Simon owned the post, finishing with 14 points, 17 rebounds and two blocked shots. Jaco, who has committed to USC, made 6 of 12 3-point shot attempts and finished with 26 points. Macchiati Smith scored 16 points.

But Canada orchestrated the whole thing with her ability to attack the basket and find her teammates with precision passes. She finished with 17 points and 14 assists.

Mater Dei stayed in striking distance most of the game, but Windward had an answer whenever the Monarchs made a run whether it was a 3-pointer by Jaco, Simon banging in the post or Canada attacking the basket.

Katie Lou led the Monarchs with 23 points, Karlie had 14 points, eight rebounds and six assists and Andee Velasco had 11 points.

Contact the writer: carias@ocregister.com


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