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Samuelson sisters carry Mater Dei to Nike TOC title
CHANDLER, Ariz. - A night after taking down the top-ranked team in the nation, Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan acknowledge he was worried that his team – built on youth and summer transfers – would not have the stamina to face another stiff challenge in the Nike Tournament of Champions Division E final.
Through the first seven minutes of Saturday’s contest, Mater Dei (12-0) and Riverdale Baptist of Upper Marboro, Md., were headed for a defensive slugfest rather than a polished prize fight.
That all changed with the flick of a wrist. Well, actually two wrists.
With the score tied at 15 late in the first quarter, the Monarchs’ star sisters – senior Karlie and sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson – took control from the perimeter, turning a matchup between two of the country’s top teams into a family affair.
The Samuelson sisters scored 42 of the Monarchs' next 45 points, and Mater Dei coasted to the tournament title, beating the Crusaders, 96-74.
Despite facing a physical Riverdale Baptist (10-1) defense, the two sisters were extremely efficient from 3-point range, hitting a combined 13 of 17 shots.
“I didn’t know if we had enough left in the tank, but when Karlie and Katie Lou started hitting shots, the team got excited,” Kiernan said. “(The Samuelson sisters) are just great kids, and the adjustment is probably tougher for the other kids.
“Everyone needs to know their roles. Some people’s role is to rebound, some people’s role is to handle the ball and some people’s role is to shoot. When everyone buys in, tonight happens.”
For their remarkable efforts in the final, Karlie (38 points, 9 rebounds and 4 steals) and Katie Lou (30 points, 7 rebounds and 2 steals) were named co-MVPs of the Division E bracket.
“That was great, because usually one of us is shooting well when the other isn’t,” Karlie Samuelson said. “This time both of us shot well. It was nice to go out like that.”
- DAVE DULBERG, For OCVarsity.com
Also in the Nike Tournament of Champions:
Brea Olinda 48, Hamilton of Chandler, Ariz. 43: Anna Kim scored 27 points and made the final six free throws to help the Ladycats (5-3) nail down a victory over the Huskies (11-2) in the John Anderson Division C championship game in Chandler, Ariz.
San Clemente 51, Bradshaw Christian of Sacramento 45: Alexa Johnson's 16 points propelled the Tritons (8-2) past the Pride (5-2) in the Joe Smith Division K championship game.
Rosary 53, Tolleson of Ariz. 37: Rachel Pau'u scored 18 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and Emily Arellanes drained three 3-pointers and finished with 16 points to lift the Royals (6-3) over the Wolverines (8-8) in the Mike Desper Division H third-place game.
Edison 47, Millennium of Goodyear, Ariz. 40: Geena Gomez scored 15 points and dished out 10 assists and Loli Gomez scored 14 points to lift the Chargers (5-3) over the Tigers (10-2) in the Joe Smith Division N consolation championship.
Santa Margarita 54, Hawthorne 29: Sheldon Cornwall had a double-double, Zaire Williams had 10 assists and Caitlin Heinly scored 18 points to help the Eagles (4-4) defeat the Cougars (6-6) in the John Anderson Division B consolation championship.
Huntington Beach 57, Indio 35: Morgan Potter scored 14 points, Paola Roa had 13 points and Stephanie Louie had 12 points as the Oilers (6-3) beat the Rajahs (4-5) in the Mike Desper Division H seventh-place game.
- CARLOS ARIAS