Mater Dei wins showdown with Bishop Gorman


LAS VEGAS - The Jerry Tarkanian Classic tournament field in Las Vegas was designed for Mater Dei and Bishop Gorman of Las Vegas to meet in the championship game. The only question was: Could both teams find their way into the final among a group of talented teams?

Both the Monarchs and the Gaels did just that, as they found themselves pitted against one another just 366 days after their previous meeting at the City of Palms Tournament last season.

While both storied programs are no stranger to big games, Mater Dei looked more championship-worthy than ever as they defeated Bishop Gorman, 76-60, behind 23 points and 12 rebounds from tournament MVP Stanley Johnson.

“Mario (Soto) got us going with two quick (3-pointers),” Monarchs coach Gary McKnight said. “Stanley and Elijah (Brown) are the focal points, so when he hits two 3’s, it spreads people out, and I thought our post defense was outstanding.”

The Monarchs held Gorman’s 7-foot sophomore phenom Stephen Zimmerman to eight points.

Mater Dei (10-0) took hold of the game from the outset, scoring the first 14 points in six minutes.

Gorman (12-1) was able to cut into the Monarchs lead as it scored nine consecutive points to close to 29-23 late in the first half.

As the Gorman crowd began to get energized, Johnson banked in a 3-pointer from just inside half court as the buzzer sounded, giving the Monarchs a 35-23 advantage.

The second half stayed consistent with the dominant Mater Dei theme, as the Monarchs went on an early 19-6 run to take a 52-30 lead, their first 20-point lead of the contest.

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