Windward Wins No. 1 vs. 2 Showdown
February, 3, 2012
By Harold Abend | ESPN.com
Scott Kurtz/ESPNHSWinward (Los Angeles) sophomore phenom Jordin Canada was one of three girls in double- figure scoring (10 pts.) in the top-ranked Wildcats' 65-62 win over No. 2 Mater Dei (Santa Ana).Important announcement from Cal-Hi Sports | Archived Cal-Hi Sports content
Victory by the Wildcats gives them the edge if it comes down to them and Mater Dei at the end of the season for the girls' hoops State Team of the Year honor since the two teams will be in different divisions in the postseason. Go inside here as well for highlights of other games played Friday at the Nike Extravaganza, including Mater Dei boys.
Related: Nike Extravaganza Saturday preview
The marquee game of Friday's session at the Nike Extravaganza pitted the top two teams in the Cal-Hi Sports girls state rankings was everything it was cracked up to be.
In the end, it was the size of No. 1 Windward of Los Angeles that proved the undoing of host No. 2 Mater Dei of Santa Ana in a 65-62 Wildcats' victory.
“Windward is a great team,” said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan. “They executed and moved the ball real well and beat us pretty good on the boards.”
Windward (20-2) used its size advantage to finish with a 45-22 rebounding advantage.
Macchi Smith, the hero of Windward’s 56-55 victory last Saturday over No. 4 Long Beach Poly, came through again. The sophomore guard had a team-high 16 points, including a rebound and put back off the front end of a one-and-one free-throw attempt by Imani Stafford with 26 seconds left that sealed the deal.
The 6-foot-7 Texas-bound Stafford only had nine points, but she pulled down 16 rebounds and blocked three shots, including a 3-point attempt by Mater Dei’s Khalia Lark with 2.5 seconds left.
“We wanted to take down the three-headed monster -- Brea-Olinda, Poly and Mater Dei and we got it done,” Stafford remarked.
Windward jumped out on top behind the blistering shooting of Courtney Jaco. The Wildcats led 15-7 at the end of the first quarter and 26-15 with 4:11 left before halftime.
Mater Dei refused to fold and went on a 14-0 run to take a 29-26 lead with 1:11 left in the second quarter, but Windward rebounded and the teams went into halftime tied 31-31.
“I had a bad shooting night against Poly, so I knew I needed to focus on my shooting tonight,” said Jaco, who finished with 12 points.
With the teams going back-and-forth for most of the third quarter, Windward came out strong to start the final period and led 61-51 with 2:20 remaining.
Still, Mater Dei was not finished. A 9-2 run got the Monarchs to 63-60 with 35 seconds to go, but from there they could only muster a pair of free throws by Nirra Fields.
Mater Dei (21-3) got a huge performance from the UCLA-bound Fields. She finished with a game-high 26 points. Washington State-bound Alexas Williamson added 17 points.
Although she was held in check much of the evening, Windward's Jordin Canada, a sophomore guard, finished with 10 points, six rebounds and four assists.
“We’ve learned a lot this year playing at the Nike against Riverdale Baptist, then the West Coast Jamboree, St. Mary’s of Phoenix, Brea, Poly and Mater Dei. I feel it was the toughest schedule in the history of girls' basketball,” said Windward coach Steve Smith.
Does tonight's outcome signal a changing of the guard in California girls basketball?
“I can’t really say it’s a changing of the guard because its year-to-year,” Smith said. “For this year it’s our guard."
Boys: Mater Dei rolls over St. John Bosco
After losing to state No. 1 Mater Dei in the first round of Trinity League play 86-71, coach Derrick Taylor of No. 19 St. John Bosco hoped the game experience would help his team get off to a strong start on Friday night in order to stay competitive with the No. 10 ranked team in the POWERADE FAB 50.
In the game played one week ago in Bellflower, Mater Dei led St. John Bosco 32-11 after one quarter. Time time around, Bosco held Mater Dei to 21 points in the opening quarter. Unfortunately for Taylor, his team only scored four points in the first eight minutes.
Mater Dei kept its foot on the gas. The Monarchs led 49-17 at halftime and rolled to a 83-62 victory.
Mater Dei (21-2) was led to victory by shooting guard Katin Reinhardt, a Cal-Hi Sports Mr. Basketball and national player of the year candidate. He nearly outscored St. John Bosco (17-6) by himself in the first half, netting 16 points. He finished with a team-high 18 points.
"We were really focused because this game decided the [Trinity] league title," Reinhardt said. "We wanted to play like we did over there at their house. I thought we did in the first half, but we were a bit sluggish in the second half."
Colorado recruit Xavier Johnson (16 points) and Elijah Brown (10 points) also netted double figures for Mater Dei.
Sophomore forward Daniel Hamilton led St. John Bosco with 26 points on 11-of-15 shooting. Brother Isaac Hamilton, a junior, was the only other player in double figures (14 points) for the Braves.
Girls: Oaks Christian (Westlake Village) 57, Orange Lutheran (Orange) 45
The second of three girls games on Friday saw Oak Christian, ranked No. 16 by Cal-Hi Sports, lead from start to finish in a game the Lions led by as many 16 points midway through the fourth quarter.
Meghan McIntyre led three girls in double figure scoring for Oaks Christian (20-4) with 18 points and seven rebounds. Beth Mounier added 17 points and seven rebounds while Brianna Barrett chipped in with 10 points.
Orange Lutheran (14-10) got 14 points from Abbey Goodsell.
Girls: Rialto 67, Rosary (Fullerton) 37
In the first girls' game it was all Rialto, as the Lady Knights bolted out to an 11-1 lead and never looked back.
Danae Williams led three players in double-figure scoring for Rialto (21-1*) with a double-double -- 25 points and 10 rebounds. Miya Arrington added 13 and Brittany Neely chipped in with 10 points.
Sam Hernandez led Rosary (12-12) with 15 points.
Harold Abend is the Bay Area and special assignments correspondent for Cal-Hi Sports. He can be reached at email@example.com. Don't forget to follow him on Twitter: @HaroldAbend