Friday, March 25, 2011
State Basketball: Div. I boys, Mater Dei vs. De La Salle
By Blair Angulo
CIF STATE BOYS DIVISION I
Matchup: Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-3) vs. Concord De La Salle (27-5), Saturday, 8 p.m.
How they got here: Mater Dei: beat Aliso Niguel, 66-46; Loyola, 72-70; Long Beach Poly, 72-55; Corona Centennial, 76-64 to win the Southern California Regional.
De La Salle: beat Granite Bay, 51-39; Sheldon, 47-45; Castro Valley, 49-43 to win the Northern California Regional.
Key Players: Mater Dei guard Katin Reinhardt, a junior who has committed to USC, can score from anywhere on the floor. He has had a tendency to start slow throughout the sectional and state playoffs, but he doesn't shy away from taking shots. He had a team-high 19 at Galen Center last week after missing six of his first seven attempts. Travis Pacos leads De La Salle in scoring at 17 points per game; no other player has more than 10.5.
What to expect: It may be freshman Stanley Johnson who makes the difference for Mater Dei. The youngster is far from tentative, as evidenced by his 14 points and 12 rebounds last week in the regional final win against Corona Centennial. Afterward, coach Gary McKnight joked that he could be a very good coach for the next three years with Johnson, 14, on board. Johnson's style of play might pay off against De La Salle's slow tempo and compliments well with that of teammate Xavier Johnson (no relation). History is on Mater Dei's side; the Monarchs are making their 12th state title game appearance, having won seven championships (the last came in Division II three years ago). De La Salle is 2-2 in four previous trips to state.