Los Angeles Preps: David Brown

1. Mater Dei, 32-3 (1)—The Monarchs won a 23rd consecutive league championship and an eighth state title, and only one of their top 10 players—David Brown—is a senior. Can you say back-to-back? If Xavier Johnson, Katin Reinhardt, Stanley Johnson & Company work hard, they might be the best team in the country.

2. Orange Lutheran, 27-7 (2)—James Douglas and Gabe York led the Lancers to the Division 4AA title. They were the county’s only boys’ section champion and gave the school its first boys’ title. Lutheran—which beat Mater Dei and Westchester this season—was eliminated in the regional by La Verne Lutheran, the eventual state champion.

3. Foothill, 23-9 (7)—It’s all about the finish, and the Knights were rolling at season’s end behind Cooper Pickell and Rob Filley Though beaten by 2A champion Gahr, 71-70, in the section semifinals, Foothill overcame a 10-point fourth quarter deficit to beat 2AA runner-up Mission Viejo in the regional.

4. Mission Viejo, 29-3 (4)—The Diablos, led by BYU-bound center Isaac Neilson, and James Craven almost always played to the wire; three of their last five games went overtime, and their three losses were by a combined six points.

5. Canyon, 26-4 (3)—Chris Anderson’s third-seeded Comanches were shocked by sixth-seeded Summit in the 2AA playoffs, but then Summit lost to Mission Viejo before beating nationally ranked San Diego Lincoln and playing in the Division III state championship.

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SACRAMENTO -- All of Mater Dei's basketball players have their nicknames stitched to the back of their warm-up shirts. Some are funny and quirky. Others are a bit intimidating, like Katin Reinhardt's, which reads, "GET USED 2 IT."

The message may be prophetic.

Reinhardt had a game-high 17 points to guide Mater Dei to a 43-36 win against Concord De La Salle in the CIF State Boys Division I championship. The Monarchs claimed their eighth state championship, tying Crenshaw for the most all time. And like Reinhardt's shirt claims, California might have to get used to it.

"Be ready for what's coming," Reinhardt said smiling. "I'm probably going to take two weeks off, try to put some weight back on and come back strong for next year."

Mater Dei erased a nine-point deficit and survived despite a horrendous first half. The Monarchs (32-2) went more than six minutes without scoring and slow-paced De La Salle (27-6) capitalized, going on a 13-0 run to pull ahead, 16-7. It was the worst-case scenario; the Monarchs were playing right into the Spartans' trap and losing.

"We didn't match their intensity," Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight said. "They played more physical than us, offensively and defensively."

Mater Dei had only five points in the second quarter and just three made baskets in the entire first half. It all added up to an 18-12 deficit at the break.

"Down six to these guys is like being down 20," McKnight added. "We had to pick up the intensity."

The Monarchs outscored the Spartans 15-10 in the third quarter and regained the lead, 29-28, on the opening possession of the fourth. De La Salle managed just eight points in the fourth and had only one player in double figures, Benny Battle, with 10.

But it was how the gritty, hard-nosed Spartans wanted to play.

"Kids played their hearts out," De La Salle coach Frank Allocco said. "They did a [great] job all year and represented the north well."

This is fair warning, California: Mater Dei graduates only one starter, David Brown.

"It's a great group of guys," McKnight said. "They lost in the [Southern Section] semifinals. To come back and win a state championship says something about their character."

LA South and Orange County: Mater Dei 72, Loyola 70

March, 10, 2011
3/10/11
10:58
PM PT
SANTA ANA -- The ball came to David Brown on the wing, and he knew what to do with it. Pass. Except the Loyola defense had his teammates covered, so Brown -- the only senior among the top 10 players at Mater Dei -- fired the ball to the basket.

It was only three points, but they were among the biggest of the night as fourth-seeded Mater Dei escaped the Meruelo Athletic Center with a 72-70 victory over Loyola in the quarterfinals of the Southern California Regional Championships.

Mater Dei (29-3) will play against top-seeded Long Beach Poly on Saturday. Loyola, the Division 1A champion, finished 25-6.

The basket by Brown, who finished with seven points, tied the score with 1 minute 54 seconds remaining as the Monarchs rallied back from a nine-point deficit going into the fourth quarter.

"If I'm open, I can knock it down," said Brown, who's trying to choose between Columbia University and West Point. "I've got no problem taking an open shot.

"We were struggling, but we've grown so much during the season."

The ecstatic Monarchs fans were in stark contrast to the large Loyola contingent. The Cubs had a 66-60 lead when Parker Jackson-Cartwright made a 3-point basket with 3:21 remaining.

Cartwright, a 5-foot-10 freshman, still had a chance to win it at the buzzer when the Cubs inbounded the ball with eight seconds remaining. His shot from 20 feet hit the back of the rim and took a long bounce as time expired.

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