Los Angeles Preps: girls' basketball

1. Ethan Cochran continues to impress in the field events for Newport Harbor. Cochran, whose discus throw of 203 feet 10 inches is the longest in the nation, won the Beach Cities Invitational at Huntington Beach High in both the discus and the shot put. Cochran threw the discus 201 feet, the third time this month he exceeded 200 feet at an invitational. He won the shot with a put of 58-10, his season best. The top shot put in the nation this season is 64-11 by Coy Blair of Logan-Hocking (Ohio). Ramon Vargas of Huntington Beach and Brandon Radlinger of Servite were also double winners at the event. Blair took honors in the 110 (14.84 seconds) and 300 hurdles (39.38). Radlinger won the long jump (21-8) and the triple jump (44.5). In his first competition of the season, junior Sage Stone of Mission Viejo won the high jump at 6 feet 8 inches, his personal best.

2. Also at the Beach Cities Invitational, Jordan Agnew broke a 32-year Los Alamitos High record when she won the long jump with a distance of 18-10 1/2. The previous record, set in 1980 by Thelma Viagar, was 18-4 1/2. Persis Williams of Estancia and sophomore Michaela King of Dana Hills were double winners on the girls' side. Williams won the 100 (12.62 seconds) and 200 (26.32), while King took the top step of the podium in the 100 hurdles and 300 hurdles (47.40).

3. The state championship by Mater Dei boys, won Saturday against Sacramento Sheldon, was the record ninth state title for Coach Gary McKnight. The performance by Katin Reinhardt, who scored 30 points with a broken thumb and stepped up when Xavier Johnson fouled out, was simply epic. Reinhardt (30 points) and sophomore Stanley Johnson, who is only 15 years old, combined for 51 points in the 66-48 victory.

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Mater Dei girls win third straight title

March, 24, 2012

SACRAMENTO -- After eight minutes on Saturday night, the CIF Division I girls championship game looked an awful lot like the 2011 edition. Mater Dei is sure glad it ended in much the same fashion as well.

The Monarchs trailed early but eventually wore down and defeated Berkeley 57-40 for a second straight title-game victory over the Yellow Jackets and a state championship three-peat. Mater Dei won the Division II title in 2010. It is the school’s fourth girls' state basketball championship.

“You always want to win your last game especially being a senior,” Monarchs senior guard Jordan Adams said. “Not many people can say that they have three state championships and I’m just so proud of my team.”

Adams and fellow senior guards Kaija Powell and Alexas Williamson have been a part of all three recent Monarchs championship teams, including national championships in 2010 and 2011.

Berkeley led 16-13 late in the first quarter on the strength of a hot start from the field, much like last year when they led Mater Dei 16-8. But on Saturday senior guard Nirra Fields, who was not at Mater Dei last year, took over. Fields had a put-back on the Monarchs’ final possession of the quarter to cut the deficit to one, then scored their first eight points of the second quarter, part of a 14-2 run to claim control.

Berkeley was able to score just two points -- on free-throws -- in the second quarter and eight in the third while the Monarchs broke the game open.

“We started guarding some people,” Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said. “Playing defense the way we know how. We don’t want to trade baskets with anybody, we want stops.”

Adams finished with a double-double recording 13 points and 11 rebounds in addition to three steals and three blocks. Fields had a game-high 24 points and nine rebounds while Williamson added 16 points. Williamson also had the difficult task of guarding shifty Yellow Jackets guard Elisha Davis who had 10 points and nine rebounds.

“She’s a really great player with a lot of skills,” Williamson said. “I was just trying to stay in front of her. … Sometimes she got by me but my teammates were there for the help.”

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Mission Prep loses in state final again

March, 24, 2012

SACRAMENTO -- In March 2008 Jenna Dunbar and Bri Harvey sat in this arena and watched Mission Prep, the school they would attend the next year, play for a state title. Walking into the arena they recalled specifics like their parking spot and the seats they occupied that day.

Unfortunately the outcome would match their memories as Mission Prep lost the CIF Division V state championship game 70-64 to a young, spry Brookside Christian squad on Saturday morning at Power Balance Pavilion.

“I have no regrets … I know none of the girls behind us have any regrets, I know [coach John] Krossa has no regrets,” said Dunbar, who scored 17 points and pulled down eight rebounds. “We are so blessed to be in this position and we gave it all we had.”

Mission Prep, which was riding a 29-game winning streak, was able to take advantage of the Knights’ physical style early, routinely drawing whistles in the first half -- at one point late in the second quarter the foul disparity was 8-1.

“Early on we weren’t doing a good job of plugging lanes,” Brookside Christian coach Que Ngo said.

Brookside Christian (30-4) opened things up in the third quarter as sophomore guard Tiara Tucker, who entered with a 26-point scoring average, asserted herself. Tucker scored on three consecutive possessions, drawing and-1 fouls on the latter two to open a 51-36 lead midway through the quarter. Tucker led all scorers with 28.

The Knights, much like Mission Prep, had grown accustomed to blowout wins winning its regional playoff games by an average of 20 points, took a 60-45 lead when freshman guard Ariana Vaughn beat the buzzer with a deep 2-pointer.

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ONTARIO --Mater Dei withstood an emotional charge by Long Beach Poly in the second half and won the right to defend it two consecutive state titles.

The Monarchs, the top-seeded team in the Southern California Regional Championships, scored a 54-43 victory over third-seeded Poly on Saturday in the Division I finals at Citizens Bank Arena.

Mater Dei was paced by Nirra Fields, who scored 20 points, and Alexas Williamson, who scored 14.

The game pitted Mater Dei (32-3), the No. 1 ranked team in the state, against Poly (31-4), ranked No. 3. They are ranked 1-2 in the state in Division I, essentially playing a de facto state championship.

The Monarchs will play in Sacramento next Saturday, 6 p.m., against the North champion, Berkeley, a 56-38 winner over Sacramento Kennedy. Berkeley is ranked fourth in the state in the division.

"It means a lot," Kevin Kiernan, Mater Dei's coach, said of the opportunity to win three in a row. "We're trying to build something here, obviously. ... That's why we work so hard."

Williamson proved especially important in the third quarter, when Poly had to make its push. The Jackrabbits, trailing 27-18, opened the third with Destiny King's rebound, but Williamson answered with back-to-back 3-pointers, and then Andee Velasco added another three for a 36-18 lead.

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There's nothing second-rate about the meeting Saturday night to determine the Southern California Regional Champion in girls' Division I basketball.

In what may well be the marquee game of the day in a a de facto state championship contest, Mater Dei (32-3) will take on Long Beach Poly (31-3) in the 6 p.m. game at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario.

There's not a northern team ranked ahead of third-seeded Poly, which was No. 4 in the state before it beat second-seeded Brea Olinda in the regional semifinals Tuesday, an impressive 64-50 road victory on the Ladycats' home floor floor. Poly had a 48-41 lead heading into the fourth quarter, then closed strong. Destiny King scored 16, sophomore Arica Carter 14 and Breeyon Alexander 10 in that victory.

For Poly to win the right to advance to the state title game in Sacramento, it will have to overcome a Mater Dei team that has been rejuvenated by the stellar play of Jordan Adams recently. The oft-injured guard has put up some impressive numbers in the last two games, and if she has any kind of a night against the Jackrabbits she will make it tough on Poly. Against Fontana Summit, she had 23 points, nine assists, six rebounds and four blocks. Against Huntington Beach, 24 points, 13 rebounds six assists and three steals.

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State Tournament
Southern California Regionals
Tuesday's quarterfinal schedule

(All games 7 p.m.)

No. 4 Loyola at No. 1 Mater Dei
No. 6 Fresno Bullard at No. 2 Long Beach Poly

No. 5 Inglewood at No. 1 Carlsbad La Costa Canyon
No. 3 San Diego Lincoln at No. 2 Mayfair

No. 4 San Diego Cathedral at No. 1 Alemany
No. 6 St. John Bosco at No. 2 Pasadena

No. 5 Pacific Hills at No. 1 Serra
No. 3 Price at No. 2 La Verne Lutheran

No. 5 Village Christian at No. 1 St. Bernard
No. 3 Renaissance Academy at No. 2 Ribet Academy

No. 5 Summit at No. 1 Mater Dei
No. 3 Long Beach Poly at No. 2 Brea Olinda

No. 5 Foothill at No. 1 Lynwood
No. 6 Palisades at No. 2 Riverside North

No. 4 Arroyo Grande at No. 1 San Diego Mission Bay
No. 3 Alemany at No. 2 Laguna Hills

No. 4 St. Bernard at No. 1 La Jolla Country Day
No. 3 Windward at No. 2 Serra

No. 5 Providence at No. 1 Mission Prep
No. 3 Rolling Hills Prep at No. 2 Villanova Prep
State Tournament
Southern California Regionals
Saturday's quarterfinal schedule

(All games 7 p.m., unless otherwise noted)

Mission Viejo at No. 1 Mater Dei, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Etiwanda at No. 4 Loyola
No. 6 Fresno Bullard at No. 3 Taft
No. 7 Orange Lutheran at No. 2 Long Beach Poly, 7:30 p.m.

No. 8 El Camino Real at No. 1 Carlsbad La Costa Canyon
No. 5 Inglewood at No. 4 Elsinore
Tulare Union at No. San Diego Lincoln
No. 7 Fresno San Joaquin Memorial at No. 2 Mayfair

Arroyo Grande at No. 1 Alemany, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Oak Park at No. 4 San Diego Cathedral
No. 6 St. John Bosco at No. 3 Calabasas
No. 7 Bell at No. 2 Pasadena

San Diego Parker at No. 1 Serra, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Pacific Hills at No. 4 Crespi
No. 6 La Jolla Country Day at No. 3 Price
No. 7 Visalia Central Valley Christian at No. 2 La Verne Lutheran

No. 8 Fresno Christian at No. 1 St. Bernard, 7:30 p.m.
No. 5 Village Christian at No. 4 Mission Prep, 7:30 p.m.
San Diego Rock Academy at No. 3 Renaissance Academy
California Lutheran at No. 2 Ribet Academy

Huntington Beach at No. 1 Mater Dei, 6 p.m.
No. 5 Summit at No. 4 Corona Santiago
No. 6 Hanford at No. 3 Long Beach Poly, 6 p.m.
El Toro at No. 2 Brea Olinda

No. 8 San Diego Serra at No. 1 Lynwood
No. 5 Foothill at No. 4 Ventura
No. 6 Palisades at No. 3 Keppel
No. 7 Porterville Monache at No. 2 Riverside North

Oak Park at No. 1 San Diego Mission Bay
No. 5 Bishop Amat at No. 4 Arroyo Grande
No. 6 Bakersfield Independence at No. 3 Alemany, 6 p.m.
West Torrance at No. 2 Laguna Hills

Campbell Hall at No. 1 La Jolla Country Day
No. 5 Bell-Jeff at No. 4 St. Bernard, 6 p.m.
No. 6 La Jolla Bishop's at No. 3 Windward
Brentwood at No. 2 Serra, 6 p.m.

Avalon at No. 1 Mission Prep, 6 p.m.
No. 5 Providence at No. 4 Orangewood Academy
No. 6 Visalia Central Valley Christian at No. 3 Rolling Hills Prep
No. 7 Dantzler at No. 2 Villanova Prep

SANTA ANA -- Mater Dei has won back-to-back Division I state championships in girls' basketball, and the Monarchs looked the part in the mid-stages of its first-round victory Tuesday against Burbank.

Mater Dei got 25 points from Nirra Fields and rolled to a 77-35 home victory over Burbank in the Southern California Regional Championships.

Burbank hung tough in the first quarter -- it trailed 16-9 -- before getting steamrolled.

[+] EnlargeMater Dei's Nirra Fields
Martin Henderson for ESPNLA.comMater Dei Nirra Fields scored 25 points in the Monarchs' easy victory over Burbank.
Coach Kevin Kiernan said that his team's intensity picked up in the second quarter after a letdown following its emotional come-from-behind victory over Brea Olinda in the Southern Section Division 1AA championship.

At halftime, he said the coaching staff got on players about their lack of passion.

"Sometimes, these games are passionless," Kiernan said.

There was plenty of passion in the third quarter as Mater Die outscored Burbank, 33-4.

Mater Dei (30-3) opened 39-16 lead at halftime, and following its huge third quarter took a 72-20 lead into the fourth.

Burbank committed 11 turnovers in the third, most of caused by the quick hands of the Monarchs, and didn't score until 45 seconds remained.

The fourth quarter was played with a running clock, and Damarie Gonzalez scored seven of her team-high 10 points for Burbank.

Alexas Williamson scored 20 points for Mater Dei, which will play the winner of the Huntington Beach-San Diego contest.

ANAHEIM -- Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said that without a doubt, his team's rivalry with Brea Olinda is the best in girls' basketball in Southern California.

Friday night at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena, the two teams delivered the kind of dramatics worthy of the rivalry.

Ranked second in the state but trailing by six points in the final seconds of the third quarter, second-seeded Mater Dei came from behind to beat the Ladycats, 54-47, to win the Southern Section Division 1AA championship.

It's the sixth section title for Mater Dei (29-3), and it denied Brea (24-6) its 17th in its 25th championship appearance. The Ladycats were making their first appearance with coach Kim Cram-Torres, who replaced Jeff Sink following his resignation. Brea came into the game ranked No. 11 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports.

Afterward, Kiernan had nothing but praise for the team that outplayed his for three of four quarters. But that fourth quarter -- that's where the Monarchs earned their crown.

"They did everything they needed to do tonight to win," Kiernan said of Brea, the team it defeated last year in the section and Southern California Regional finals en route to a Division I state title, "and we kind of came in and stole it. ... We started playing defense."

Nirra Fields, who moved into the area this school year -- her guardian is Lakers coach Mike Brown -- scored on a jumper with 2 minutes remaining to give Mater Dei its first lead since the first quarter. They had trailed by as many as six with less than a minute remaining in the third, but Fields closed with a 3-pointer to make it 39-36 going into the fourth.

Fields finished with 19 points, 15 in the second half. She was complemented by Khalia Lark with 14 points and Jordan Adams with 10.

Keitra Wallace led Brea with 16 points, and Taylor Spears -- who had previously attended Mater Dei before transferring -- had 11 points.

Fields was 2-of-3 from the field and 4-of-5 from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter, including a pair with 15.3 seconds left after a technical foul; Brea called a timeout it didn't have left. Fields stepped to the line and gave Mater Dei a 52-47 lead -- and the ball.

And the championship.

ANAHEIM -- You can't win a championship without scoring for an entire quarter. And so it was that Rio Mesa went into the Anaheim Convention Center Arena -- in its first championship appearance -- and laid a goose egg in the second period.

Outscoring its opponent by 12 points in a crucial eight-minute span, third-seeded Arroyo Grande built the cushion it needed to win the Southern Section Division 3AAA championship, 45-32.

Lindsey Wolf, a 6-foot-1 guard/forward, led Arroyo Grande with 17 points, and Heather Madrigal scored 12 with a team-high 10 rebounds. Alexa Wetmore had eight points and five assists.

Ashley Ontiveros led fourth-seeded Rio Mesa with 11 points, and Ashley Rodriguez had nine. Riley Abraham delivered four points and 17 rebounds.

It was also the first title game for Arroyo Grande, the champion of the PAC 7 League.

The Eagles had a 13-11 lead at the end of the first quarter, but Rio Mesa seemed to get a momentum bump on Brenna Abraham's 3-pointer at the buzzer, but the Spartans wouldn't make another field goal for another 9 minutes 53 seconds -- another 3-pointer by Abraham, who finished with six points.

During the second quarter, Rio Mesa took nine field goal attempts and three free-throw attempts, and none of them went in.

Even with Abraham's third-quarter drought-buster, Rio Mesa didn't score again until 2:27 remained in the third and by then it was facing a 31-14 deficit.

At that point, there was no coming back.

Laguna Hills wins 3AA title in double OT

February, 29, 2012

ANAHEIM -- It took two extra periods, but the correct result was finally achieved -- and what a result it was.

Fourth-seeded Laguna Hills went toe-to-toe with the state's No. 18 team, Mission Hills Alemany, and persevered through two overtimes, 59-55, to win the Southern Section Division 3AA Championship Wednesday at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

The victory marked the fifth section title for Laguna Hills (22-8), but it was in doubt. They trailed in the opening quarter, 8-2, and at the end of regulation they lost all momentum on a last-second basket by Alemany (29-3) tied the score.

Actually, the basket came after the final buzzer, and any betting person would have put his cash on the Warriors.

But they slugged through the first overtime and finished, 53-53, and by the time the second OT rolled around, neither team had much left. There was only one field goal, and that was a big one -- Maddy Ziering-Smith hit a three-point basket with 37.4 seconds left to give Laguna Hills a 58-55 lead.

With 5.3 seconds left, she made one of two free throws.

Laguna Hills should have won the game in regulation. The Hawks led, 45-43, and forced Alemany into a rushed, long three-point shot that bounced off the backboard; Hannah Johnson got the rebound and put it back uncontested, but the red light behind the basket -- signaling the end of the game -- clearly went off. Laguna Hills players celebrated at midcourt, but the three officials gathered at the scorer's table, then called it good, sending the game into overtime tied at 45-45.

Celia Marfone led Laguna Hills with 22 points, and Maddy Ziering-Smith had 19. Jeena Bonutto, who hadn't scored in the playoffs, converted two three-pointers -- one that gave the Hawks a 43-40 lead with 28 seconds left in regulation, and another in the first overtime that gave them a 52-49 lead.

Leslie Lopez-Wood scored 23 and Hannah Johnson 10 for Alemany, which made only 21 of 70 shots, including six of 33 (Laguna Hills made eight of 33) and had three players foul out, Alex Moon (9 points), Johnson and Adaora Obi (6).
LOS ALAMITOS -- The top three divisions of the Southern Section boys' basketball playoffs are ruled by Orange County teams.

The playoff pairings, released Sunday at the CIF-SS office, established the foundation that will crown section champions Feb. 29-March 3 at Anaheim Arena, and the state finals March 23-24 in Sacramento.

The most diverse grouping atop the brackets is in Division 1AA, where Mater Dei (24-2) and Long Beach Poly (23-1) are seeded 1-2, followed by Etiwanda (26-1) from the Inland Empire and Los Angeles Loyola (21-4).

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1. Laguna Hills set an Orange County record by winning its 25th consecutive league title, the Hawks emerging atop the South Coast League Finals on Saturday. All 14 wrestlers qualified to the Central Division meet, where Laguna Hills will try to win an eight straight section title. Seven wrestlers won league championships: Martin Garcia (108), Andre Cabrera (134), Miguel Ramirez (140), Wyond Mills (147), Joe Applegate (154), Jason Newcomer (162) and Joaquin Alejo (287).

2. One of the year's best rivalries on the wrestling mat has been between Century League heavyweights David Trujillo of Villa Park and Carl Hulick of Esperanza. They are ranked 1-2 in Orange County, with Trujillo winning their first two matches. But in the Century League finals, Hulick emerged victorious, 3-2, by virtue of his third period takedown.

3. Across the board, Newport Harbor and Corona del Mar may have the greatest rivalry in Orange County. On Saturday, the schools' two elite water polo programs faced each other in the finals of the Southern California Championships, where Newport scored a 6-5 victory over the section's top-ranked Division 1 team. Carly Christian's three goals led the way for the second-ranked Sailors (21-4), who shut out the Sea Queens for almost 11 minutes in the middle of the second half. It was only the second loss for CdM (23-2), which had beaten Newport in their first three meetings of this season.

4. Mater Dei and Brea Olinda both lost girls' basketball games -- in Orange County -- in the same week! Usually if that happens, it's during a national tournament week in December such as the Tournament of Champions. But Mater Dei lost on Friday to Los Angeles Windward, 65-62, the state's No. 2 team losing to the No. 1. Earlier in the week, Brea was trounced by Anaheim Canyon, 64-46, behind Lindsay Uyematsu's 21 points and Christina Salvatore's 18.

5. Esperanza might be O.C.'s most exciting boys' basketball team right now. The Aztecs defeated Anaheim Canyon, avenging an earlier loss by scoring a uncommonly low-scoring game, 42-38, thanks to a 19-4 advantage in the fourth quarter. Jack Bazan led the way with 17 points, and Dillon Wasinack had seven. The Aztecs have played five games in a row decided by four points or less. Esperanza (16-8) has victories this season over Foothill (21-5), Canyon (20-6), Villa Park (15-11), Tustin (19-6), Woodbridge (18-7), and Trabuco Hills (15-10).
1. Foothill made a strong bid last week for the Orange County top 10. After beating Anaheim Canyon for the second time, 82-71, to pull even with the Comanches atop the Century League, Foothill avenged a loss to Esperanza with a 60-56 victory on Saturday. James Marinacci scored 16, and Connor Stevens 11 and Justin Davis 10 as the Knights overcame a 47-43 deficit heading into the fourth quarter.

2. Santa Margarita coach Jerry DeBusk announced Saturday that he was retiring at the end of this season. DeBusk has coached the Eagles for 20 seasons and has a 463-133 record at the school. Although only 13-11 this season, Santa Margarita was ranked No. 4 in the Southern Section Division 3A poll last week. DeBusk will remain at the school as an instructor in the Auxilliary Studies Program.

3. Ocean View scored 41 points in the first quarter of its 90-45 victory over Orange. According to the CIF-Southern Section Record Book, the record for most points scored in a quarter is 54 by Perris against Norte Vista in 1976-77; the record in Orange County is 44 by Santa Ana Valley against Estancia in 1977-78. For Ocean View, it averaged a point every 11.7 seconds in the quarter. The Sea Hawks led after the first eight minutes, 41-10. The Sea Hawks clearly turned down the heat after that as Cristian Rivera scored only 11 points and Conor Clifford eight; both average 14 per game. The leading scorer was Robby Weaver with 18 points, more than three times his average. For the game, Ocean View shot 58.1 percent from the field, and made nine of 21 three-point baskets.

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1. There aren't many sports where this quote is acceptable, but wrestling is one of them: "I wanted to go out and beat up on some kids," Miguel Ramirez told the Orange County Register after pinning all four of his opponents Saturday in the Laguna Hills Invitational. Ramirez, a 140-pounder for Laguna Hills, was returning to action after having been out with a back injury. The Hawks won their meet by producing five champions. Ramirez and Yorba Linda's Garret Myers (120) shared lower weight MVP, and Laguna Hills' Jason Newcomer (160) and Edison's Greg Meline (170) shared the award for the upper weights.

2. Mater Dei's girls' basketball team got pushed into the second half on Saturday in its victory over JSerra. With sole possession of first place in the Trinity League on the line, the Monarchs (18-2) held a 33-30 halftime lead and a 51-41 margin before pulling away for a 70-46 victory. Nirra Fields and Jordan Adams scored 24 and 20 points, respectively, for Mater Dei, which was ranked No. 11 in the nation in the ESPNHS Powerade Fab 50. Mater Dei's girls are ranked higher nationally than the boys, who registered at No. 15 last week.

3. Santa Margarita has spent the season in the shadows of girls' basketball, but with freshman transfer student Zaier Williams gaining her eligibility on Friday, the whole complexion of the program changes. The athletic guard can change the landscape, and scored 24 points in her debut, a 57-52 victory over San Diego Cathedral Catholic on Saturday. The Eagles (9-13) have been in rebuilding mode and are winless in four league games; that will probably change.

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