Los Angeles Preps: Jordan Adams

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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Country Day has too much for Serra

March, 17, 2012

ONTARIO -- Gardena Serra tried just about every gimmick defense in the book to limit the effectiveness of Kelsey Plum during Saturday afternoon's Southern California Regional championship playoff game at Colony High.

Nothing worked.

[+] EnlargeSerra
Sean Ceglinsky/For ESPNLA.comSerra players and coaches react after losing in the state regional final to La Jolla Country Day.
Plum finished with 23 points to help La Jolla Country Day take a five-point advantage at the halftime break and the lead ballooned to double digits in the fourth quarter en route to a 46-36 victory in a Division IV title showdown.

"Stopping Plum was one of our goals, but we didnt get the job done and it's disappointing," said Serra coach McKinsey Hadley.

With the victory over second-seeded Serra (30-4), top-seeded La Jolla Country Day (31-1) advances to next week's CIF state title game in Sacramento.

Plum was in the running for Gatorade State Girls' Basketball Player of the Year along with Southland standouts such as Santa Ana Mater Dei's Nirra Fields and Jordan Adams, along with Los Angeles Windward's Imani Stafford. Fields ultimately earned the honor.

"When teams focus on me, I try to get my teammates involved, that was the case tonight,'' Plum said.

After scoring 11 points in the first half, Plum got back to work in the third quarter. She scored a pair of baskets in the opening minutes and her play appeared to inspire the Torreys. The end result was a 33-28 lead to start the fourth.

With standout Rejane Verin on the bench with two fouls, Serra attempted to keep the score close in the first half. Deandra Toler and Caila Hailey combined for 11 points. The Cavaliers, however, trailed 23-17 at the halftime break.

Plum got off to a fast start. She knocked down a 3-pointer, was fouled in the act, and converted the subsequent free throw to complete the rare four-point play and give the Torreys a 11-7 advantage at the end of the first quarter.

Toler finished with 14 points.
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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SANTA ANA -- There's something about Jordan Adams lately. She has spent the entire season banged up and it seems as if she hasn't been healthy since she was a freshman.

But Adams, one of the top seniors in the nation, has come on in the playoffs like the leader she is. She scored 23 points, had nine assists and four blocked shots on Tuesday in the semifinals of the Southern California Regional Championships, lifting top-seeded Mater Dei to a 69-59 victory over fifth-seeded Fontana Summit.

The victory on Mater Dei's home floor sends the Monarchs to the SoCal Regional Finals on Saturday, 6 p.m., at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario against third-seeded Long Beach Poly, a 64-50 winner over second-seeded Brea Olinda. Mater Dei (32-3) is two wins from winning its third consecutive state title.

Adams, the USC-bound point guard who had a big game in the second round -- an 80-52 victory over Huntington Beach -- also had six rebounds.

Adams wasn't the only Monarch who filled the basket. UCLA-bound Nirra Fields scored 25 points, had eight rebounds and five steals. Khalia Lark added 12 points.

Summit (30-4) scored the the first six points of the game as Ashley Weissmann connected on consecutive three-point baskets, but Mater Dei led after the firset quarter, 21-19, and at halftime, 36-30.

The Monarchs opened the lead to 33-22 in the third quarter but Summit cut its deficit to one point. Still, Mater Dei led by 16 in the fourth quarter.

Jillian Alleyne led Summit with 18 points. Wiessmann had 12 and Ajaee Foster 14.

Girls: Mater Dei 71, Cor. Santiago 32

February, 28, 2012

ANAHEIM -- The Mater Dei girls’ basketball team has a way of making good teams look bad.

The second-seeded Monarchs took on unbeaten Corona Santiago on Tuesday afternoon in a Southern Section Division 1AA semifinal and wasted no time sprinting away from the third-seeded Sharks en route to a 71-32 victory at the Anaheim Convention Center Arena.

Mater Dei Girls
Blair Angulo/For ESPNLA.comA 25-0 run that began in the first quarter fueled Mater Dei to an easy win over previously undefeated Corona Santiago.
Mater Dei used a 25-0 run that stretched from the first quarter and into the second to take a 20-point lead and the Monarchs never looked back.

“Coming into an arena-type setting, to shoot as well as we did in the first quarter, I think that gave us a huge advantage,” said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan.

Santiago (30-1) scored the game’s first five points before the Monarchs finally got on the board on a three-point basket by Kaija Powell with 5:14 left in the first quarter.

Mater Dei (29-3) kept on scoring, ending the first quarter on a 22-0 run and then scoring the first three points of the second. The Monarchs shot 6-for-10 from beyond the three-point stripe in the opening quarter.

“Usually, it’s harder to shoot the threes in this type of setting, but we’ve been shooting pretty well lately,” Kiernan said. “I think that got us off to a great start.”

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Grant Jerrett named McDonald's A.A.

February, 9, 2012
The two-year drought is over.

La Verne Lutheran forward Grant Jerrett was named to the prestigious McDonald's All-American game on Thursday, becoming the first player from California to be honored since 2009 when four locals were named to the west roster. Jerrett, an Arizona signee, is the state's only representative this year.

"I feel honored and blessed to be able to play in this game," said Jerrett, who is averaging 24 points and 11 rebounds for back-to-back state champion Lutheran.

This year's game will be televised live by ESPN on March 28 at 6:30 p.m. PT from the United Center in Chicago.

Here is a link to the complete boys' rosters.

On the girls' side, the Southland will have four players in the game (which will be played the same night as the boys' game but at 4 p.m. PT) on the West roster

Mater Dei guards Jordan Adams and Nirra Fields are on the team, as well Silverado center Candice Agee and Windward center Imani Stafford.

Here is a link to the complete girls' rosters.
Ranked 1-2 in the state by Cal-Hi Sports, Los Angeles Windward completed a sweep of the three teams that have ruled girls' basketball in Southern California—and state—for years.

In Mater Dei's Meruelo Events Center in the final game—the marquee game—of the first day of the Nike Extravaganza, Windward scored a 65-62 victory over the two-time defending state champion and host Monarchs.

Windward (21-3) came into the game ranked No. 6 nationally in the ESPN Powerade Fab 50; Mater Dei (21-3) is No. 11.

"When you play in these kinds of games, you take a risk," Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan told the Orange County Register. "Why play teams you can beat by 50, what does that prove?"

He said that his team will be better for having played the game regardless of the outcome, a sentiment that was echoed by Windward coach Steve Smith about a 62-48 loss three weeks ago to the No. 1 team in the country, Phoenix St. Mary's.

"Without that game," Smith told Maxpreps, "not sure how this one turns out."

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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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1. Mater Dei lost in overtime for the second time this season, 76-73 to Gladstone (N.J.) Gill St. Bernard's, the No. 4 team in New Jersey. The Monarchs had a scoring line that would make you ask, "How did they lose?" Xavier Johnson and Stanley Johnson scored 22 and Katin Reinhardt 21, but the rest of the team accounted for only eight points -- seven of them by Elijah Brown. The Monarchs had a four-point lead heading into the fourth quarter. In their other loss, to Arlington (Texas) Grace Prep, they blew an 18-point lead in the second half and lost, 86-80. Monarchs have their biggest Trinity League test on Wednesday when they play host to Orange Lutheran.

2. Four players scored in double figures, led by Nick Thomas' 26, as Capistrano Valley defeated El Toro, 68-50, to continue the momentum heading toward a South Coast League showdown next Wednesday against Mission Viejo. Capo Valley has won 12 of its last 13 games, and plays Aliso Niguel and Dana Hills before getting a chance at the Diablos. Mission Viejo, carrying a 15-game winning streak, plays at Tesoro and El Toro and has a nonleague game against Victor Valley this week. Both teams have lost to Mater Dei, which defeated Mission Viejo 89-53 and Capo Valley 91-55.

3. It's not very often that the Brea Olinda girls' basketball team has a close call with anyone not wearing a Mater Dei uniform or that of a nationally ranked opponent, but the Ladycats had an extremely close call against Anaheim Canyon in the post-Jeff Sink era. The Ladycats were down by two points when Keitra Wallace tied the game with 10 seconds left, 47-47. Brea (10-4) owned overtime on its way to a 60-50 victory. Wallace finished with 28 points, helping new coach Kim Cram-Torres avoid the fallout that would have accompanied the first league loss since 2006 and the second league loss in more than a decade.

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State Basketball: Div. I girls, Mater Dei 59, Berkeley 47

March, 26, 2011

SACRAMENTO – Banged up and slow out of the gate, the Mater Dei girls' basketball team had to earn the CIF Division I championship against Berkeley. Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan said his girls perhaps started the game too conservatively, playing not to lose rather than to win.

Behind 33 points from Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the Monarchs beat Berkeley, 59-47, to win the CIF Division I championship at Power Balance Pavillion on Saturday night.

Mosqueda-Lewis was playing with an injured quad. Teammate Jordan Adams had a separated shoulder. Both players gutted out a game that saw Berkeley take a 12-point lead in the first quarter and make a furious comeback in the fourth quarter.

“They came out with a lot of energy and we weren’t ready for it,” Kiernan said.

Mater Dei, the top-ranked team in the nation by ESPN Rise, started slowly, but once the Monarchs warmed up, they were red hot. Berkeley jumped out to an 11-1 lead and was up 16-4 in the first quarter befor Mater Dei found its scoring stroke. The University of Connecticutt-bound Mosqueda-Lewis hit a 3-pointer at the end of the first quarter to cut Berkeley’s lead in half, 16-8.

It was the shot Mosqueda-Lewis needed to heat up.

“Nothing comes easy,” Berkeley coach Cheryl Draper said. “Once we started playing their pace, we lost our rhythm.”

Mosqueda-Lewis scored 12 points and hit two more 3-pointers in the second quarter as Mater Dei pulled ahead, 19-18, with 2:02 to play in the half. Mosqueda-Lewis scored eight of her team’s final 10 points of the quarter. Mater Dei outscored Berkeley, 16-4, in the second quarter to take a 24-20 lead at halftime.

Despite playing with an injured shoulder, Adams directed the Mater Dei offense through the comeback. She had six assists and eight rebounds to go with a modest six points.

“I was pretty much crawling off the court,” Adams said.

Adams said she started the game feeling pretty good, but she got hit in the first minute of the game and played through the pain the rest of the way.

“She’s really tough,” Kiernan said. “The next 31 minutes was like going to the dentist.”

Mater Dei built a 16-point lead after three quarters, 46-30. Berkeley mounted another rally, opening the fourth quarter with a 16-4 run. Berkeley cut the lead to four points, 50-46, but that was as close as the Yellowjackets would get.

Kiki Alofaituli scored 11 points and had seven rebounds for Mater Dei. Alexyz Vaioletama had 12 rebounds and eight points.

Elisha Davis hit four 3-pointers and scored a team-high 17 points for Berkeley. Chairese Culberson scored nine points and had 15 rebounds.

Inland Empire and Orange County: Mater Dei 59, Canyon Springs 44

March, 19, 2011

LOS ANGELES -- Locked in a game that was too close for comfort, her team too close to being declared the national champion to let the opportunity slip away, Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis seized control of the Southern California Regional Division I Championship in the opening minutes of the fourth quarter.

The UConn-bound wing scored eight points in a 3-1/2 minute span, and scored 13 of her game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter that turned a two-point game with Canyon Springs into a rout, a 59-44 footnote in her stellar athletic career.

“She willed herself, and us, to the win,” said coach Kevin Kiernan, whose program was ranked No. 1 in the nation last season by ESPN Rise. “It’s not just her talent, it’s her mental toughness.”

Mater Dei (33-1) currently ranked No. 1 in the nation, will try to win its third state title at Arco Arena next Saturday, 6 p.m., against Berkeley, a 68-57 winner of Concord Carondelet.

Lewis played with a pulled muscle in her leg and, for the first three quarters, played second fiddle to USC-bound teammate Alexyz Vaioletama, who had 17 points in leading the Monarchs to a 39-35 advantage. After Cheyenne Greenhouse scored to make it 39-37, Lewis went on her tear. She scored on a hook, and after Kiki Alofaituli tallied inside, Lewis fought off a defender riding her shoulder the length of the court on a drive, then scored inside on a nifty pass from Jordan Adams. That made it 49-37 with 4:30 left in the game.

If Canyon Springs (30-4) had any intention of knocking off Brea Olinda —which was ranked No. 3 nationally at the time — and Mater Dei in back-to-back games, the opportunity ended there.

Adams, who missed her last game with a dislocated shoulder and said she was only 60 percent healthy for this game, followed a Canyon Springs score with a three-point play. Lewis put back her own miss and with 1:40 remaining, then buried a three-pointer.

Alofaituli added 12 points for Mater Dei, and Tear’a Laudermill and Jasmine Johnson scored 14 apiece for Canyon Springs.

Inland Empire: SoCal Regional Finalist, Canyon Springs

March, 14, 2011
ESPNLA plans to take a closer look this week at the Inland Empire basketball teams that qualified for the Southern California Regional championship games Saturday at USC's Galen Center. First up, the Canyon Springs girls' basketball team in Division 1.


Location: Moreno Valley.

League: Inland Valley.

Resume: The Cougars opened the season ranked fourth in the Southern Section Division 1AA coaches' poll behind Mater Dei, Brea Olinda and Long Beach Poly. One of its two regular seasons losses came against Long Beach Poly, and Canyon Springs was later beaten by Brea Olinda in a Division 1AA semifinal. Payback came Saturday night in a regional semifinal, when the third-seeded Cougars stunned the Ladycats, 63-53, in Brea’s gym. For their efforts, they earned a date with top-seeded Mater Dei in Saturday's final at 6 p.m.

Roster: What makes Canyon Springs difficult to match against is its 1-2-3 punch of 5-9 senior guard Tear’a Laudermill, 5-11 junior wing Jasmine Johnson and 6-2 senior forward Sophia Ederaine. Laudermill, who has signed with Nebraska, is averaging 16.7 points, 5.3 assists and 3.6 steals. She has struggled with her shot the last two games, however, missing 19 of her last 26 field-goal attempts. Ederaine, who has signed with University of San Diego, provides a staunch presence in the middle that will be key against Mater Dei. She’s averaging 11.9 points, 9.7 rebounds and 7.2 blocks with five triple-doubles this season. Johnson is averaging 13.5 points and eight rebounds. In three regional playoffs games, she’s averaging 17 points.

Reality: Canyon Springs could be catching the Monarchs at the right time. Jordan Adams and Alexas Williamson, the starting backcourt for Mater Dei, are reported to be out for the season. Adams, a 6-foot junior point guard, injured her left shoulder in a quarterfinal victory against Santa Monica and did not play in the semifinal win against Harbor City Narbonne. Williamson, a 5-9 junior shooting guard, underwent appendectomy surgery last week and missed the last three games. Alexyz Vaioletama picked up some of the slack against Narbonne, totaling 29 points and 19 rebounds. Vaioletama, a 6-1 center who has signed with USC, will meet her match in Ederaine.

Result: Canyon Springs 67, Mater Dei 65.

LA South and Orange County: Mater Dei 57, Santa Monica 41

March, 10, 2011
SANTA ANA — They are now ranked No. 1 in the nation, but the distinction doesn't come without a little bit of pain. Mater Dei shooting guard Alexas Williamson underwent emergency surgery on Monday for appendicitis. On Thursday, starting point guard Jordan Adams dislocated her shoulder.

It popped back in, but now she's a question mark for the Southern California Regional semifinals.

What wasn't a question mark was the outcome of the quarterfinal. Mater Dei turned in a terrific defensive performance and rode it to a 57-41 victory over Santa Monica.

It was the third time this season the Monarchs (31-1) have beaten Santa Monica.

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 16 points and eight rebounds and Alexis Vaioletama had 13 points and eight rebounds. Kiki Alofaituli had 11 points and 13 rebounds in her most extensive performance of the season.

"Kiki had a huge game," said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan of the Arizona State-bound Alofaituli, who tore ligaments in her ankle 11 months ago. "She's starting to feel comfortable. She's a big-time player, we just have to get her ready after the injury."

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Orange County: Mater Dei 63, Brea Olinda 54

March, 5, 2011
ANAHEIM --Getting big performances from a number of players, including 18 points off the bench, Mater Dei won the showdown for girls' basketball national supremacy against Brea Olinda, 63-54, on Friday at Anaheim Convention Center Arena to capture the CIF-Southern Section Division 1AA championship.

The title was the third in a row for Mater Dei, which entered the game as the No. 2 team in the country. The No. 1 team?


The Ladycats, like Mater Dei (29-1), were also going for their third consecutive section title. The Southern Regional finals begin next week and the regional finals — the likely rematch — will be March 19 at the Galen Center.

Kevin Kiernan, the coach of Mater Dei — his team won a state title last season—knows that these two teams probably will meet in the Southern Regional finals, but he was relishing the victory over such an accomplished program and putting off worry about the state tournament until Monday.

"These games are so hard," he said. "Mater Dei is a great school, a great program with great players. When you play a team like Brea with great kids, great talent, great coaching -- those are the gratifying moments."

That gratifying moment came after Brea (29-1) nearly came back from oblivion, cutting a 56-41 deficit with 6 minutes 2 seconds remaining to two possessions, 59-54, with 1:24 to go. But Brea, which wiped out most of a 12-point first-quarter deficit before halftime only to give up the first eight points of the third quarter, had the comeback end there with Keitra Wallace's final free throw. The Ladycats were 0 for 3 from the field while Mater Dei made four of six free-throws.

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Orange County: Mater Dei girls
leave worries behind to win D-II title

March, 26, 2010
BAKERSFIELD – Up by 17 points, her team in complete control of the CIF girls basketball Division II state championship game, Santa Ana Mater Dei’s Jordan Adams admitted she was worried. She was worried at halftime that her team was too relaxed, that Carondelet might put up a fight, come out in the second half and put together some sort of rally.

Mater Dei had to fight off a furious comeback but eventually pulled away again to beat Carondelet, 58-43, at Rabobank Arena on Friday.

Mater Dei won the game by 15 points and had a 17-point lead at halftime, but the Monarchs saw their lead almost disappear in the third quarter. Carondelet outscored Mater Dei, 14-5, in the third quarter and was down by only six points early in the fourth quarter.

“I was worried at halftime,” Adams said. “We were too relaxed. I was hoping we wouldn’t fall too far behind or fall behind at all.”

To make the comeback even more remarkable, Erica Payne, Carondelet’s top rebounder and scorer at halftime, fouled out midway through the third quarter. Payne left the game with seven points and 10 rebounds.

Carondelet cut Mater Dei’s lead to six points, 39-33, early in the fourth quarter, but that was as close as the Cougars would get.

Carondelet whittled away Mater Dei’s halftime lead after Hannah Huffman and Erin Boettcher asserted themselves in the offense. Huffman scored 13 second-half points after being held scoreless in the first half as Carondelet inched closer to Mater Dei.

“The first half just wasn’t my half,” Huffman said. “I just kept shooting the ball. Sooner than later, they started to fall.”

Boettcher made some clutch free throws for Carondelet in the second half and finished with 12 points. She scored eight points in the second half and was six for 10 from the free-throw line.

Carondelet was down by eight, 39-31, after three quarters and scored a basket to start the fourth quarter to cut the lead to six. But Mater Dei responded and built an 11-point lead minutes later.

“We just couldn’t close that six-point gap,” Carondelet coach Margaret Gatner said. “I thought we had a real good shot.”

Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored a game-high 21 points with three three-pointers for Mater Dei. Jessica Duarte added 19 points on seven-for-13 shooting from the field. Adams finished with 12 points and nine rebounds.