Los Angeles Preps: Kaija Powell
March, 24, 2012
By John Parker | ESPNLosAngeles.com
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.”
February, 28, 2012
By Dan Arritt | ESPNLosAngeles.com
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 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.
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.
“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.”