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Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders continue rampage through Mesa League Phillip Brents | Fri, Feb 10 2012 05:06 PM

The Mater Dei Catholic High School girls basketball team appears to have successfully reloaded after winning the Division IV state championship in 2009. The Crusaders, ranked third among San Diego Section teams, entered the week 6-0 in Mesa League play, 15-5 overall, after defeating top challenger Eastlake, 66-51, last Friday.

The victory was the second in as many meetings against the Titans, who entered the game with a 21-2 overall record.

Mater Dei Catholic received 15 points each from senior Cardedra Evans, sophomore Kandiss Barber and junior Alexandria Young. Junior Brittani Lusain contributed nine points while Young grabbed 10 rebounds.

The win was the eighth straight for the Crusaders.

Though last Friday’s game was much closer than the teams’ first meeting — a 62-28 MDC victory on Jan. 18 — it would seem that the defending Mesa League champions have yet another league title all but wrapped up at this point.

Kylie Diaz topped the Titans, who dropped to 4-2 in league play, with 16 points. Team scoring leader Trianna Arreola-Owen had 10 points in the setback while Unzi Park had a team-high nine rebounds and Taylor Smalley collected eight boards.

Scoring leaders for MDC include Evans (13.4 points per game) Barber (13.0 ppg), Young (11.6 ppg) and Lusain (11.0 ppg).

Crusader head coach David Monroe said the team’s success this season is based on continuity.

“What is paying off for the girls this season is that for the first time since this group of girls has been playing at Mater Dei that all of them played spring ball and summer ball together,” the MDC coach said. “This developed team chemistry for the girls. They participated in tough tournaments and games during spring and summer leagues. They all came into this season determined to get to the CIF championship game.”

Monroe noted the team now has a goal of winning a CIF title.

“They look at the 2009 state championship banner every time they are in the gym and that reminds them that they can be just as successful as the 2009 team,” Monroe said. “This team doesn’t have one player who carries the team; they win games by committee. Everyone plays key roles and contributes to the team’s success. They have played a competitive schedule so far this season, including trips to Arizona and Los Angles to compete against top competition to prepare them for the playoffs in hope of capturing a CIF championship.”

Rewind/fast forward

None of Mater Dei Catholic’s first round league games was close on the scoreboard. The Crusaders defeated Bonita Vista, 69-36, on Feb. 1. MDC took charge from the opening tip-off with a 14-5 first quarter run and put the game away with an 18-5 breakaway run in the third quarter.

The Crusaders topped Otay Ranch, 73-31, on Jan. 27 after dunking Olympian, 60-34, two days earlier. MDC squashed Hilltop by a 74-28 score on Jan. 20.

In short, the Crusaders appear to have received due respect.

The team’s losses this season have come against San Jose Archbishop Mitty (58-50), Highlands Ranch from Colorado (52-50), Corona Centennial (52-41), Gardena Serra (69-68) and Concord Carondelet (61-48).

Serra (20-3) entered the week ranked third overall in the state.

MDC expects to find its fiercest challenge in the upcoming San Diego Section playoffs that tip off Feb. 22. The Crusaders’ only worry: Both teams ranked ahead of them are also in the same Division IV enrollment division.

Top-ranked La Jolla Country Day (23-1) is currently ranked second in the division in the state (behind L.A. Windward) while Bishop’s, ranked second among section teams with a 16-6 record, entered the week ranked ninth in the division in the state.

Other top San Diego Section teams at the state level include Mission Bay (17-6), ranked second in the state in Division III,  and San Diego (18-5), ranked 13th in the state in Division I.

Section teams also demanding respect include Granite Hills (24-3) and Poway (17-6), along with Eastlake in Division I; Monte Vista (20-7), Mt. Carmel (19-5), La Costa Canyon (18-4), West Hills (18-5) and Serra (18-6) in Division II; and Valley Center (20-3), Mt. Miguel (18-5) and Cathedral Catholic (12-6) in Division III.

The Division IV section championship game is scheduled March 3 at 9:30 a.m. at USD.


Eastlake hosted Sweetwater on Jan. 28 in a high profile non-league match-up pitting teams near the top of both the Mesa League and South Bay League standings.

Eastlake captured the highlight contest, 50-42, behind 17 points from Arreloa-Owen, 15 points from Darrian Castillo and 10 points from Taylor Smalley.

South Bay League buzz
Sweetwater and Chula Vista remained on a collision course for rights to this year’s South Bay League championship by each picking up wins last week.

The Red Devils entered the week undefeated in league play at 8-0 after topping Montgomery, 47-34, on Feb. 1 while the Spartans downed Castle Park, 50-45, on Feb. 3 to keep stride with a 7-1 league record.

The teams squared off Wednesday at Chula Vista High School, with the host Spartans looking to avenge a 40-35 loss to the Red Devils in a first-round league game played Jan. 18 at SuHi.

Maria Tinajero led CV with 17 points in a 48-28 victory against Mar Vista on Feb. 1 while teammate Sierra Thomas poured in 15 points.

Anessa Wolfblack leads the Spartans with a 14.9 scoring average.

San Diego Section Finals

Friday, March 2
Division V girls, 2 p.m.
Division V boys, 4 p.m.
Division II girls, 6:05 p.m.
Division II boys, 8:05 p.m.

Saturday, March 3

Division IV girls, 9:30 a.m.
Division IV boys, 11:15 a.m.
Division III girls, 1 p.m.
Division III boys, 2:45 p.m.
Division I girls, 6:05 p.m.
Division I boys, 8:05 p.m.

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