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Mater Dei Catholic Crusaders keep winning, advance to regional semifinals Phillip Brents | Mon, Mar 17 2014 06:13 PM

The Mater Dei Catholic High School boys basketball team was the lone San Diego Section squad to advance past the opening round of this year’s Southern California regional championship playoffs.

Section teams finished 1-11 in the opening round, leaving the Division II champion Crusaders alone to represent San Diego.

Mater Dei Catholic advanced as far as Tuesday’s state semifinals before finally ending its season with an 84-64 setback to top-seeded St. John Bosco (21-4) in a Division II game played in Bellflower.

The fourth-seeded Crusaders ended an otherwise wildly successful season with a 30-3 record and positive 2-1 showing in the state playoffs.

Also on Tuesday, the MDCHS girls team, seeded sixth in the Division IV SoCal bracket, ended its season with a 64-32 setback at second-seeded Chatsworth Sierra Canyon (26-4).

The Crusaders girls squad finished the season 25-8.

St. John Bosco advances to Saturday’s Division II boys championship game against second-seeded Compton (25-7) at Citizens Bank Arena in Ontario (noon start). Compton defeated Anaheim Canyon (30-5) by an 81-78 overtime score in Tuesday’s semifinals.

In the Division IV girls SoCal final, scheduled Saturday at 2 p.m. at Colony High School in Ontario, Sierra Canyon will meet top-seeded Serra Gardena (26-4). Serra eliminated fourth-seeded San Juan Capistrano JSerra (23-11) in Tuesday’s semifinals.

“Both the boys and girls teams finished the season with tough loses in the state regional semifinals,” MDCHS athletic director Bill Gerken said. “Both teams won their Metro-Mesa League title. The girls were CIF Open Division runners-up and the boys won the Division II championship. A great year which helped instill the Crusader spirit in all the student body, faculty and staff. All the Crusaders, alumni and current students are very proud of their accomplishments and how they represented all of us Crusaders.”

To Gerken’s knowledge, this was the farthest the boys team has ever gone in the regional state playoffs.

Quarterfinal winners
Both Crusader teams improved to 2-0 in the state playoffs after recording quarterfinal-round victories last Saturday.
The MDCHS boys, seeded fourth in the division, defeated fifth-seeded Calabasas, 45-43, in a home game while the Crusader girls upset third-seeded Bishop Montgomery, 46-45, in an away match.

Both games featured thrilling finishes.

The ending to the boys game was a cliffhanger, with a no goaltending call against the Crusaders’ Iman Chatman preventing a potential game-tying basket and thus preserving the exciting MDCHS victory.

Chatman explained that his hand hit the ball first, then the backboard.

In basketball, goaltending occurs when an opposing player interferes with the ball when it is on its way to the basket and the ball is both in a downward flight, entirely above the rim and has the possibility of entering the basket.

If goaltending is called for interference with a field goal, the shooting team is awarded the points as if the field goal had been made.

After a lengthy discussion between court officials, the game was declared over after the missed basket and the home fans were finally able celebrate with their victorious team.

The Mesa champs were fortunate to survive to the semifinals.

Calabasas (28-6) built an 18-10 lead before the Crusaders went to work as freshman sensation Jaylen Hands came off the bench to score 11 consecutive points and put his team in the lead. He finished with a game-high 18 points while Chatman tacked on 10 points, including a key three-pointer.

Jerry Lieberman and Larry Bush each had 11 points to lead the Coyotes.

In Saturday’s girls quarterfinal, played in Torrance, Mater Dei Catholic built a 26-23 lead at halftime after jumping out to a key 15-11 first quarter advantage.

After the teams battled to a 9-9 stalemate on the scoreboard in the third quarter, the visitors carried a 35-32 lead into the final quarter.

The edge proved deep enough after the Knights (24-9) out-scored the Crusaders, 13-11, in the fourth quarter.

Bishop Montgomery’s Chelsea Lidy tied up the game in the final quarter and, after the visitors went ahead, Bishop Montgomery teammate Christine Delapina  attempted a buzzer shot. Delapina slapped the court after the shot missed.
While Crusader players were celebrating their narrow escape, Bishop Montgomery players began openly weeping at the end of their season.

Lidy led the hosts with 13 points.

With both the MDCHS boys and girls teams advancing to the state regional semifinals, Gerken echoed the rising wave of school pride.

“The boys being the only San Diego Section team left in the regionals showed their discipline and athletic talent with their win over Calabasas on Saturday night,” he said. “A hard fought-game and, even with the offense of freshman guard Jaylen Hands, it was the team defensive discipline that won it in the end.

“The Lady Crusaders came through in their quarterfinal away game against No. 3 seed Bishop Montgomery and again tough defense and key shooting by sophomore Jordan Brasfield and junior Kristine Sellona and the overall offense of All-CIF senior Kandiss Barber proved to be a little too much for the Lady Knights of Bishop Montgomery.”

After the upset win over Bishop Montgomery, the Crusaders were one of four San Diego Section girls teams still left in the state playoffs, joining fourth-seeded Mt. Miguel (Division III), and third-seeded La Jolla Country Day (Division V) and eighth-seeded Horizon Christian (also Division V).

However, that number was reduced to just one — LJCD — following Tuesday’s semifinals.

The Torreys (19-11) upset second-seeded Los Angeles View Park (27-6) by a lopsided 77-35 score to advance to Saturday’s Division V title game at Colony High School against fourth-seeded Reedley Immanuel (22-6). Tip off is 10 a.m.
Mt. Miguel’s season ended at 27-6 following Tuesday’s 60-50 loss at top-seeded Santa Barbara (29-5) while Horizon Christian (11-19) was eliminated, 85-51, by  Reedley Immanuel.

Semifinal ending
While the Crusaders boys team managed to seal the dramatic win over Calabasas in the quarterfinals with a stellar showcase of defense in the crucial final moments, Mater Dei Catholic fell behind early in Tuesday’s semifinal game at St. John Bosco and could not locate that same defense.

The Braves built a 10-point halftime edge and widened it several times throughout the second half. The visitors pulled to within 46-38 on the scoreboard midway through the third quarter on a breakaway slam dunk by Israel Seales, but the hosts promptly went back to work to regain their double-digit advantage.

The visitors had trouble containing St. John Bosco’s prolific offense and foul trouble doomed the San Diego Section champions down the stretch.

Seales fouled out in the fourth quarter with a team high 13 points. Hands contributed 12 points in the setback.
Vance Jackson led the Braves with 25 points while teammates Tyler Dorsey, Daniel Hamilton and Jordan Bell combined for 38 points.

GIRLS All-stars

The Metro Conference’s girls basketball coaches are hosting the inaugural  Metro Conference Senior All-Star game on Friday, March 21, at Mater Dei High Catholic High School. Tip-off is 7 p.m.

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