California High School March Madness

California Boys Finals: Mater Dei Clinches Top 10 National Ranking

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California Division 1 Final: Mater Dei Wins 8th State Championship In Defeat Of De La Salle

Mater Dei won its eighth state champion in boys basketball Saturday night with a 43-36 victory over De La Salle in California's Division I final.

Mater Dei, a nationally ranked school from Santa Ana, was led by junior shooting guard Katin Reinhardt. The 6-foot-5 Southern Cal-committed recruit scored a game-high 17 points.

Mater Dei's eight titles is tied with Crenshaw for the most in California history for a boys program.

Mater Dei played into De La Salle's slow-paced tempo early and trailed 18-12 at the end of the first half after making just three field-goal attempts, but eventually things started clickingat the Power Balance Pavilion (formerly the Arco Arena).

The game began very slow for Mater Dei (32-2) as they gave up a 13-0 run to turn a 7-3 lead into a 16-7 deficit before eventually pulling within six points at the half. Reinhardt went on a 10-0 run on his own, however, to bring Mater Dei back within striking distance.

The only player in double figures for De La Salle (27-6), typically known as a football school, was 5-foot-10 senior guard Benny Battle, who scored 10 points.

Mater Dei took a lead nearly in the fourth quarter, when it held De La Salle to only eight points.

Mater Dei entered the game ranked No. 7 by PrepNation, No. 11 by USA Today, No. 10 by ESPN Rise and No. 13 by MaxPreps. The team will return Reinhardt and three other starters next season.


California Division 3 Final: La Verne Lutheran Comes Back To Defeat Bishop O'Dowd

After a wild fourth quarter that saw plenty of lead changes and lutch shots, La Verne Lutheran scored the final six points and defeated Bishop O'Dowd 64-59 in the Division 3 championship game at Power Balance Pavilion (former Arco Arena) in Sacramento.

In a matchup of perhaps the top two power forwards in the 2012 high school class -- La Verne's Grant Jerrett and Bishop O'Dowd's Brandon Ashley -- it was shooting guard Kevin Payne who came up clutch to give La Verne (26-5) its second consecutive state championship after winning the Division 5 championship last season.

Payne, a 6-foot-2 senior, hit two 3-pointers in the final two minutes -- his only baskets of the game -- to complete the comeback after his team trailed 45-39 at the end of the third quarter.

The Jerrett-Ashley match-up didn't disappoint anyone, however, as Jerrett -- who has already given a verbal commitment to play for Arizona -- scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead the newly crowned state champions in both categories. Cameron Osorno added 16 points off the bench for La Verne.

Ashley had a game-high 26 points to lead Bishop O'Dowd (25-7) with UCLA head coach Ben Howland and Washington head coach Lorenzo Romar both watching courtside. The 6-foot-8 junior, and seventh-ranked player in his class according to ESPN, has yet to make a college commitment.

Note: In the first quarter of the game, La Verne Lutheran starter Xavier Jones was taken to the hospital when an implanted defibrillator went off, according to the Los Angeles Times. His coach, Eric Cooper, told the newspaper after the game that Jones was fine.


California Division 4 Final: Windward Upsets Salesian On Way To 63-57 Victory

Windward rolled through the Southern California Regional to reach the Division 4 championship game due to the strong play of Harvard-bound Wesley Saunders and Nic Stover, the brother of current UCLA center Anthony Stover.

The Los Angeles-based team decided to stick with that tandem on Saturday as Saunders scored 15 points and Stover added 13 to upset No. 4-ranked Salesian 63-57. It was Windward's second state championship in three years at Sacramento's Power Balance Pavilion.

Windward (27-8) led 13-10 at the end of a first quarter that featured plenty of missed shots as each team struggled to find its rhythm on the way to a 27-26 halftime lead for Windward behind 11 from Saunders.

Windward stretched its lead to nine points with 4:12 left in the fourth quarter, but a Jabari Bird 3-pointer with 35.1 seconds left in the game pulled Salesian within three at 60-57, giving the team from Richmond hope. Windward was able to make timely free throws down the stretch, however, hanging on for the victory.

Salesian (25-12) lost on the court once heading into the title game but forfeited 10 victories due to eligibility issues with Bird, who was later reinstated. Bird, a 6-foot-5 sophomore guard, finished with 23 points.


California Division 2 Final: Mitty Survives Summit's Late Rally

Heavy favorite Archbishop Mitty was able to hold off Fontana Summit 53-50 in the Division 2 championship game Saturday at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento.

It was Mitty's first state championship after previously losing to fellow powerhouse Mater Dei in both the 2007 and 2008 championship games.

Mitty, the top-seeded team in the Northern California Division 2 Regional, led 26-19 at halftime, but needed junior Jordan White to come up clutch in the fourth quarter to clinch the title.

With just 22.7 seconds left in the game and the score tied at 50, White made one of his two free-throw attempts to put Mitty ahead by one. He then came up with Summit's ensuing inbound attempt and converted on a layup to hold off Southern California's entry in the state championship.

Mitty, a private school in San Jose, was led in the game by sophomore Aaron Gordon. Gordon, the 6-foot-7 brother of former UCLA forward Drew Gordon, scored 17 points and grabbed an impressive 21 rebounds to tie a state championship-game record. ESPN ranks Gordon as the eight-best prospect in the 2013 high school class.

Other standouts for Mitty (32-2) included senior forward Brent Younger with 12 points and guard Kyle Toth with 10.

For Summit (28-9), the only public school playing in any of the California boy's championship games, the Cinderella postseason run came to an end despite a solid effort from senior power forward Dorian Cason. Cason, already committed to the University of Portland, scored 19 points and grabbed 10 rebounds to lead Summit in both categories.    


California Division 5 Final: St. Joseph Notre Dame Holds Off St. Bernard

It took five lead changes in the final quarter, but St. Joseph Notre Dame defeated St. Bernard 47-44 in the Division 5 championship game held at the Power Balance Pavilion in Sacramento Friday afternoon. For St. Joseph Notre Dame, the win marks the first Division 5 championship in school history.

Tied at 42 with 2:17 left in the game, 5-foot-7 senior point guard Jacari Whitfield hit his fifth 3-pointer of the game to give St. Joseph Notre Dame a 45-42 lead with just one minute left.

St. Bernard guard Brandon Randolph had a chance to tie the game with 1.7 seconds left  after both teams exchanged free throws, but the sophomore's desperate 55-foot heave caromed off the rim as time expired.

A nail biter throughout, the teams remained deadlocked after the first half. St. Bernard led 36-35 at the end of three, but St. Joseph Notre Dame rallied behind key 3-pointers that were ,too much for St. Bernard to overcome.

St. Joseph Notre Dame (27-8) was led by 6-foot-10 center Brandon Keane as the Northern Colorado-bound senior scored 12 points, eight coming in the first half.

The Alameda-based team made it to the championship game after defeating San Francisco University 61-43 to win the Northern California Regional.

For St. Bernard (26-9), Randolph had a team-high 14 points while Thurman Thomas contributed a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

The Playa del Rey team escaped the Southern California Regional with a 61-59 victory over Sierra Canyon.

St. Bernard improved from 4-23 last season to  26-9 under first-year Coach Reggie Morris Jr.


California boys finals: Nationally Ranked Mater Dei Tries To Win One Of Five Titles On The Line

Mater Dei, California's highest-ranked boys high school basketball team, beat nationally ranked Poly of Long Beach and Centennial of Corona to reach Saturday's Division I championship game in Sacramento.

Now, the former ''underdogs'' from Santa Ana, Calif., are heavily favored to defeated De La Salle - yeah, that De La Salle, the football school - and claim the title in California's highest class, Division I.

California is staging five championship games Friday and Saturday at the Power Balance Pavilion (formerly the Arco Arena) in Sacramento.

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight, in his 29th season, is 891-81 all-time. His latest team wasn't supposed to be one of his best, as it lost five starters from last year, but he did have junior Katin Reinhart, a Southern Cal commit. It didn't hurt that Xavier Johnson, another Pac 10 recruit, transferred in.

A victory Saturday would secure some Top 10 national rankings. Mater Dei is ranked No. 7 by PrepNation, No. 11 by USA Today, No. 10 by ESPN Rise and No. 13 by MaxPreps.

De La Salle, meanwhile, is the football power that has been  USA Today's national football champion five times. But the school from Concord in Northern California can play a little basketball, too. It upset Castro Valley (which entered with a 30-1 record) 49-43 after an 18-0 run in the second half.

In other finals, perennial power Archbishop Mitty of San Jose plays Summit of Fontana in Division II. Summit is the only public school alive in California's five finals. Summit has beaten Southern California's No. 2 seed, Ventura, and defending champion Lincoln of San Diego.

Mitty lost in the 2007 and 2008 finals to Mater Dei. The school was rated the No. 3 athletic program in the nation in 2008-09 by Sports Illustrated.

In Division III, Bishop O'Dowd of Oakland is a seven-time Northern California champion, but Lutheran of La Verne has the marquee player in Grant Jerrett, a 6-9 junior who is committed to Arizona. The Los Angeles Times featured Jerrett in a story on Jerrett this week.

In Division IV, Windward of Los Angeles is led by Wesley Saunders, who will be heading to Harvard, and Nicholas Stover, brother of UCLA center Anthony Stover. Salesian (25-11) has been surprising in the playoffs.

In Division V, the best worst-to-first story in the nation could be St. Bernard's turnaround from 4-23 last season under first-year coach Reggie Morris Jr.  St. Bernard is from Playa del Rey. Its opponent, St. Joseph Notre Dame of Alameda, is led by 6-10 center Brendan Keane, a Northern Colorado signee.

"If somebody told me back in September we’d be playing in the state championship game, I’d have said they were crazy," Morris told the Los Angeles Wave.

California finals at a glance - All Games PT

Friday @ Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento

Division V

1:30 p.m. - St. Bernard  vs. St. Joseph Notre Dame

Division II

8 p.m. - Summit vs. Archbishop Mitty

Saturday @ Power Balance Pavilion, Sacramento

Division IV

11:15 a.m. - Windward vs. Salesian

Division III

2:45 p.m. - Lutheran vs. Bishop O'Dowd

Division I

8 p.m. - Mater Dei vs. De La Salle

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