Mater Dei girls are denied by St. Mary's in state final

Stockton St. Mary's dominates fourth quarter to defeat Mater Dei, 76-69, in girls' Open Division state title g

BERKELEY -- For a program that measures itself by championships, Santa Ana Mater Dei had the season end in heartbreak in the CIF Open Division state final Saturday night at Haas Pavilion in Berkeley.

With Connecticut-bound forward Katie Lou Samuelson in foul trouble throughout the second half, the Monarchs turned to Andee Velasco and Ally Rosenblum. Each scored 20 points, but Stockton St. Mary's dominated the fourth quarter to win, 76-69, and claim its eighth state title.

"The word I use to describe St. Mary's is relentless," Mater Dei Coach Kevin Kiernan said. "After every miss or make they pushed the ball on us, they kept coming. We shot 50% and still lost."

Kat Tudor's three-pointer with 1:15 remaining gave St. Mary's a 73-67 lead, but Rosenblum's layup drew Mater Dei (31-3) within four with 58.7 seconds left. St. Mary's (34-1) turned the ball over on its next possession, but Velasco and Samuelson missed three-pointers and the Monarchs got no closer.

Samuelson finished with 19 points and nine rebounds but was assessed her fourth personal foul with 0.9 seconds left in the third quarter.

"I can't help my team on the bench," Samuelson said. "I'm disappointed in my play. I know for a fact that we all really wanted it, but our defense as a whole wasn't good and we didn't get stops when we needed them. No excuses — they're an awesome team."

St. Mary's won its 29th straight game from behind the arc, making 12 of 27 three-point shots. Mi'Cole Cayton led the way with 21 points and Aquira Decosta added 15.

Velasco scored 15 points in the first half to stake Mater Dei to a 38-33 lead. Samuelson had nine first-half points but was charged with her third personal foul with 1:43 left in the second quarter. The Monarchs were denied their fifth state title.

Division II

After surging to the lead early in the second half, Alhambra Keppel looked as if it might pull off the upset against Northern California powerhouse San Jose Archbishop Mitty.

However, the Monarchs responded like champions on the way to winning their sixth state title with a 53-31 victory. It was Mitty's 11th state finals appearance and the first for Keppel (26-8).

Sophia Song had 10 points and 10 rebounds, and her runner in the lane gave the Aztecs a 21-20 lead with 5:20 left in the third quarter, but the Monarchs (25-6) answered with a 13-0 run and tightened their defense to hold Keppel to 10 points in the last 13 minutes.

Kylie Fujioka had nine points, six rebounds and three blocks and Kelli Kamida scored six points — all in the first half — but Keppel didn't shoot well enough to win, making 11 of 44 field goal attempts and six of 17 free throws.

Neither team made a basket in the second quarter. Mitty led 17-11 at halftime despite 14 turnovers.

Division IV

Cheyanne Wallace had 24 points and fellow senior Kennedy Burke added 14 points, 14 rebounds, six blocks and three steals to lead Chatsworth Sierra Canyon to its third consecutive state championship and second straight Division IV crown with a 69-56 victory over Stockton Brookside Christian.

The win made it a state sweep for the Trailblazers, whose boys team routed San Francisco University 80-55 to capture the Division V crown Friday.

Another senior contributing to Sierra Canyon's three-peat was Gabi Nevill, who ended her prep career with nine points and two assists against the Knights (27-4).

"We've titled this 'Cry Fest 2015' because that's what's about to happen," Sierra Canyon Coach Alicia Komaki said. "I'm very proud of this team. It's been an incredible journey since I've been here. This is the best place I've ever worked, and I'm not going anywhere for a long time."

Sierra Canyon (25-5) led 20-9 after the first quarter and 33-23 at halftime. Brookside Christian closed to within 44-40 in the fourth quarter, but the Trailblazers answered with a 16-6 run.

Sophomore guard Alexis Griggsby contributed 11 points and eight rebounds and is one of seven players returning next season to try to make it four state titles in a row for Sierra Canyon, which lost to Mission Hills Alemany in the quarterfinals of the Southern Section Open Division playoffs.

"We talked [with the boys] about winning the state championship, and now it's happened," Nevill said. "I think we were the only people here watching them yesterday because our school's on spring break."

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