Mater Dei rallies to beat Chaminade in girls' basketball regional final

Eric Sondheimer
Contact ReporterVarsity Times Insider
Mater Dei comes back to beat Chaminade, 48-44, in Open Division regional final in girls' basketball

Katie Lou Samuelson, the Gatorade national player of the year from Santa Ana Mater Dei, didn't have a basket in Saturday's Open Division Southern California Regional final against West Hills Chaminade until there was 1:59 left in the game.

She and her teammates persevered and pulled out a 48-44 victory at the Pyramid in Long Beach.

Samuelson ended up two-of-13 shooting, but it was her three-point shot with 1:08 left that tied the game, 44-44. And it was her three-point play with 1:59 left that began the Monarchs' successful comeback.

Mater Dei (31-2) finally took the lead on Bianca Velasco's two free throws with 51.8 seconds left. Samuelson clinched the win by making two free throws with 5.1 seconds left.

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FOR THE RECORD

March 24, 12:52 p.m.: This article incorrectly stated that Bianca Velasco made the go-ahead free throws with 51.8. It was Andee Velasco who made the free throws.

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The only two losses this season for Mater Dei were to Chaminade (27-4). Before she fouled out, Chaminade's Leonna Odom could take credit for doing just about everything possible trying to contain Samuelson, who came in averaging 30 points a game. She finished with 16 points.?

"We helped on her, hedged on her," Chaminade Coach Kelli DiMuro said. "It's a tribute to Leonna's defense that she was two for 13."

Odom scored 14 points and Paige Fecscke 13 for Chaminade.

"We really worked hard and fell in the end, but I wouldn't change anything," said Chaminade junior Valerie Higgins.

Division I

Gardena Serra (23-10) outscored Ventura, 18-2, in overtime to earn a trip to Berkeley in the Division I final with a 61-45 victory.

The Cavaliers sent the game into overtime when Nathanaelle Dambo missed the first but made the second free throw with 3.5 seconds left in regulation to tie the game, 43-43.

Briana Johnson finished with 21 points and Nautica Morrow added 14.

Division II

Alhambra Keppel will play for its first state title after knocking off Redondo, 48-44.

West Virginia-bound Lauren Saki gave the Aztecs (26-7) a 46-44 lead on a basket with 26 seconds left. Redondo (27-7) had the ball out of bounds with 9.8 seconds left. But Keppel's Sophia Song came up with the steal when the ball slipped through the hands of a Redondo player and scored on a layup as time expired.

Song finished with 14 points and Saiki added 13. Kyra Hamlin led Redondo with 14 points.

Keppel will play Archbishop Mitty in the Division II state final next Saturday at 2 p.m. at Haas Pavilion.

Division III

Brea Olinda (26-4) rallied for a 50-46 win over Placentia El Dorado (27-9).

Tyiona Watkins, a 6-foot freshman, led Brea with 22 points and seven rebounds. Reili Richardson added 14 points. Jaylin Jones had 19 points for El Dorado.

Division IV

Chatsworth Sierra Canyon can save money headed to Berkeley with one bus for its boys' and girls' teams playing for state championships. The Trail Blazers (24-5) defeated Westlake Village Christian Oaks Christian, 49-37.

Gabi Nevill and Cheyanne Wallace each had 14 points. Kennedy Burke added 10 points and 11 rebounds.

In Division V, La Jolla Country Day defeated La Jolla Bishop's, 75-56.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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