Mater Dei falls in OT to Bishop O'Dowd in Open Division title game

Eric Sondheimer
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On a weekend that featured three games that went into double overtime, it only figured Saturday night's Open Division state championship game between Santa Ana Mater Dei and Oakland Bishop O'Dowd might be memorable.

And what an ending it was. In overtime, 6-foot-10 center Ivan Rabb of Bishop O'Dowd was fouled with 0.8 seconds left in a tie game.

He shot an airball on his first free throw. Then he was all net on his second free throw, giving the Dragons a 65-64 victory.

Mater Dei (29-5) was denied a chance for its fifth consecutive title, and Rabb can take credit.

He finished with 19 points and 21 rebounds. He was waving his hands and arms in the second half trying to get the crowd at Haas Pavilion loudly behind the Dragons.

"I had to win the game for my team," Rabb said. "It was not about me. I was less nervous about the second one. My legs were cramping and I had to battle through that, but I missed the first one bad, which I never do. The second one I knew was all net."

The noise might have helped cause a couple of missed Mater Dei free throws down the stretch of the game.

Rex Pflueger of Mater Dei had tied the score with one of two free throws with 25.3 seconds left in overtime. Bishop O'Dowd took the clock down and Rabb was fouled just before the horn sounded.

"It was a bonus playing here," Rabb said. "We felt we were at home, which we were, and we took advantage."

Paris Austin had 21 points for Bishop O'Dowd. Pflueger led Mater Dei with 19 points. KJ Smith added 12 points.

Bishop O'Dowd (28-4), the consensus No. 1 team in the state, didn't take its first lead until a basket by Franklin Longrus with 1:18 left in overtime.

It was a wild fourth quarter. Parker of Mater Dei missed the front end of a one-and-one with 22 seconds left, and Austin Walker of Bishop O'Dowd tied the score with a layup with 10.3 seconds left. Mater Dei's M.J. Cage missed a chance to win it when his follow shot under the basket failed to go in as the horn sounded in regulation.

Rabb has been the focus of increased attention in recent days over what his college choice will be. His mother told the San Francisco Chronicle that he was down to Cal and Arizona.

Playing in the Bay Area turned out to be a good idea for the CIF. Attendance for six games on Saturday was 10,533 and over two days was 17,896. That's better than the two-day attendance in Sacramento last year of 14,490.

Mater Dei opened a 26-21 halftime lead behind Pflueger, who scored 11 points, including two dunks.

Twitter: @latsondheimer

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