Since the Trinity League began during the 2006-07 basketball season, Santa Ana Mater Dei has lost just one league game _ in 2009 to Orange Lutheran.
Santa Margarita thought it had a chance on Friday night in a road game, but the Eagles let the opportunity slip away in a 57-48 loss to the Monarchs.
Sophomore Harrison Butler scored 14 points for the Monarchs (17-2, 4-0), who are scheduled to leave on a 6:30 a.m. flight on Saturday to New York on their way to play on Monday in the HoopHall Classic in Springfield, Ma. M.J. Cage added 12 rebounds. Santa Margarita (11-6, 2-1) made just 16 of 61 shots.
Despite their poor shooting, the Eagles had Mater Dei in trouble. Then came a decisive moment with 3:42 left. Mater Dei held a 44-43 lead when Santa Margarita's Jordan Guest was called for goal tending. A frustrated Guest was caught making a little shove and picked up a technical. Spencer Freedman made a free throw and Butler followed with a basket for 49-43 lead that Santa Margarita never recovered from.
Freshman Jake Kyman had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Santa Margarita.
As for Butler, he's the son of former Ocean View and UC Irvine standout Ricky Butler.
"In the last two and half, three weeks, his game has really stepped up," Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight said. "He's made some leaps and bounds."
Butler said he has become more comfortable and now understands his role for the Monarchs.
As for Santa Margarita, there's going to come a point this season where the Eagles will become very good. For now, they keep coming close against good teams but haven't been able to figure out how to close games.