Girls’ basketball: Mater Dei triumphs in 1AA final
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Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored 16 points and Jessica Duarte added 12 as Santa Ana Mater Dei won its third straight Southern Section championship Friday night with a 63-54 victory over Brea Olinda in the girls’ Division 1AA final at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The third-seeded Monarchs (29-1) stormed to a 16-4 first-quarter lead and were ahead by as many as 15 points early in the second half of a showdown between the top two teams in the nation.
‘In this day and age, as much basketball as these girls play, it’s hard to peak at the right time but we’re playing our best basketball right now,’ Mater Dei Coach Kevin Kiernan said. ‘They’re a great team, but I don’t want to get too excited because we may have to do this again [in the state playoffs] in 10 or 12 days.’
Alexis Perry scored 15 points for the top-seeded Wildcats (29-1), who were also vying for their third straight section title. Brea Olinda pulled to within 59-54 with 1:24 left in the fourth quarter on a free throw by Keitra Wallace, who finished with 12 points and seven rebounds.
‘Our chemistry has gotten really good,’ Kiernan said.'When you play great defense you always give yourself a chance and we had a lot of girls step up. Jordan Adams and Jessica Duarte did a great job.’
Adams played all 32 minutes and finished with eight points, eight assists and six rebounds and USC-signee Alexyz Vaioletama had 11 points and 13 rebounds before fouling out with 2:36 remaining. Alexas Williamson added eight points and five rebounds for Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in the country by ESPN.
Mosqueda-Lewis, who is bound for the University of Connecticut, made six of 15 shots and had three steals. Adams’ nifty one-handed scoop shot gave Mater Dei a 32-25 halftime lead, then the Monarchs opened the third quarter on a 8-0 run.
Mater Dei got 18 points off the bench to Brea Olinda’s nine and the Monarchs dominated the glass, out-rebounding the Wildcats 44-26. Mater Dei had 13 second-chance points to Brea Olinda’s seven.
Perry, a 5' 7' senior point guard, played the entire game, sinking eight of nine free throw attempts, dishing out five assists and making three steals for Brea Olinda, ranked No. 2 in the nation by ESPN.
The teams will likely be the top two seeds when the Southern California Regional pairings are released Sunday. They met in the Division 2 regional finals the last two years, with Brea Olinda winning 44-38 in 2009 and Mater Dei prevailing 51-46 last season.
-- Steve Galluzzo