There's nothing like some good competition in a strong tournament to get a basketball team prepared to meet a nationally ranked team.
Unfortunately, Mater Dei High School never had a close game in the Newport Harbor-Costa Mesa tournament, defeating four opponents by an average of 42.3 points.
Mater Dei breezed to the tournament title Tuesday night, defeating Long Beach Jordan, 70-49, with four starters scoring in double figures at Costa Mesa High.
Charlie Andres, who scored 11 points and had eight rebounds, was named the most valuable player of the 12-team tournament. Teammate David Boyle led all scorers with 19 points, and reserve Danny O'Neil added 16.
There was little time for celebration, however. Mater Dei will depart for St. Louis at 7 a.m. today to play in the St. Louis Shootout beginning Thursday night. Mater Dei will meet Lincoln High of East St. Louis, the three-time defending Illinois state champion.
"I don't know what to expect," McKnight said. "I know they're good, and we looked tired tonight. We didn't play well. I think the kids were expecting to play Saddleback and weren't very excited."
Saddleback defeated Mater Dei in the title game of last year's tournament, but it appears there are few county teams in the Monarchs' class this season. McKnight has three very good outside shooters--Boyle, O'Neil and Andy Karich--and a strong bench. He used nine players with no significant drop off in talent against Jordan.
Mater Dei opened a 36-18 lead in the first half and it was apparent early that Jordan didn't have the talent, height or discipline to compete with the county's best team. Hopefully, Mater Dei will find stronger competition in St. Louis.
In other Newport Harbor-Costa Mesa tournament games:
Saddleback 65, Huntington Beach 55--Forward Mustapha Abdi scored 26 points and had 19 rebounds for Huntington Beach (2-2), but it wasn't enough as Saddleback (3-1) finished third. Guard Andre McFarlane scored eight points in the last quarter to clinch the victory.
El Toro 69, Irvine 54--El Toro made 10 of 14 three-point shots, including five of six by guard Kevin Martin, as the Chargers (2-1) finished fifth.
Newport Harbor 50, Costa Mesa 46--Justin McIntee made two free throws with one second left to clinch the consolation championship for Newport Harbor (2-1).
In the Garden Grove tournament:
Loara 65, Estancia 60--Tes Whitlock scored 14 points and had 10 assists to lead Loara in the first round. Joey Gaudio added 16 points, Mike Acosta 12 and Dan Wassink 10 for Loara (2-0).
In the Laguna Beach tournament:
Corona del Mar 68, Savanna 49--Mark Flint scored 21 points and had 14 rebounds and Doug Hesse added 19 points for Corona del Mar (1-0).
In the Cerritos-Gahr tournament:
Kennedy 99, Gahr JV 29--Jim Barker scored 27 points for Kennedy (1-0) in the first-round game.
In a nonleague boys' game:
Dana Hills 49, Foothill 48 (2 OT)--Dana Hills' Jason Hinchman scored a free throw after being fouled in the last second of the second overtime. It was the only point scored in the second overtime period. J.B. Taylor led Dana Hills with 23 points.
In the Irvine girls' basketball tournament:
Brea-Olinda 66, La Quinta 40--Tammy Blackburn scored 15 points and Jody Anton added 13 as the Wildcats won at University High and advanced to the finals.
El Toro 57, Capistrano Valley 24--Danielle Silva scored 17 points and had 11 rebounds as the Chargers won at Woodbridge. El Toro (3-0) will play Brea-Olinda for the championship of the tournament at 8:15 tonight at Woodbridge.
Dana Hills 42, Orange 41--Joy Papa's basket with 50 seconds left gave Dana Hills a 42-39 lead. Orange missed two shots in the final 10 seconds. Senior center Erin Schimenech scored 22 points to lead Dana Hills (2-1).
Woodbridge 52, University 45--Leslie Rathbun had 14 points for Woodbridge (2-1) in a consolation game at Woodbridge.
In the Fullerton tournament:
Fullerton 56, Bolsa Grande 29--Sommer McLane had 24 points and 14 rebounds at Fullerton (2-0).
In nonleague girls' basketball:
Calvary Chapel 26, Southern California Christian 15--Rebekah Lewis scored 20 for host Calvary in the season opener for both teams.
Edison 83, Whittier Christian 32--Debbie Fischer made seven three-point shots and scored 36 points to break the school's single-game record of 35.
Estancia 50, Canyon 36--Patrice Lumpkin had 14 points and Melody Earle 13 for the Eagles (1-0) at home.
Fountain Valley 52, Gahr 44--Julie Workman had 16 points as the Barons (1-0) won at home.
Laguna Hills 34, Pacifica 31--Andrea Nelson scored 10 points for host Laguna Hills.
Mission Viejo 70, Trabuco Hills 58--Jennifer Rohrig had 30 points and 23 rebounds and Carrie Burt added 22 points for the Diablos (1-1) at home.
Saddleback 55, Villa Park 48--Janet Chacon scored 28 points for Saddleback (3-1) at Villa Park.