SOUTHERN SECTION DIVISION 1-A BOY’S BASKETBALL CHAMPIONSHIP GAME : Division I-A Boys
Mater Dei vs. Huntington Beach, 8 p.m.
RECORDS--Mater Dei (30-1), Huntington Beach (27-3)
MATER DEI--No one is surprised that the Monarchs are here. This will most likely be another stop on the road back to the State Division I championship game. The Monarchs have size, quickness, depth, experience and talent. Five players already have signed with Division I schools. Another, center Terence Wilborn, will sign. And guard Miles Simon will sign next year. Simon has turned it up a notch during the playoffs. He averages 14 points on the season but is up to 21 during the playoffs. Wilborn, who averages 11 points, has scored 17 in each of the last two games. Should the offense have an off night, the Monarchs have the ability to win a game on defense alone. They pressure teams into submission, as they did twice to Huntington Beach this season. The Monarchs beat the Oilers, 67-52, in the Newport Beach tournament and, 64-46, in the Tournament of Champions. Still Coach Gary McKnight, a man who sees every glass as half empty, is worried. “It’s tough to beat a team three times in a season,” McKnight said. “They play real hard and real well together. I think it’s going to be one the classic matchups we’ve had in a long, long time.”
HUNTINGTON BEACH--For it to reach that “classic” plateau, the Oilers must do everything right. Tony Gonzalez and Matt Ambrose must, repeat must, stay out of foul trouble. The Oilers lose their two big men and they lose the game. There also can be none of the sloppy play that occurred in the semifinal victory over Thousands Oaks. And, last but not least, the Oilers must try to relax. Anyone who saw Gonzalez miss his free throws against Thousand Oaks knows about that. Do all that, and the Oilers have a chance. They weren’t able to pull it off the first two times the teams met. “We got into foul trouble in the first game and had far too many turnovers in the second game,” Coach Roy Miller said. “Hopefully, we learned something in those games.” If they did, then their talent--at least among the starting five--is up to the upset. Tommy Walden and Bryan Chang are not the best guards in Orange County, but they complement each other. Gonzalez and Ambrose, when not slowed by foul trouble, are a formidable duo. Said McKnight: “I wish I could say, ‘If we stop Tony, we win.’ Or, ‘If we stop Matt, we win.’ But that’s not the case. Their five guys can all play and so can ours. It’s going to an entertaining game.”
KEY TO THE GAME--The Oilers have one chance. They must get out in front early and use their motion offense to shorten the game. A free-wheeling, run-and-gun game will only help the Monarchs. They have the depth to carry it off. Huntington Beach does not. still, if everything goes right, the Oilers have a chance.
CONSENSUS--It’s fun to speculate, but reality says go with the Monarchs. They’ll win with a double-figure margin.
P Name Ht. Avg. F Miles Simon 6-4 14.0 F Marmet Williams 6-6 11.0 C Terence Wilborn 6-7 11.8 G Kamran Sufi 5-10 3.7 G David Drakeford 6-1 6.1
Coach: Gary McKnight
P Name Ht. Avg. F Chris Jones 6-3 8.3 F Matt Ambrose 6-7 12.6 C Tony Gonzalez 6-5 17.0 G Tommy Walden 6-2 11.1 G Bryan Chang 6-0 7.6
Coach: Roy Miller