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BOYS’ BASKETBALL / ORANGE TOURNAMENT : Freshman Leads Mater Dei to Victory Against Wilson

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Gary McKnight speaks of him as an addition, as though the House of Mater Dei just added another room to the mansion.

In a way, he’s right. And this expansion is a construction worker’s dream.

Schea Cotton is the freshman addition of which Monarch boys’ basketball Coach McKnight speaks.

Speaks highly of, and for good reason.

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In the championship of the Orange Holiday Classic at Chapman University Thursday night, Mater Dei ran away with the tournament title with its 82-60 victory over Long Beach Wilson.

And Cotton, who scored a team-high 22 points, showed glimpses of the basketball player McKnight intends him to be.

“With our new addition, we’re still getting into the flow, still finding our balance,” McKnight said.

But Mater Dei (14-0) was anything but on an even keel with Wilson (11-4).

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McKnight credited Wilson with being one of the most physically gifted teams the Monarchs have met this season, but Mater Dei wasted little time in dismissing the talented Bruins.

All of Mater Dei’s starters scored as the Monarchs took a 20-14 first-quarter lead.

In the second, the Bruins matched Mater Dei basket for basket and even pulled to 29-25 after junior forward Michael Batiste hit from three-point range and scored off his own rebound.

That’s when it started to fall apart for Wilson. With 3:37 left in the quarter, Mater Dei went on a 15-2 run for the 44-27 halftime lead.

Wilson was unable to cut the deficit after that.

Miles Simon, who scored 17 points for the Monarchs, said he could hear Wilson self-destruct after Mater Dei’s second-quarter tear.

“They started yelling at each other,” he said.

In contrast, Mater Dei was quite the unit. Adding to the balanced scoring sheet were Clay McKnight and Shaun Jackson, who added 15 points apiece.

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In a display of true teamwork, Cotton took a nifty pass from Simon early in the fourth and the crowd roared its approval when he slam-dunked it.

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In other tournament games:

Orange 50, Santa Clara 33--In the third-place game, Orange took a 23-21 halftime lead and extended it to 35-30 after the third-quarter before outscoring Santa Clara, 15-3, in the the fourth. Senior guard Gil Gonzales scored a game-high 16 points and teammate Pat Harris added 11 to lead the Panthers (11-2).

Marina 68, Kennedy 55--Eric Endsley had 22 points for Marina. Travis Dreessen had 15 points and 10 rebounds for Kennedy (1-9) in a consolation game.


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