Santa Ana Mater Dei High got ready for its State Southern Regional final by watching week-old videotape.
The videotape showed the final 11 seconds of the Monarchs' Southern Section divisional championship game last week against Ventura Buena, the same team it played Saturday night at the Pond of Anaheim for a right to play for a state title.
And it was the same clip, over and over, of Buena's Nicole Greathouse giving an elbow to Mater Dei's Melody Peterson, whose nose has bled every day since.
"This," Mater Dei senior Margaret Hollis said, "was definitely a vengeance game."
Mater Dei got its vengeance with a 48-40 victory in Division I. Though Buena (30-2) remains the section champion, Mater Dei (28-3) will be playing for the state title.
Mater Dei didn't blow a 13-point second-half lead this time, but it did watch a nine-point third quarter lead slip to a 36-36 tie.
Lori Hurlbut (17 points), who set a regional-final record with five three-point baskets, made No. 4 to increase the lead to 41-36.
Hurlbut's fifth, with 1:03 to play, made the score 46-40.
A week ago, Mater Dei made three of 16 shots in the fourth quarter and shot 25% in the second half. This time, the Monarchs made six of 13 in the fourth and shot 39.1% in the half.
Peterson, who had only seven points in the section final, had eight in the fourth quarter Saturday and finished with a game-high 19.
Hurlbut was a savior early. Buena took an 11-4 lead, but she came off the bench and scored the first eight points of a 21-4 run. She made her first four shots, including three three-point baskets, and had 11 in the stretch.
Greathouse, a 6-foot-2 junior who had 23 points in the section final, finished with seven.
"Mater Dei's defense denied me the ball a lot," Greathouse said. "They trapped more on our guards and it was harder to get the ball inside, and they played good help defense. They were definitely more aggressive than last week."