Monarchs Win an Ugly One From Pacific
Mater Dei advanced into another Southern Section boys’ basketball final by downing San Bernardino Pacific, 72-64, Tuesday night in a physical game at Ocean View High.
Sure, Tuesday was just a semifinal.
But it was pretty ugly. The teams committed a combined 45 fouls, made only 48 of 117 field-goal attempts and had 25 turnovers.
It wasn’t the sort of game one would expect at this point in the playoffs.
Nevertheless, the Monarchs advanced to their eighth final in the last nine seasons. They’ll play Simi Valley Saturday night at the Arrowhead Pond.
Mater Dei made nine of its first 11 shots to take an 18-8 lead six minutes into the game, then went 16 of 44 the rest of the way. The only one clicking down the stretch was senior guard Steve Scoggin. He led all scorers with 21 points and showed the flair that made him last season’s Times Orange County player of the year by making eight in the final quarter.
They were much needed. Junior guard Cedric Bozeman scored 19 and had 11 assists, but he threw away the ball nine times, while failing to convert both ends of three consecutive one-and-one situations with less than a minute to play.
Then there was Mater Dei’s 6-11 center Jamal Sampson, who opened the game with a pair of dunks and was never a factor again. He picked up his second foul--a technical--less than three minutes into the game and had to take a seat. He spent most of the third quarter on the bench and fouled out with 7:26 left to play in the game.
“We got in foul trouble and we had difficulty handling their pressure,” Scoggin said. “We never got back into being the regular us.”
Fouls--and the many that he thought should have been whistled--were also on the mind of Pacific Coach Scott Smith, who guided the Pirates into their fifth consecutive semifinal. Two seasons ago Pacific beat Mater Dei in one of those semis, and Scoggin, a starter on that team, said some of the Monarchs felt history was repeating when things stopped going their way in the second half.
Smith was all over the three-man officiating crew during the contest. Afterward he went on a tirade about how poorly the game was called.
“In a game like this, you’ve got to let the kids play,” he said.
There still was plenty of that, but Sampson said that after he got his third foul early in the third quarter, he eased off. That gave Pacific a chance to challenge him, he said.
“Once you get in foul trouble you can’t play aggressively,” he said. “You can’t be yourself.”
Three players fouled out of the game, including Pacific center William Kimble, who has signed with Pepperdine. He finished with nine points and four rebounds, but was largely ineffective defensively in the key, particularly when Mater Dei went on its early run for that 10-point lead. All of the Monarchs’ first nine field goals were taken inside the paint.