Bring on Santa Ana Mater Dei.
That was the fearless pronouncement of several Brea Olinda High players Saturday night at the Long Beach Pyramid after the Wildcats defeated Los Angeles Crenshaw, 78-69, in an intersectional boys' basketball game in the Nike Extravaganza.
The Wildcats, No. 5 in The Times' rankings, said they are ready to take on the top team in the Southland after dispatching another brand-name opponent with relative ease. At 15-0, Brea is off to the best start in school history.
"We'd like to get a shot at them and knock them off," said Wildcat swingman John Pohlen, who scored 19 points on eight-of-12 shooting. "I feel like we're the top team in Orange County."
Brea Olinda, which could meet Mater Dei in the Southern Section Division II-A playoffs, played like a top team for most of the game Saturday, building a 19-point lead midway through the third quarter against the No. 24 Cougars (10-5).
The Wildcats shot 60.8% from the floor and continually fed 6-foot-7 forward Evan Moore, who scored 31 points after driving to the basket against a defense powerless to stop him.
"They weren't as solid as I thought they were going to be down low," said Moore, who also had eight rebounds. "As soon as I got the ball and turned around, there wasn't anyone there."
Crenshaw made things interesting with a fourth-quarter run. Cedric Davis followed consecutive baskets by Sone Finister with a shot inside the paint to pull the Cougars within 75-69 with 1 minute 15 seconds remaining, but Crenshaw could draw no closer.
Anthony Kidd finished with 22 points, including four three-pointers, for the Cougars.