Mater Dei Heats Things Up

From Times Staff Writers

Villa Park was bound to cool off Saturday night, Taylor King was certain to heat up.

Both came to pass in the second quarter of the Southern Section Division II-AA boys’ basketball final at the Arrowhead Pond, opening the door for an 80-67 victory by top-seeded Mater Dei, which won its seventh section title in the last eight years.

The third-seeded Spartans made five of six three-pointers in the opening quarter to build a four-point lead. King, a 6-foot-7 junior forward missed five of seven shots during that span.

But Villa Park couldn’t sustain its shooting touch, missing all six three-point attempts in the second quarter.


King, meanwhile, started to get untracked, sinking an off-hand hook shot to give Mater Dei a two-point lead, then making two free throws at the front end of an 11-0 run and putting back an offensive rebound on the back end to make it 36-25 with 12.2 seconds left in the first half.

King’s hot hand continued into the third quarter, when he scored 12 of his team-high 29 points to help Mater Dei (30-2) increase its lead to 62-46.

Los Alamitos 71, Long Beach Jordan 61 -- Renzo Maggi, a 6-2 senior guard averaging 2.2 points a game, came off the bench in the second half and scored all 15 of his points to spark the top-seeded Griffins (27-4) to their first section title with the victory in the Division I-AA final at the Arrowhead Pond.

The second-seeded Panthers (26-5), who made 28 of 30 free throws, were playing in their first final since 1996.

-- Dan Arritt

Ventura 76, Thousand Oaks 70 -- In the first meeting between two Ventura County teams in a section final, Nick Larson scored 15 points and James Staniland and Erik Soule each added 14 as third-seeded Ventura won its first title since 1951 in the Division I-A championship game.

The Cougars’ bench, which outscored the Thousand Oaks (27-5) reserves, 26-7, was the difference as Ventura (26-5) took control early in the third quarter with a 10-1 run despite sitting three of their senior starters -- Larson, Gabriel Flores and Nick Palmer -- for most of the quarter because of foul trouble.

-- Josh Gajewski

Ontario Colony 80, Torrance 71 -- The top-seeded Titans (30-3) used their quickness and athleticism to offset 25 points, 16 rebounds and nine blocked shots by 6-9 Deon Thompson of Torrance (19-12) in winning the Division II-A title in the school’s third year of play.

Stedman Merritt scored 25 points and Brandon Davis had 24 points and 16 rebounds for Colony, which forced 19 turnovers.

-- Eric Sondheimer

Lakewood Artesia 74, Santa Margarita 44 -- The top-seeded Pioneers (29-1) stifled the Eagles (26-4) with a full-court press and a series of half-court traps that resulted in numerous rushed shots and several fast-break opportunities in the Division III-AA final at the Arrowhead Pond.

Junior James Harden and sophomore Malik Story each had 22 points for Artesia. Derek Glasser contributed 10 points and six assists for the Pioneers.

-- Dan Arritt