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Saturday, July 20, 2019

Brea Olinda Upsets Top-Ranked Mater Dei in Southern California Prep Shoot-Out

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Photo Caption: Brea-Olinda’s Alexis Perry brings the ball up the court in Brea’s upset of then-No. 1 ranked Mater Dei on Monday, January 18. Perry’s key bucket helped staunch a Monarchs’ rally in the fourth quarter.

Photo Credit: Full Court/Sue Favor

By Sue Favor

For the second time in less than a year, the Brea Olinda Ladycats came in as underdogs and upset favored Mater Dei. Last March it was for the CIF Southern California Division II regional finals. At the Tony Matson Memorial Classic on Monday, January 18, it was for rankings and bragging rights.

The two teams avoided a head-to-head confrontation in December’s Nike Tournament of Champions, as Brea, playing without the services of both star forward-center Justine Hartman (ACL) and Amber VanDeudekom (broken collar-bone) who had replaced Hartman in the starting line-up, fell into the consolation game with a whisker-close, 66-67, semifinal loss to then-No. 1 ranked St. Mary’s of Stockton. Brea bounced back with a 46-44 win over Long Beach Poly to finish third in the tournament’s prestigious Joe Smith Division.

Meanwhile, Mater Dei knocked off then-No. 1 St. Mary’s, 66-60, in the tournament’s title game to take home not only the Nike championship, but also the No. 1 ranking in the nation in girls’ prep basketball.

But January and February can be long months on the high school circuit, particularly in talent-laden Southern California, as Monday night’s donnybrook showed. Brea (15-2) by that point had climbed to fourth place in USA Today’s national rankings and to No. 8 in the ESPN Rise Magazine survey, while Mater Dei stood in first place in both polls. Still, the underdog Ladycats handed Mater Dei’s Monarchs (17-1) their first loss of the season, 47-43.

The game got off to a slow start as neither team scored until the 6:11 mark in the first quarter, when the Monarchs went on a 9-0 run. But the Ladycats started working, and a Breana Buczek three-pointer tied it at 11 with 1:29 to go. A Jeanier Olukemi free throw and a Kietra Wallace bucket gave Brea a three-point lead at the end of the period, a lead they would hang on to for the remainder of the game.

Olukemi, who led the Ladycats with 17 points, paced them in the second quarter, as the team maintained a five-point spread throughout. In the third stanza, a Wallace layup and an Olukemi driving layup fueled a Brea run that put them up, 42-32, at the end of the quarter.

Photo Caption: Jeanier Olukemi (shown here at the Nike Tournament of Champions in December) led Brea Olinda with 17 points in the upset over Mater Dei that has vaulted the Ladycats to No. 3 in the country.
Photo Credit: Full Court Press/Lee Michaelson©

Mater Dei began the fourth with an 8-0 run, capped by a Jordan Adams layup at the 4:31 mark. But a bucket by the Ladycats’ Alexis Perry, a crucial block on Monarch forward Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis and an Olukemi put threw Brea back into the driver’s seat. An Olukemi free throw at the two-minute mark put the score at 47-43, where it stayed until the final buzzer.

Photo Caption: A layup by Mater Dei’s Jordan Adams (shown here at December’s Nike Tournament of Champions) capped a fourth-quarter Monarchs’ rally that nearly saved the day for the team then ranked No. 1 in the nation. But even though the Monarchs outscored Brea 11-5 in the final period, but by then the 10-point hole they had dug for themselves earlier in the game was simply too much to surmount.
Photo Credit: Full Court Press/Lee Michaelson©

Mater Dei’s Mosqueda-Lewis, one of the top high school recruits in the country, led all scorers with 23 points, but it would not be enough.

Photo Caption: Mater Dei star Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, one of the top 10 high school recruits in the country, was responsible for more than half the Monarchs’ offensive output, leading all scorers with 23 points in the losing cause.
Photo Credit: Full Court Press/Lee Michaelson©

“We’ve got to put together a 32-minute game and play hard throughout, and that’s what we did tonight,” Brea’s Wallace said.

Ladycat Coach Jeff Sink said that the lead his team opened up “sowed a seed of doubt” in the minds of the Monarch players. He gave credit to his squad.

“It was a player’s game,” he said. “Coaches prepare game plans, but great players have to step up. Ultimately, whoever you are as a coach, your kids have to come to play, and that’s the beauty of basketball.”

“Both teams hit big shots, their press didn’t hurt us too much and our jump defense didn’t hurt them too much.”

Monarchs Coach Kevin Kiernan said Brea simply out-played them.

“They ran their stuff – it turned into a half-court game – and they made that extra pass. We didn’t run our stuff, they ran their stuff, and they ran it well,” Kiernan said.

Sink acknowledged that being the underdog might be fuel for the Ladycats.

“They’re better than us, and they better keep being ranked above us,” he said of Mater Dei, ranked higher than Brea both statewide and nationally for the second consecutive year.

The match-up was the premiere event of a three-game night to honor Tony Matson, the former coach of Orange Lutheran High School, who died unexpectedly last May at the age of 44. Orange Lutheran played in the second game, beating Villa Park. In his final season, Matson led the team to the CIF-SS Division IV-AA championship game, ater which he was named the Orange County Register Coach of the Year.

The tournament raised funds to help provide much-needed financial support for the family of Matson, who was survived by his wife and three young daughters.

“The real purpose of the evening is to give back to a man and a family who understood that basketball is a game and that the real reason we play, coach and support the game is the opportunity to grow as people,” said Brea Olinda’s Sink. “There will be no losers” in any of Monday’s games, he added.

“We hope that with this special day we can honor Coach Tony Matson for all his contributions to the basketball community, and to Orange Lutheran High School and the many players he helped over the years,” noted Mater Dei’s Kiernan.

Matson’s widow Heidi spoke before tip-off, thanking the packed crowd for their attendance. Both Sink and Kiernan had worked with Matson in the past.

The win lifted Brea to third place in this week’s USA Today standings. Mater Dei dropped to No. 4, as St. Mary’s of Stockton (16-1), whose only loss this season came in their game against the Monarchs in the Nike Tournament of Champions finale, and undefeated Ben Davis of Indianapolis (16-0), nosed by both SoCal teams to take the No. 1 and No. 2 spots, respectively. ESPN Rise has not updated its standings since Monday night’s game.



Originally published Wed, January 20, 2010

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Week: February 7, 2012
1 Baylor (31) 24-0 1 1 1 775
2 Notre Dame 23-1 2 2 2 743
3 Connecticut 21-2 3 4 3 710
4 Stanford 20-1 4 5 4 685
5 Duke 19-3 6 8 5 650
6 Miami (FL) 20-3 7 7 6 604
7 Kentucky 21-3 5 15 7 584
8 Maryland 20-3 10 10 8 534
9 Wisconsin-Green Bay 20-0 9 24 9 530
10 Ohio State 21-2 11 NR-RV
10 483
11 Tennessee 17-6 8 3 11 476
12 Delaware 20-1 13 NR 12 434
13 Georgetown 18-5 15 11 14 379
14 Texas A&M 16-5 16 6 15 378
15 Nebraska 19-3 18 NR 13 309
16 Rutgers 17-4 14 12 17 372
17 Louisville 17-6 12 9 20 276
18 Gonzaga 21-3 19 NR-RV
19 234
19 Purdue 19-5 17 21 16 222
20 Georgia 18-6 20 12 21 202
21 Penn State 18-5 21 14 18 176
22 DePaul 17-7 23 18 NR-RV
23 Georgia Tech 16-6 22 NR-RV
22 104
24 South Carolina 18-5 NR-RV
NR 24 46
25 Vanderbilt 18-5 NR-RV
NR 45
Dropped Out: No. 24 North Carolina, No. 25 Kansas.
First-place votes: Total first-place votes received (if any) are indicated in parentheses following school name.
Others receiving votes: St. Bonaventure (22-2) 34; North Carolina (17-6) 19; California (17-6) 18; Florida Gulf Coast (21-2) 16; Middle Tennessee (19-5) 15; Texas-El Paso (20-2) 8; Texas Tech (16-6) 5; Brigham Young (21-4) 4; Fresno State (19-4) 4; St. John's (15-8) 4; Princeton (15-4) 3; Oklahoma (15-7) 2; West Virginia (17-6) 2; Kansas State (15-7) 1.
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Credit: Courtesy Women's Basketball Coaches Association (WBCA). The weekly Division I Top 25 Coaches' Poll, sponsored by USA Today and ESPN, is based on voting by a Board of Coaches made up of 31 head coaches at Division I institutions all of whom are WBCA members.