2019-20 athletes & coaches of the year, All-County teams, Outstanding Seniors

A look back at the OCVarsity award winners for the 2019-20 high school sports season.

Athletes and coaches of the year and All-County teams were selected for the fall and winter sports. For the spring sports, which had their season cut short by COVID-19, the Register chose an Outstanding Senior for each sport.

OCVarsity 2020 Athletes & Coaches of the Year page

FALL SPORTS

FOOTBALL

Offensive Player of the Year: Bryce Young, Mater Dei

Defensive Player of the Year: Clark Phillips III, La Habra

Coach of the Year: Nick Karavedas, Sunny Hills

All-County team: First Team Offense

All-County team: First Team Defense

All-County teams: Second Team and Third Team

GIRLS VOLLEYBALL

Player of the Year: Mia Tuaniga, Mater Dei

Coach of the Year: Isaac Owens, Esperanza

All-County team

BOYS CROSS COUNTY

Runner of the Year: Anthony Grover, JSerra

Coach of the Year: Craig Dunn, Dana Hills

All-County team

GIRLS CROSS COUNTRY

Runner of the Year: Carly Corsinita, Capistrano Valley

Coach of the Year: Ken Chai, El Toro

All-County team

GIRLS GOLF

Golfer of the Year: Sherilyn Villaneuva, Troy

Coach of the Year: Bruce Loman, Sage Hill

All-County team

GIRLS TENNIS

Player of the Year: Kaytlin Taylor, Huntington Beach

Coach of the Year: Natasha Schottland, Portola

All-County team

BOYS WATER POLO

Player of the Year: Tanner Pulice, Corona del Mar

Coach of the Year: Logan Powell, San Clemente

All-County team

 

WINTER SPORTS

BOYS BASKETBALL

Player of the Year: Devin Askew, Mater Dei

Coach of the Year: D’Cean Bryant, Fountain Valley

All-County team

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Player of the Year: Asia Avinger, Rosary

Coach of the Year: Jimmy Valverde, Esperanza

All-County team

BOYS SOCCER

Player of the Year: Uriel Sanchez, Servite

Coach of the Year: Jon Spencer, Servite

All-County team

GIRLS SOCCER

Player of the Year: Samantha Williams, JSerra

Coach of the Year: Pat Rossi, Los Alamitos

All-County team

GIRLS WATER POLO

Player of the Year: Emma Lineback, Laguna Beach

Coach of the Year: Rory Bevins, Rosary

All-County team

BOYS WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Aaron Nagao, Esperanza

Coach of the Year: Dane Valdez, Calvary Chapel

All-County team

GIRLS WRESTLING

Wrestler of the Year: Aine Drury, Westminster

All-County team

 

SPRING SPORTS

Outstanding Seniors

Baseball: Jonny Long, Orange

Softball: Madi Simon, Beckman

Boys Swimming: Ryan Abdollahi, Dana Hills

Girls Swimming: Ella Ristic,  Santa Margarita

Boys Track & Field: Isaac Korn, Trabuco Hills

Girls Track & Field: Sophia Hartwell, Orange Lutheran

Boys Volleyball: Niko Colburn, Huntington Beach

Boys Tennis: Jake Huarte, Mater Dei

Boys Golf: Taehoon Song, Anaheim Discovery Christian

Boys Lacrosse: Andrew Cumming, Foothill

Girls Lacrosse: Ashley Stokes, Foothill

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OCVarsity 2020 Athletes of the Year special section

The Register wraps up a year of excellence in high school sports by selecting the Orange County Athletes of the Year.

The honorees are featured in a special section that includes lists of all of the athletes and coaches who received OCVarsity honors in 2019-20. The section is included in Sunday’s edition of the Register.

There is also an interactive online version of the section that can be found here.

A link to our page for the 2020 OCVaristy Athlete & Coach Awards.

This year, because of COVID-19, the Register couldn’t host its annual banquet for all of the year’s award winners, but the OCVarsity staff congratulates the honorees, including Rosary’s Asia Avinger, who received the Trinity League Athlete of the Year award from the Roman Catholic Diocese of Orange.

 

To read the individual stories, click on the athlete names below.

Male Athlete of the Year

Bryce Young, Mater Dei


Mater Dei High quarterback Bryce Young announced his commitment to attend Alabama on social media on Sunday, Sept. 22, 2019. (Photo by Jeff Gritchen, Orange County Register/SCNG)

 

Female Athlete of the Year

Asia Avinger, Rosary


Rosary’s Asia Avinger is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. The San Clemente High School athlete committed to play basketball at San Diego State. Photographed in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

 

Male Outstanding Competitor

Lance Keneley, Mission Viejo


Mission Viejo High School’s Lance Keneley is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. Keneley has committed to play football at Stanford. Photographed in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

Female Outstanding Competitor

Ella Gardiner, San Clemente


San Clemente athlete Ella Gardiner is one of the Orange County Register’s 2020 Athletes of the Year. Gardiner excelled in basketball and volleyball.  Photographed in Anaheim, CA on Thursday, May 14, 2020. (Photo by Paul Bersebach, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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Orange County athletes speak out on social media against racism in wake of George Floyd death


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  • Mater Dei’s Devin Askew is the Orange County boys basketball player of the year for the 2019-20 season. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Twin brothers Cassius, left, and Caine Savage on the football field at Western High School in Anaheim on Wednesday, Dec. 18, 2019. The brothers signed letters of intent with San Diego State and Utah. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)

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  • Pitcher, Kylee Magee of Canyon is named to the 2019 Orange County All-County softball team. Magee is shown in Irvine on Tuesday, May 21, 2019. (Photo by Leonard Ortiz, Orange County Register/SCNG)

  • Mater Dei Monarchs wide receiver Kyron Ware-Hudson (10) points to the sky after making a catch in the end zone for a touchdown against the St. John Bosco Braves during the first half of the 2019 CIF Southern Section Division 1 High School Football Championship game at Cerritos College in Norwalk, Calif. on Saturday November 30, 2019. (Photo by Raul Romero Jr, Contributing Photographer)

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Protests at community parks, in front of government buildings and on city streets aren’t the only places in Southern California that young people are expressing their feelings about the death of George Floyd, racism and equality in America.

Some of Orange County’s most well-known high school athletes have made their voices heard on social media since the unarmed Floyd died in Minneapolis at the hands of police on May 25.

Rosary point guard Asia Avinger, The Register’s player of the year in girls basketball for 2019-20, has been among the most vocal on her Instagram account.

The San Diego State signee recently shared with her more than 10,000 followers a video of a young girl tearful saying, “I could die from the color of my skin.”

“There is so much hate in the world that we live in and it’s so horrific that even children are starting to understand how cruel the real world is,” Avinger wrote on the post that included the hashtag BLACKLIVESMATTER.

“There is so much hurt, pain and anger that we are feeling due to discrimination and racism.

“It shouldn’t matter the color of our skin, we should be treated with respect and equality. … We need CHANGE and I pray everyday that things get better.”

Mater Dei point guard Devin Askew, The Register’s boys basketball player of the year this past season, posted a photo this week that looked like himself in a shirt that read, “I Can’t Breathe”, a rallying crying at many protests for Floyd.

Floyd’s death, while in police custody, has sparked nationwide unrest.

“We are all equal!” the Kentucky-bound Askew wrote to his more than 78,000 followers on Instagram. “We are one! Together we fight for what is right.”

Western All-County wide receiver/cornerback Caine Savage also encouraged unity in a post on Instagram on Wednesday.

“We are BLACK MEN! We build. We don’t tear down other BLACK MEN!” the Utah signee wrote to his more than 3,000 followers. “All too often, we men find it easier to criticize each other instead of building each other up. With all the negativity going around, let’s do something positive!”

Canyon All-County softball pitcher Kylee Magee shared on her Instagram stories a quote from UCLA softball’s Aaliyah Jordan posted to the Pac-12 Conference social media account.

“My blackness is not a joke and not something that will be ignored. If you can’t see that then there’s a problem,” the quote read.

Numerous Orange County athletes, including New York Jets quarterback Sam Darnold (San Clemente), posted black screens to their Instagram accounts Tuesday as part of #BlackOutTuesday, a social media trend and sign of solidarity against police brutality against African Americans.

Mater Dei wide receiver and Oregon commit Kyron Ware-Hudson posted a video to his Instagram stories of a peaceful protest in front of police and a quote from Colorado Rockies baseball player Ian Desmond.

“When you can’t say, ‘Black Lives Matter’ … To me, that’s you saying my life doesn’t matter. That’s what I hear and I can’t change that,” the quote from Desmond read.

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Pacifica Christian guard Houston Mallette commits to Penn State

Pacifica Christian junior guard Houston Mallette committed to Penn State, Pacifica Christian coach Jeff Berokoff confirmed.

Mallette (6-5) was All-Orange County first team this past season when he averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game. He also was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Division 2A team.

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Mallette commits to Penn State

Pacifica Christian junior guard Houston Mallette committed to Penn State, Pacifica Christian coach Jeff Berokoff confirmed.

Mallette (6-5) was All-Orange County first team this past season when he averaged 16 points, seven rebounds and five assists a game. He also was named to the All-CIF Southern Section Division 2A team.

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Whicker: Remembering the sporting adventures of Torrance’s Bart Johnson

People ask Dana Pagett about memorable basketball plays. He has three.

They happened consecutively, at the hands of one man.

“It was the Beverly Hills tournament,” said Pagett, the former USC All-American who was playing at El Segundo then.

“First, he dribbled down, got between two players and jammed it. Second, he got the rebound, stopped at the top of the key, hit a 21-footer. Then he came down, looked one way, bounce-passed the other way, but the shot was missed. So he followed it with a left-handed rebound and a slam.

“I said, ‘Boy, I’m glad we’re not playing them.’’’

The guy was Bart Johnson of Torrance High. The year was 1967. Johnson jumped out of a Gil Thorp comic strip, with a bag full of gloves, basketballs and golf tees.

“He would have been perfect for today’s NBA,” said Jim Harrick, who coached Morningside back then. “He could handle it, shoot it, and he had no position. He could get up and down the floor. He was terrific.”

Johnson and Pagett were on the same Parade All-American team as Curtis Rowe, Austin Carr, Howard Porter, Artis Gilmore and Spencer Haywood. John Wooden pushed hard to lure Johnson to UCLA.

“(Assistant coach) Denny Crum called and I recommended him highly,” Harrick said.

“I talked with Coach about that,” said Dan Evans, Johnson’s longtime buddy. “He thought Bart would have been a glorious player.”

But Johnson said no. A 94-by-50 court could not contain him. He had other tunes in his head, and he played them until the end. He died on Thursday at 70, from Parkinson’s disease.

Johnson’s birthday was Jan. 3. Until recently, he celebrated every one with a dunk. He went to Brigham Young and his freshman team beat the varsity, the same way Lew Alcindor’s Brubabes beat the UCLA varsity. Johnson averaged 28 points a game that year.

He said, perhaps incorrectly, that he would have been just another cast member in the NBA. To him a Cy Young Award was more realistic. He signed with the White Sox, went 16-4 for the Appleton Foxes, and in 1969 was on the Comiskey Park mound.

The White Sox had Goose Gossage and Terry Forster coming, but manager Chuck Tanner said Johnson had the best stuff. In 1974 he gave up six home runs in 126 innings and went 10-4 with a 2.74 ERA. And he found time to go to camp with the Seattle Supersonics and drew the interest of coach Bill Russell.

The next spring, the White Sox played an exhibition on a wet field, and Johnson’s herniated disk seized up on a follow through. He missed 1975. He went 231 innings the next year but his record was 9-16. After 1977 he was done, at 27.

And that is when Bart Johnson — mid-90s thrower, high scorer, scratch golfer — made the biggest splash, while sitting down.

Roland Hemond, the White Sox general manager, was remorseful over the way Johnson was hurt. He hired him to scout. From 1980 through 1997 Johnson was the advance man. He watched the next opponent, filed the reports and judged the players who might hit the market. He sat among fans who might have wondered whatever became of him.

“Most people have this cadence when they watch a game,” said Evans, who rose through the Sox organization to become the GM, and also did for the Dodgers. “The pitch is made, their eyes move somewhere else, and then they watch again. Bart never took his eyes off anything. He was looking in the dugout, checking out little things. He’d say, ‘Danny, did you see that? You’ve got to get locked in.’

“(Manager) Tony LaRussa considered everything Bart said to be gospel. He trusted every report. Bart would watch a guy and say, ‘You know, I don’t think he’d go over that well in our clubhouse.’ And unlike a lot of scouts, he would listen.”

Today’s MLB clubs consider the advance scout a Jurassic vestige. Few still use one. Evans argues that video scouting leaves you at the director’s mercy.

“Before a game you see guys working out at different positions, making mechanical changes,” Evans said. “You see the pitchers doing their ‘side’ throwing. You’re networking, talking with everybody there, getting opinions. Those types of scouts have unbelievable value. Yet Bart was open to anything new. I remember him asking for Bill James’ first Baseball Abstract.

“I remember him telling me, ‘Danny, don’t say anything is certain unless you’re certain it’s certain. Don’t hypothesize.”

Decades have passed and Dana Pagett is still certain he was certain. “What might have been” is an abstraction. He knows what Bart Johnson was.

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Coaches: Send OCVarsity your winter all-league teams

OCVarsity is asking the Orange County coaches and athletic directors to email their winter all-league teams to preps@ocregister.com.

Please email complete lists by Monday, March 23 and include the words ALL-LEAGUE TEAM in the email header. We’ll begin publishing the all-league teams on Tuesday, March 24.

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Saturday’s scores from the CIF Southern California basketball regional semifinals


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Scores from Saturday’s boys and girls basketball playoff games in the CIF Southern California Regional.

BOYS BASKETBALL

OPEN DIVISION

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Sierra Canyon 75, Harvard-Westlake 65

Etiwanda 65, Mater Dei 61

DIVISION I

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Ribet Academy 67, Windward 66 (OT)

Renaissance Academy 76, Damien 73

DIVISION II

Regional semifinals, Saturday

St. Francis 67, Oxnard 66

Eastvale Roosevelt 66, King/Drew 65 (OT)

DIVISION III

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Arroyo Grande 77, El Camino Real 59

Burbank Providence 78, Fountain Valley 58

DIVISION IV

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Bakersfield Christian 56, Narbonne 47

Palisades 49, St. Pius X-St. Matthias 45

DIVISION V

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Eastside 50, Trinity Classical 49

Los Angeles Roosevelt 59, Delano 54

REGIONAL FINALS

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Open Division: Etiwanda at Sierra Canyon

Division I: Renaissance Academy at Ribet Academy

Division II: Eastvale Roosevelt at St. Francis

Division III: Burbank Providence at Arroyo Grande

Division IV: Bakersfield Christian at Palisades

Division V: Los Angeles Roosevelt at Eastside

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

OPEN DIVISION

Regional semifinals, Saturday

La Jolla Country Day 54, Etiwanda 44

Windward 44, Long Beach Poly 41

DIVISION I

Regional semifinals, Saturday

San Diego Cathedral 59, Harvard-Westlake 56

Rosary 46, King 37

DIVISION II

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Santa Monica 47, San Clemente 39

Palisades 60, Chula Vista Mater Dei 55

DIVISION III

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Paloma Valley 60, Santa Maria Righetti 54

Peninsula 60, Viewpoint 40

DIVISION IV

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Lancaster 51, San Diego Point Loma 44

Ontario Christian 59, La Salle 51 (OT)

DIVISION V

Regional semifinals, Saturday

East Bakersfield 60, San Jacinto Valley Academy 56

San Diego Madison 46, San Diego 37

REGIONAL FINALS

Tuesday, 7 p.m.

Open Division: Windward at La Jolla Country Day

Division I: Rosary at San Diego Cathedral

Division II: Santa Monica at Palisades

Division III: Paloma Valley at Peninsula

Division IV: Ontario Christian at Lancaster

Division V: San Diego Madison at East Bakersfield

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CIF SoCal basketball regional playoffs: Thursday’s scores, updated schedule


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Scores from Thursday’s boys and girls basketball games in the CIF Southern California Regional.

BOYS BASKETBALL

OPEN DIVISION

Regional semifinals, Saturday

Harvard-Westlake vs. Sierra Canyon at Pepperdine University, 7 p.m.

Etiwanda at Mater Dei, 6 p.m.

DIVISION I

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

Ribet Academy 61, St. John Bosco 58

Windward 60, San Diego Torrey Pines 55

Renaissance Academy 51, JSerra 46

Damien 128, Riverside Poly 123 (6OT)

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Ribet Academy at Windward

Damien at Renaissance Academy

DIVISION II

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

St. Francis 48, Birmingham 42

Oxnard 61, Hesperia 54

Eastvale Roosevelt 49, Salesian 38

King/Drew 55, Hillcrest 45

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Oxnard at St. Francis

King/Drew at Eastvale Roosevelt

DIVISION III

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

El Camino Real 71, Santa Maria St. Joseph 68

Arroyo Grande 67, Taft 56

Burbank Providence 65, Oceanside El Camino 50

Fountain Valley 71, Price 47

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

El Camino Real at Arroyo Grande

Fountain Valley at Burbank Providence

DIVISION IV

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

Narbonne 71, Aquinas 57

Bakersfield Christian 49, Summit 43

St. Pius X-St. Matthias 84, San Diego University City 61

Palisades 58, San Diego San Ysidro 49

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Narbonne at Bakersfield Christian

St. Pius X-St. Matthias at Palisades

DIVISION V

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

Eastside 69, Banning 59

Trinity Classical 55, Arrowhead Christian 44

Delano 62, Fowler 46

Los Angeles Roosevelt 54, Bishop Diego 45

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Trinity Classical at Eastside

Delano at Los Angeles Roosevelt

 

GIRLS BASKETBALL

OPEN DIVISION

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Etiwanda at La Jolla Country Day

Long Beach Poly at Windward

DIVISION I

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

San Diego Cathedral 63, Orangewood Academy 47

Harvard-Westlake 65, Marlborough 50

King 71, Lynwood 65

Rosary 57, West Torrance 27

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Harvard-Westlake at San Diego Cathedral

ML King at Rosary

DIVISION II

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

San Clemente 51, Mira Costa 47

Santa Monica 57, La Jolla Bishop’s 40

Chula Vista Mater Dei 70, Bakersfield 64

Palisades 54, Crean Lutheran 52

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

San Clemente at Santa Monica

Chula Vista Mater Dei at Palisades

DIVISION III

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

Santa Maria Righetti 68, Spring Valley Mount Miguel 63 (OT)

Paloma Valley 55, San Luis Obispo Mission Prep 32

Peninsula 72, Eisenhower 56

Viewpoint 46, Westchester44

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

Paloma Valley at Santa Maria Righetti

Viewpoint at Peninsula

DIVISION IV

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

Lancaster 52, Los Angeles CES 38

San Diego Point Loma 53, Ganesha 46

La Salle 57, Chula Vista Otay Ranch 46

Ontario Christian 48, Paramount 42

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

San Diego Point Loma at Lancaster

La Salle at Ontario Christian

DIVISION V

Regional quarterfinals, Thursday

San Jacinto Valley Academy 73, San Bernardino 53

East Bakersfield 52, Rubidoux 37

San Diego 45, King/Drew 44

San Diego Madison 43, Pasadena Marshall 42

Regional semifinals, Saturday, 6 p.m.

East Bakersfield at San Jacinto Valley Academy

San Diego Madison at San Diego

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Mater Dei loses to powerhouse Sierra Canyon in Open Division boys basketball final

  • Mater Dei’s Wilhelm Breidenbach is forced to passs by Sierra Canyon’s defense during the CIF-SS Open Division championship game at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach on Friday, February 28, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

  • Mater Dei’s Devin Askew pushes past Sierra Canyon’s defense and scores two during the CIF-SS Open Division championship game at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach on Friday, February 28, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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  • Mater Dei’s Devin Askew scores two during the CIF-SS Open Division championship game against Sierra Canyon at the Walter Pyramid in Long Beach on Friday, February 28, 2020. (Photo by Drew A. Kelley, Contributing Photographer)

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LONG BEACH — Mater Dei needed to shoot well to beat Sierra Canyon but did not and lost to the Trailblazers 59-48 in the CIF-Southern Section Open Division boys basketball championship game Friday at the Walter Pyramid at Long Beach State.

Mater Dei (25-7) was 17 for 47 from the floor, for 36 percent. The Monarchs were 5 for 21 on 3-pointers, for 24 percent.

“Our 3-point shots didn’t fall,” said Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight, “and we needed them to fall to have an opportunity.”

Wilhelm Breidenbach was Mater Dei’s best and most consistent player Friday. Breidenbach, a 6-foot-9 junior, had team highs of 18 points and 14 rebounds with two blocked shots. Junior point guard Devin Askew, who is committed to Kentucky, scored 15 points but also committed six turnovers against Sierra Canyon’s quick, ball-hawking defense.

Ziaire Williams, a 6-8 senior forward, led Sierra Canyon (28-4) with 23 points. Williams, a transfer from Notre Dame of Sherman Oaks who had to sit out the first half of the season because of transfer rules, was 8 for 16 from the floor and made both of his 3-point attempts.

Williams, who has Stanford and USC among his top choices so far, can shoot, jump and handle the ball.

“He can play anywhere,” marveled McKnight.

Senior 6-6 guard BJ Boston, a Kentucky signee, scored 16 points with a team-high nine rebounds for the Trailblazers.

The season continues for both teams next week with the CIF Southern California Regionals. The brackets for the regionals will be released Sunday. All eight Open Division teams automatically qualified for the state tournament.

Mater Dei trailed 46-39 going into the fourth quarter. The Monarchs scored only two points through the first four-and-a-half minutes of the fourth, greatly reducing their chance for a rally.

The first half followed expectations: Sierra Canyon tried to accelerate the pace while Mater Dei leaned on its half-court offense, with plenty of passes, screens and cuts.

Sierra Canyon never trailed in the first half. The Trailblazers scored seven of the game’s first nine points. The Monarchs caught up 13-13 on a 3-pointer by 6-10 junior Harrison Hornery. Boston responded with a 3 and the Trailblazers had a 16-13 lead at quarter’s end.

Williams opened the second quarter with a steal and dunk and did the same moments later to push the Sierra Canyon lead to 27-22. Breidenbach made two deep 3s in the quarter to keep the Monarchs close. Sierra Canyon had a 33-27 lead at halftime.

Mater Dei made 10 of 23 first-half shots, for 44 percent. The Monarchs were not effective on 3-point tries in the first half, going 3 for 11. Take away Breidenbach’s 2-for-3 on 3-points shots and the rest of the team was 1 for 8 behind the arc.

Sierra Canyon was 13 for 28 from the floor in the half, for 46 percent, and was 3 for 5 on 3-pointers. The Trailblazers made only three first-half turnovers to Mater Dei’s six.

Mater Dei lost to Sierra Canyon 83-73 in last year’s CIF Southern California Regionals Open Division championship game. In the 2018 CIF-SS Open Division final, Mater Dei beat Sierra Canyon 55-53 at the Pyramid.

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