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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