Girls BB: Salesian gets upset in WCJ

Top-ranked Mater Dei recovers from first quarter deficit to roll past Sacramento while Salesian upsets one of the nation’s top teams

At halftime of the nightcap in the four game, first day of the Platinum Division of the 14th Annual West Coast Jamboree, it was looking like an upset was in the brew.

That was until a girl named Lou and her crew figured out what they knew they had to do, and state top-ranked Santa Ana Mater Dei (9-0) rolled to a 71-44 victory over No. 8 Sacramento.

With Mater Dei trailing 18-16 after one quarter and USA U16 Gold Medal team member Katie Lou Samuelson already having picked up her second foul, it was looking bleak. Then, less than a minute into the second quarter Samuelson picked up her third foul and she was relegated to the bench for the remainder of the half.

Some teams may have folded but not Mater Dei. With Samuelson out floor general and junior guard Andee Velasco rallied the girls and also hit two of her five three-pointers in the game, and when the teams left the court for halftime the Monarchs had a 31-29 lead.

Junior phenom Samuelson, who appeared bothered by the aggressive, physical nature of Sacramento’s play in the first half, didnt show any signs of it in the third quarter, plus she started getting the calls.

Back-to-back three-point plays and a left-handed scoop shot by Lou keyed a 10-0 Monarchs run that gave the state’s top team a 41-29 lead. After a three-pointer by Velasco, another three-point play by Lou and two-straight baskets to end the quarter by the 6-foot-3 Samuelson, who can play any position on the court, Mater Dei (9-0) had a 55-31 lead at the end of three quarters leaving the fourth quarter a moot point.

Samuelson finished with a game-high 26 points and eight rebounds. Velasco had 15 points that all came on three-pointers, plus four rebounds and three assists.

“We can look really, really bad at times and really, really good at times, all in the same game,” lamented Monarchs head coach Kevin Kiernan.

“Sometimes we’re not ready to play and that can be a problem with a team like Sacramento that played with a lot of enthusiasm,” continued Kiernan. “We have to realize we’re everybody’s biggest game and we have to play all four quarters.”

University of Pacific-bound Najah Queenland led Sacramento (3-3) with 18 points.

Salesian (Richmond) 67, Malcolm X. Shabazz (Newark, New Jersey) 56

In the only upset in the first round of the eight-team Platinum Division of the Jamboree, Louisville-bound Mariya Moore posted an impressive double-double 23 points and 12 rebounds with seven assists to lead Cal-Hi Sports No. 7 ranked Salesian to a solid victory over Malcolm X. Shabazz of Newark (NJ), the Maxpreps Excellent 25 No. 4 ranked team in the nation.

Moore, who missed two games the Pride lost at the Nike TOC last week due to a bad flu virus, was doubtful for this game as well.

“I wasn’t supposed to play because I’m still weak from the flu but I really wanted to win so there was no way I was sitting out this game,” Moore remarked.

Salesian (6-2) trailed 47-41 to begin the fourth quarter and trailed 49-43 early in the fourth when the solidly-built 5-foot-11 Moore took over with seven points and four assists in the final period.

Shabazz (0-1) got 16 points from South Carolina-bound Doniyah Cliney and 14 points from Georgia Tech-signed Zaire O’Neill but when she fouled out with 3:05 left and the score tied 52-52 the girls from New Jersey unraveled.

Salesian will now face St. Mary’s of Stockton in the semifinals at 6:30 p.m. on Saturday at Las Positas College in Livermore.

St. Mary’s (Stockton) 86, Berkeley 49

Bri Moore led five girls in double-figure scoring with 21 points as St. Mary’s (8-2) rolled past Berkeley. Kat Tudor added 14 points, Carlissa Shipp and Naje Murray each had 11 and Sydney Fadal chipped in for 10 points.

University of Pacific-bound Desire Finnie led Berkeley (6-3) with 11 points.

Carondelet (Concord) 85, Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 60

Carondelet turned a 42-30 halftime lead into an easy victory behind 21 points from Nebraska-signed Natalie Romeo. Christina Chenault added 17 points, Gabriella Grupalo chipped in with 12 points and Katie Rathbun also hit double figure scoring with 10 points.

Sacred Heart Cathedral (4-3) got 15 points from Ashanti Coleman and 14 points from University of Pacific-bound GeAnna Summers-Luaulu.

The victory sends Carondelet (6-1) into the semifinals agaisnt Mater Dei at 8 p.m. at Las Positas College.

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