Mater Dei-St. Mary’s in Platinum final

The junior duo of Mater Dei’s Katie Lou Samuelson and St. Mary’s’ Bri Moore lead their teams to Platinum Division semifinal victories at the West Coast Jamboree

Mater Dei (Santa Ana) 85, Carondelet (Concord) 74

When you’re the top team in the state everyone is going to throw everything they have at you every game, and Saturday’s Platinum Division semifinal of the West Coast Jamboree at Las Positas College in Livermore was a perfect example.

Trailing 42-38 at the half and 45-40 early in the third quarter, Mater Dei (10-0) did just what it did in the second half of the team’s opening round victory over Sacramento, and that’s turn to a girl named Lou.

With quite a few college coaches watching from the NCAA mandated seating section, junior phenom Katie Lou Samuelson took charge to score 10 of her game-high 33 points (nine rebounds, three three-pointers) in the third quarter to give Mater Dei a 62-57 lead and all the momentum entering the final period.

Scrappy Carondelet (6-2) was never totally out of the game, but once Mater Dei asserted itself inside, and the three-point shots the Cougars had relied on all game weren’t falling like they had been previously, the deal was pretty much sealed.

“The whole game was a grind,” said Mater Dei head coach Kevin Kiernan. “We knew it would be a tough game because they have a tough style to defend, especially when they’re shooting the ball well.”

As has been the case since they began playing together four years ago, the backcourt duo of Nebraska-bound Natalie Romeo and Loyola Marymount-bound Makenzie Cast were the ones doing the long range bombing.

Cast finished with 26 points (six three-pointers) and Romeo followed with 21 points (three three-pointers) but the superior size and strength of Mater Dei and the contributions of the role players were the biggest difference.

Sophomore Jade Woods had 14 points, four rebounds and four assists. Junior Cheyenne Allen added 11 points, and 6-3 sophomore backup post Alli Rosenblum came off the bench to chip in with 11 points and seven rebounds. Junior point guard Andee Velasco only had six points on two treys but she had nine assists, five rebounds and three steals.

“They’re just a complete team,” Carondelet head coach Margaret Gartner remarked. “We shut down Velasco from scoring but she still hurt us in other ways.”

Still, the story was about a girl named Lou. She scored inside and outside and when she drained a three-pointer from well beyond NBA range a fan at the packed house at Las Positas College screamed out “is there any limit to her range?”

Now the Monarchs will have to contend with another scrappy, pressing team in St. Mary’s of Stockton.

“It’s going to be more of the same only on steroids,” mused Kiernan.

St. Mary’s (Stockton) 83, Salesian (Richmond) 67

St. Mary’s (9-2) got all it could handle from Salesian through two-plus quarters until the aggressive, pressing style of the Rams and the play of junior point guard Bri Moore finished off the Pride. Moore finished with a game-high 26 points (three three-pointers) with seven rebounds, five assists and four steals.

With the score tied 41-41 midway through the third quarter, Moore and Arizona-bound Charise Holloway took charge. Moore’s third three-pointer of the game and a long three-pointer by sophomore bomber Kat Tudor made it 56-45. A reverse layup by Holloway and another long three-pointer by Tudor (12 points on four three-pointers) made it 63-50 near the end of the third quarter, and the starch was pretty much out of Salesian. Any hopes of a comeback were stifled by Holloway who scored seven of her 16 points and the fourth quarter.

“We felt we had to push the tempo and wear them out,” Moore told Cal-Hi Sports.

They wore her down a bit, but Louisville-bound Mariya Moore did as much dishing it out as she did taking it. With elbows flying she finished with 25 points, nine rebounds and eight assists, but only two of her points came in the fourth quarter.

“We knew if we could just slow Mariya down a little and be more aware of her no look passes that hurt us in the first half, that would be key,” Bri Moore said.

St. Mary’s will now face Mater Dei in the Platinum Division title game at 7:30 p.m. on Monday at Las Positas College in Livermore. Salesian (7-2) squares off with Carondelet at 6 p.m. in the third place game.

Platinum Division Consolation Bracket

Malcolm X. Shabazz (Newark, New Jersey) 51, Berkeley 46

For the second straight day, the girls from the East Coast looked a little sluggish but this time the duo of South Carolina-signed Doniyah Cliney and Georgia Tech-bound Zaire O’Neill came through down the stretch to even Shabazz’ record at 1-1 this season.

With the score tied 32-32 at the end of three quarters, Cliney nailed two long three-pointers and scored 12 of her 16 points in the final period. O’Neill did most of her damage in the third quarter, but down the stretch she hit three key free throws and pulled down five rebounds. She finished with game highs of 24 points and 13 rebounds.

University of Pacific-bound Desire Finnie led Berkeley (6-4) with 20 points.

Sacred Heart Cathedral (San Francisco) 52, Sacramento 39

The Sacramento team that gave state top-ranked Mater Dei so much trouble in the first half of its opening round game couldn’t duplicate the feat against Sacred Heart Cathedral in somewhat of an upset for the Irish over the Dragons.

Sacred Heart Cathedral (5-3) led 14-7 after one quarter, 28-14 at the half and 39-22 after three quarters before coasting home to victory.

Kairee Howard led the Irish with 16 points and GeAnna Summers Luaulu added 12 points.

Sacramento (3-4) got 10 points from Arizona State-bound Ayanna Edwards.

The consolation championship between Sacred Heart Cathedral and Shabazz is now set for Monday at 11:30 a.m at Las Positas College in Livermore.

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