Girls' basketball: Mater Dei wins Southern Section Division 1AA semifinal
It's official. Third-seeded Santa Ana Mater Dei defeated seventh-seeded Santa Monica, 57-37, in the Southern Section Division 1AA semifinals to advance to a championship game against Brea Olinda on Friday.
"It's good for Orange Country, Southern California and the nation," Mater Dei Coach Kevin Kiernan said of the highly anticipated rivalry between two of the top-ranked girls basketball teams in the nation.
Mater Dei didn't have much trouble securing a spot in the finals.
The Monarchs outshot the Vikings 50% to 11.1% in the first quarter and led by as many as 17 points in the first half.
But Santa Monica kept fighting and clawed its way into the game, reducing the Monarchs' lead to 28-19 at halftime.
The Vikings came to within five points at the top of the third quarter after scoring four unanswered points, but the Monarchs quickly responded and ended the quarter ahead, 40-30.
Mater Dei outscored Santa Monica 17-7 in the fourth quarter.
Connecticut-bound senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis had 20 points and 11 rebounds and Alexyz Vaioletama had 15 points and 12 rebounds for Mater Dei (28-2). Kristina Johnson led Santa Monica (22-9) with 12 points.
Both Mater Dei and Brea Olinda will be competing on Friday for their third consecutive Southern Section titles.
-- Melissa Rohlin