Mater Dei Basketball Boys beat Crean Lutheran in Division 1 playoffs – Orange County Register

SANTA ANA – Over the past several decades, there have been many outstanding players in the Mater Dei boys’ basketball program.

Owen Verna did something on Friday that only three other Monarchs had previously done.

Verna made nine 3-pointers to tie a program record in Mater Dei’s 88–61 win over Crean Lutheran in a CIF Southern Section Division 1 second round playoff game at Mater Dei High.

The other three with 9 3-pointers: Clay McKnight and Miles Simon in the 1993-94 season; Katin Reinhardt, 2011-12.

Verna, a 6-3 sophomore, is in good company. McKnight, Simon, and Reinhardt later played college basketball. Simon was an NCAA Most Outstanding Player in Arizona, played professional basketball in Europe, and became an assistant coach to the Lakers. McKnight played at Pacific and UC Irvine; and Reinhardt played at USC and Marquette and played pro ball in Europe.

Mater Dei (24-6) plays Heritage Christian (19-11) in the quarterfinals in Northridge on Tuesday. Heritage Christian defeated Roosevelt 55-39 on Friday.

Mater Dei defeated Heritage Christian on December 16 in a non-league match at Mater Dei 65-58.

Verna finished with 31 points. He went into the game averaging 10 points with a high game of 26 points.

Monarchs senior forward Zack Davidson had 15 points with six rebounds. Freshman Brannon Martinsen had 12 points with seven rebounds and junior guard Brady Karich had 14 assists.

Crean Lutheran (22-8), going 10-0 in the Empire League, was led by senior guard Patrick Miranda with 19 points. Senior guard Kenneth Bailey scored 18 points and freshman guard Kaiden Bailey scored 16 points.

Mater Dei is #2 in Orange County’s Top 25 and Crean Lutheran is #10.

Verna made five 3s in the first quarter. His first gave the Monarchs their first lead, 5-2. Verna made another one to 8:2. His third took the lead to 16-4, another to 19-9 and his fifth put a 22-4 lead and defeat was on.

Some of his 3s were from 20 feet and beyond.

“It was fun coming into the zone and feeling like you couldn’t miss anything,” said Verna.

Verna was 11-15 on all shots and 9-11 on 3s.

Mater Dei was leading 41-20 at halftime. The first shot of the second half was a successful 3 from Verna to keep the Monarchs’ momentum going. At the end of the third quarter, they led by 27 points.

The Monarchs’ offense was in constant flux, with multiple passes on almost every possession. Their defense was just as active, with Scotty Belnap playing well and marking Kaiden Bailey, who along with Martinsen are two of the better rookies in county basketball.

Mater Dei finished second in the Trinity League, the first time the Monarchs hadn’t won a championship since 1988. They lost four league games, three of them in a row. Mater Dei Basketball Boys beat Crean Lutheran in Division 1 playoffs – Orange County Register

Dais Johnston

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