Rejuvenated Lani White Leads Mater Dei Girls Basketball Through The Rosary – Orange County Register

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SANTA ANA – Mater Dei’s basketball player Lani White usually plays with a lot of energy but she had some extra reason to be energetic on Thursday night.

Utah’s senior girl played only her second game since returning from COVID-19 and an eye slit.

And there’s an exciting matchup with the highest ranked Monarchs playing against the No. 2 Rosary team for first place in the Trinity League.

“I would love to come back,” White said. “It’s really hard to watch the pair’s previous matches.”

White showed his desire by notching a career-high 27 points and adding seven rebounds and a huge saved shot to lead the Monarchs to an 80-65 victory.

Point guard Caia Elisaldez also casts a spark with 22 points and nine steals. The junior helped lead the Monarchs’ all-court press while White attacked the basket for layups, rebounds and also contributed to the press.

White scored all of his points from the bench going into the first half.

“Lani are a few,” said Rosary coach Richard Yoon. “She’s a long-term guardian who can shoot past you.”

White scored nine points in the crucial third period. The Monarchs took advantage after point guard Rosary Kaylee Byon topped the bench with four fouls with 6:25 remaining in the third inning.

Mater Dei (12-3, 3-0) continued to run 8-0 to open the score 53-39. Freshman Shaena Brew started the run with a 3rd corner and White added a foul and a back throw before Brew ate second center Jenesa Cotton for a basic jump.

Yoon said, “Bad trouble hurts us. “We cannot actively defend.”

In the second year, Allison Clarke, facing White throughout the game, led Rosary (7-6, 2-1) with 23 points, including seven season-high three. Byon added 22 points and 5 assists.

The Rosary completes with 12 3 pointers. Mater Dei counts for six but forces more spins and wins more in hustle plays.

“Lani played really well,” said Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan. “Can’t get her out once we’ve got her in.”

Mater Dei led 38-32 at halftime by Soleil Montrose (nine points) at the whistle.

The Monarchs press produced some quick shots from 11 rotations in the first half. Elisaldez led the defense with six steals while Hannah Vela added two.

Vela would pick Byon all the way across the field, tying the ball to another Rosary player. Mater Dei also doubled the Utah Valley-affiliated Byon team.

Rosary countered by taking 7 of 12 shots from outside the arc in the first half. Clarke sank 4 of 6 attempts, including three times in the opening phase. Rejuvenated Lani White Leads Mater Dei Girls Basketball Through The Rosary – Orange County Register

Huynh Nguyen

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