Mater Dei Clips Loyola 75-63, Monarchs Advance to CIF Semifinals

Monarchs Dominate Inside to Claim Second Straight Victory over Loyola

It was a raucous night at Mater Dei High School Tuesday as the Mater Dei Monarchs defeated the Loyola Cubs 75-63 to advance to the CIF Semifinals against Bullard (Fresno) on Saturday. The game got off to a frenetic pace with both teams pushing the ball up and down the floor.

Lightning quick Loyola sophomore point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright got the scoring started for the visiting Cubs with a coast to coast lay in. Loyola received a huge boost from freshman sharpshooter Max Hazzard, who led the Cubs with 8 first half points.

Mater Dei countered with solid performances from senior big man Xavier Johnson, sophomore sensation Stanley Johnson and UNLV bound guard Katin Reinhardt. The terrific trio combined for 64 of the Monarchs 75 points.

After a see-saw first half with numerous lead changes, the Monarchs went to the half clinging to a 30-29 lead.

Both teams came out of the break playing inspired basketball and giving it their all. Xavier Johnson led the Monarch with 26 points, a vast majority coming inside the paint. The Monarchs had the clear advantage inside and they exploited it relentlessly. Stanley Johnson stepped his game up in the second half, finishing the game with 17 points.

Leading the Cubs in scoring was senior guard Julian Harrell with 20 points. Paced by Harrell and Jackson-Cartwright, Loyola led 49-48 after three quarters.

The turning point in the game came early in the fourth quarter when Katin Reinhardt drilled a three from the baseline that rattled out and back in again, giving the Monarchs a 53-49 advantage with 6:23 remaining. Reinhardt finished with 21 points.

From that point, Mater Dei pounded the ball inside to the Johnson boys and extended their lead. While the Cubs mounted a valiant effort to the very end, Mater Dei, punctuated by a slam dunk by Xavier Johnson, cruised to the victory in front of an appreciative crowd.

Moving forward, legendary Mater Dei head coach Gary McKnight is two wins from leading the Monarchs to back-to-back state titles and a record ninth state title overall.

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Danny "DSPN" Dabiri (Editor)