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CHRIS FOSTER

Mater Dei Lets Its Stars Rest

March 21, 1995|CHRIS FOSTER

So much for the basketball factory.

Just about the time you want to stencil Mater Schea on those jerseys, the Monarchs come up with a new twist. They pilfer from their own programs. Ah, what were once vices are now habits.

Check that third-quarter Monarch lineup Saturday in the State Division I championship game.

Schea Cotton? Sitting on the bench.

Shaun Jackson? Standing, but on the sideline.

The best place for both, if you're playing Mater Dei. Those Oakland Fremont guys must have been sizing ring fingers.

So Coach Gary McKnight turned cannibal, living off athletes borrowed from other Mater Dei programs. He started running in guys only a coach could love . . . the baseball coach . . . the volleyball coach . . . the football coach.

Mike Waugh? A hard worker, sure. But a 6-foot-1, not-all-that-quick forward starting for Mater Dei? Get real.

The guy came from left field this season. Well, actually, third base. In fact, Monarch baseball Coach Bob Ickes has been tapping his foot, patiently waiting for this long basketball season to end so he can get Waugh back.

But those seven points--five above his average--three offensive rebounds, two assists and two steals came in handy Saturday. He was a pug, with the gash below the right eye to prove it, but didn't back down.

Mark Pozsgai? What Eastern Bloc nation spawned him? He's a 6-5 big lug of a forward whose future might be in playing "Rocky" villains.

But put him on the volleyball court and that rough-and-tumble style evaporates. His resume makes things clear. In basketball, he played on the junior varsity last season. In volleyball, he was an All-South Coast League pick. Tough call on where his best skills reside.

Of course, he snagged six rebounds and for five excruciating minutes traded elbows Saturday as the Monarchs tap-danced into the fourth quarter.

David Castleton? He's only a sophomore and has a sensational athletic career ahead--on the football field.

He was a starting receiver on the Monarchs' Division I championship football team this fall. He was also quarterback-in-waiting. So imagine the big gulps Bruce Rollinson took as Castleton ran around the basketball court hurting ankles.

Yet, he was key Saturday. Yeah, he missed two shots and turned the ball over a couple times, but his defense at a point when the Monarchs had little on offense kept the McKnight ship of state from sinking.

Add to that mix Matt Scott. (All together now, who the heck is Matt Scott?) You have to delve deep into the Monarchs' monster 102-page media guide to find him, and you still don't have much info. Oh, he was born in Libya.

A classic what-might-have-been-in-another-program kid. There are usually three or four of them sitting on the Mater Dei bench.

Scott wasn't sitting Saturday, not those four minutes in the third quarter. He was smack-dab in the middle of the Monarch zone. He even got a rebound and mugged it up, picking up three fouls. Not a bad thing considering the intimidation Fremont was applying.

Toss in Clay McKnight and Kevin Augustine--the Monarchs' good, but hardly eye-popping back court--and Mater Dei looked suspiciously like a high school basketball team. Really. Honest.

You looked at Fremont and said: "State champion." You looked at the Monarchs and said: "Where's the varsity?"

The Monarchs used a crew that would have trouble winning the South Coast League. How many Orange County coaches would have liked to catch them using such personnel? Yet, they won.

Goes to show, sometimes you can't tell the players without a program. Even at Mater Dei.

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