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Mater Dei works overtime for title

March 24, 2007|Eric Sondheimer; Dan Arritt | From Times Staff Reports

SACRAMENTO — It took overtime, lots of made free throws and contributions from many players, but Santa Ana Mater Dei found a way to win the state Division II boys' basketball championship Friday night after two consecutive years of failure at Arco Arena.

Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight stood with his arms and fists extended up in triumph -- or relief -- as his players converged on the court to celebrate a 69-64 victory over San Jose Mitty. It was the Monarchs' sixth state title.

Mater Dei (33-4) made 14 of 18 free throws in the extra period while Mitty (29-6) was four for 10.

Taylor King, Mater Dei's Duke-bound senior, scored 29 points and grabbed 15 rebounds. Sophomore David Wear had 10 points and seven rebounds. Senior Kamyron Brown made seven of 12 free throws and finished with nine points. Junior Blake Arnet and sophomore Andy Brown each contributed critical baskets and free throws.

It was barely enough to offset 20 points by Collin Chiverton and 17 points, 13 rebounds and four blocked shots from 6-9 junior Drew Gordon.

It was an entertaining 36 minutes, with the two teams matching each other dunk for dunk and blocked shot for blocked shot. Gordon, considered the No. 1 junior big man in the state, and the 6-5 Chiverton, another junior, were dunking and blocking shots. Countering them were the 6-8 King and the 7-1 Alex Jacobson.

It was a frantic final quarter. With 1:21 left, Andy Brown made a baseline shot, pulling Mater Dei to within 53-52. With 47 seconds left, King tied the score by making one of two free throws. Kamyron Brown had the chance to end the game in regulation, but his off balance 12-foot shot missed at the buzzer.

Mater Dei took control in overtime, starting with a King basket, two free throws by Andy Brown and two free throws by King.

Five consecutive missed free throws by Mitty and six consecutive made free throws by Mater Dei put Mater Dei on top, 61-53, with 1:29 left.

"Free throws were the key," Kamyron Brown said.

Desperate to change his fortunes the last two years when Mater Dei played badly in losses to Palo Alto, 51-47, and El Dorado Hills Oak Ridge, 60-44, McKnight decided to have his team fly to Sacramento instead of take an eight-hour bus ride.

-- Eric Sondheimer


Ross Branson 57, Los Angeles View Park 48 -- The Knights overcame their sluggish start in the Division V championship game, but they could not survive Branson's fast finish.

The Bulls scored the last five points of regulation to tie the score and didn't miss a shot in overtime as they pulled away to their second consecutive state title at Arco Arena.

View Park junior guard Jason Pruitt, who came in averaging 26 points, missed his first eight shots, but began heating up in the second quarter. His three-pointer two minutes into the fourth quarter gave the Knights their biggest lead at 37-30, and they still led by five with 1:17 left.

That's when Branson (33-2) kicked it into gear.

After tying the score on Chris Martin's layup with 15 seconds left in regulation, the Bulls (33-2) made all three of their field goals and all eight of their free throws in the four-minute overtime.

Pruitt finished with 20 points, but he made only six of 21 from the field. The Knights (23-12) made only 17 of 56 from the field (30.4%), compared to Branson, which made on 21 of 40 (52.5%).

-- Dan Arritt

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