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HIGH SCHOOL BASKETBALL

California high school basketball championship matchups for Saturday

Boys' games feature Los Angeles Windward against Richmond Salesian, La Verne Lutheran against Oakland Bishop O'Dowd, and Santa Ana Mater Dei against Concord De La Salle. Girls' games feature Los Angeles Windward against Albany St. Mary's, Santa Maria St. Joseph against Bishop O'Dowd and Mater Dei against Berkeley.

March 25, 2011|By Eric Sondheimer and Steve Galluzzo

Saturday's games, at Sacramento Power Balance Pavilion

Boys

Division IV: Los Angeles Windward (26-8) vs. Richmond Salesian (25-11), 11:15 a.m. — Salesian had to forfeit 10 victories because of an ineligible player, so the team is 35-1 on the court. That's the challenge facing Windward. Salesian has a powerful inside force in 6-foot-8, 318-pound Freddie Tagaloa. The good news for Windward is that the Wildcats have played one of the most challenging schedules in the state. Nothing intimidates them. Harvard-bound Wesley Saunders, a 6-6 senior, needs to help guard Tagaloa while contributing steady offense. Nicholas Stover has come on strong in the playoffs as an offensive contributor and rebounder.

Division III: La Verne Lutheran (26-5) vs. Oakland Bishop O'Dowd (25-6), 2:45 p.m. — College recruiters not involved in the NCAA playoffs will be watching closely as 6-9 Arizona commit Grant Jerrett opposes 6-8 Brandon Ashley of Bishop O'Dowd in a matchup of key players from the class of 2012. And there's more talent. Lutheran's C.J. Cooper and Bruce English are headed to Texas El Paso and Loyola Marymount. Eric Cooper, a sophomore, is committed to Arizona. Lutheran has reached peak form and has a legitimate shot at going from Division V state champ last season to Division III this season.

Division I: Santa Ana Mater Dei (31-3) vs. Concord De La Salle (27-5), 8 p.m. — Mater Dei was supposed to be a year away from winning its record-tying eighth state title. No one told its group of young players, because the Monarchs have knocked off veteran teams in Long Beach Poly and Corona Centennial to earn the favorite's role. The Monarchs keep getting many contributors, from juniors Xavier Johnson and Katin Reinhardt to freshman Stanley Johnson. They face a De La Salle team that wants the score in the 40s and relies on defense. A Mater Dei win would tie the Monarchs with Crenshaw for most state titles.

— Eric Sondheimer

Girls

Division IV: Los Angeles Windward (28-4) vs. Albany St. Mary's (30-4), 9:30 a.m. — Windward is 19-0 with 6-7 junior center Imani Stafford in the lineup. Stafford's importance was never more evident than in Windward's 68-58 regional final victory over La Jolla Country Day, which beat the Wildcats twice in December when Stafford was out with an injury. The challenge for St. Mary's will be coping with Windward's size — the Wildcats have six players 6-1 or taller. St. Mary's has won 17 straight, and its only losses are to top Division I and II teams.

Division III: Santa Maria St. Joseph (28-6) vs. Oakland Bishop O'Dowd (25-7), 1 p.m. — Junior center Alyson Beebe leads St. Joseph with averages of 20.7 points, 12.2 rebounds and 3.0 blocks per game. Sophomore center Oderah Chidom had 21 points, 10 rebounds and six blocks for Bishop O'Dowd in a 57-46 regional final victory over Sacramento. The X-factor for Bishop O'Dowd could be sophomore forward Kendall Waters, who added 10 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks.

Division I: Mater Dei (33-1) vs. Berkeley (29-1), 6 p.m. Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in California by Cal-Hi Sports and No. 1 in the nation by ESPN Rise, is led by Connecticut-bound Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, the Gatorade national player of the year, and USC signee Alexyz Vaioletama. The Monarchs have won 25 consecutive games since losing to Long Beach Poly. Berkeley, a 68-57 winner over Concord Carondelet in the regional final, has won 10 Northern California titles and is on a 21-game winning streak. The Yellowjackets are led by California-bound point guard Brittany Boyd and post players Chairese Culberson and Khristina Hunter, who are both headed for San Diego State.

— Steve Galluzzo

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