A capacity crowd of close to 1,400 packed the St. John Bosco gym Friday night for a Trinity League game for first place, with Braves fans thinking their team had a chance to compete with No. 1-ranked Santa Ana Mater Dei.
Katin Reinhardt, Mater Dei's 6-foot-5 senior guard headed to UNLV, put an abrupt halt to any Bellflower St. John Bosco party plans, making five three-pointers as part of a 17-point first-quarter performance, and the Monarchs (19-2, 6-0) went on to secure an 86-71 victory.
"Katin is on a different level at times," Mater Dei Coach Gary McKnight said.
The lesson for St. John Bosco (16-5, 5-1) and first-year Coach Derrick Taylor is that there's still much work to be done to challenge the Monarchs, who gave McKnight his 911th career coaching win.
Falling behind, 32-11, after the opening quarter forced the Braves to play catch-up. They settled down and closed to 55-46 late in the third quarter, which should help their confidence in a rematch scheduled for next Friday at Mater Dei. But the Monarchs had too many weapons.
Reinhardt finished with 22 points, with only one basket in the second half. Xavier Johnson had 23 points, and Elijah Brown, the son of Lakers Coach Mike Brown, scored 13 of his 14 points in the second half. Stanley Johnson added 14 points. Junior guard Isaac Hamilton scored 30 points for the Braves.
Reinhardt and Johnson were battling flu-like symptoms all week.
"I was on antibiotics the whole first half, so I didn't feel it," Reinhardt said. "But in the second half, I definitely felt the sickness."
Mater Dei made eight of 11 from three-point range in the first quarter, with four players contributing threes.
"We shot really well to start the game, and on the road, that's something that doesn't really happen," McKnight said.