Mater Dei players celebrate after winning their second consecutive CIF… (Steve Galluzzo / For The…)
Reporting from Sacramento — It's the state Division I championship game in boys' basketball. They're playing in an NBA arena, Power Balance Pavilion, where high school shooters haven't exactly performed well firing up three-pointers through the years.
There's Katin Reinhardt of Santa Ana Mater Dei, his right hand wrapped in a cast because of a slight fracture of his thumb. And he's throwing in threes.
He finished with 30 points Saturday night, including a Division I championship record six three-pointers, in a memorable individual performance that helped propel Mater Dei to a 66-48 victory over Sacramento Sheldon and give Coach Gary McKnight a record ninth state championship.
The basketball fans at UNLV can't wait to see what Reinhardt can accomplish next fall when he arrives with a healthy thumb.
There were reports that Reinhardt might be lost for the season when he hardly played in a first-round regional game earlier this month because of his injured thumb.
It is clearly healing because this was his best game of the tournament.
"I just came out knowing my last few days of practice, I've been shooting real well," Reinhardt said. "It was about battling back and figuring a way how to contribute and shoot the ball with a cast on my hand. It was hard, but I finally found the rhythm."
Mater Dei (34-2) needed Reinhardt at his best because standout forward Xavier Johnson was sent to the bench with a fourth foul early in the third quarter as Mater Dei clung to a 38-33 lead.
Josh Cook, a tight end for the football team, came in and took two charging fouls. One of the charges fouled out Sheldon's 6-4 Nate Iese, a UCLA football signee who had 12 rebounds. Stanley Johnson contributed 21 points and 11 rebounds.
The Monarchs opened a 33-27 halftime lead behind Reinhardt, who made four three-pointers and had 16 points. Sheldon, however, used its athleticism to stay close to the Monarchs. Junior guard D'Erryl Williams had 11 points for the Huskies and finished with 13.
Asked about passing Crenshaw's Willie West for most state titles for a coach, McKnight said, "It means we've had a lot of good players for a lot of years."