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A wild start to Southern Section Open Division tournament

Top-seeded Mater Dei needs overtime to beat No. 16 Cantwell-Sacred Heart, and No. 3 Loyola barely holds off a comeback by St. John Bosco.

February 21, 2014|Eric Sondheimer
  • St. John Bosco's Rodney Henderson, left, and Tyler Dorsey try to steal the ball from Loyola's Thomas Welsh during their Southern Section Open Division playoff game on Friday night in Los Angeles.
St. John Bosco's Rodney Henderson, left, and Tyler Dorsey try to steal… (Wally Skalij / Los Angeles…)

March Madness came a week early on Friday night in the opening round of the new Southern Section Open Division tournament.

From No. 1-seeded Santa Ana Mater Dei requiring overtime to outlast No. 16 Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart, 66-59, to No. 3 Los Angeles Loyola opening a 23-point second-half lead, then barely holding off a frantic comeback by No. 14 Bellflower St. John Bosco, 70-67, it was a wild night for a tournament matching the best against the best in high school basketball.

"It's a big boys tournament," St. John Bosco Coach Derrick Taylor said. "This isn't for the weak of heart."

Loyola (25-2) received 20 points, 20 rebounds and five blocks from UCLA-bound 7-footer Thomas Welsh. The Cubs were cruising going into the fourth quarter, holding a 19-point lead. But then St. John Bosco (17-10) unleashed a full-court press against a team that still hasn't adjusted to the loss of point guard Parker Jackson-Cartwright, who's left school.

Tyler Dorsey, who finished with 26 points, connected on consecutive three-pointers, pulling the Braves to within, 68-67, with 12 seconds left.

Welsh was fouled with 8.2 seconds left and made both free throws. St. John Bosco was unable to convert a final three-point attempt.

Key to the victory was Loyola's steady, overall team contributions. Khalil Bedart-Ghani had 12 points, including a pair of dunks that energized Loyola's vocal home crowd. Max Hazzard had 18 points. And Thomas Lapham made four three-pointers.

"We're still getting used to not having Parker," Bedart-Ghani said of the Cubs' many turnovers in the fourth quarter. "I knew I had to pick it up."

Loyola will play on the road against Redondo on Friday. Redondo defeated Compton, 65-56, with Leland Green scoring 21 points. Isaiah Bailey had 26 points for Compton.

In the biggest upset of the night, No. 10 Riverside North defeated Chatsworth Sierra Canyon, 65-56. Deshon Taylor scored 25 points and made 14 of 14 free throws.

Etiwanda defeated Cathedral, 55-45, with Jordan McLaughlin scoring 17 points. Lakewood Mayfair received 22 points from Dillon Reise and 19 from Kendall Small in a 72-64 win over West Hills Chaminade.

eric.sondheimer@latimes.com

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