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Mater Dei at top of its game in beating Mayfair, 77-59, in playoff

Monarchs' Stanley Johnson starts with a dunk and ends with 42 points in Southern Section Open Division quarterfinal. Mater Dei will face Riverside North next; other semifinal is Redondo and Chino Hills.

February 28, 2014|Eric Sondheimer
  • Mater Dei senior Stanley Johnson drives down the lane against Mayfair junior Kendall Small during a Southern Section Open Division playoff quarterfinal game on Friday night in Lakewood.
Mater Dei senior Stanley Johnson drives down the lane against Mayfair junior… (Bret Hartman / For The Times )

Wearing a hoodie in pregame warmups, Stanley Johnson was smiling, dancing and even singing a hip-hop song blaring over the public address system Friday night at Lakewood Mayfair. The 6-foot-7 All-American from Santa Ana Mater Dei left little doubt how much he enjoys playoff time. Four seconds into the Southern Section Open Division quarterfinal playoff game, he took a lob pass and dunked.

It was just the beginning of another memorable performance from a player who is headed to legendary status in Mater Dei lore. He finished with 42 points in the Monarchs' 77-59 victory over Mayfair.

"It's Stanley at his best," Coach Gary McKnight said.

Yes, unbeaten Mater Dei (29-0) received a good scare last week in pulling out an overtime first-round playoff victory over Montebello Cantwell-Sacred Heart.

"It was a warning call," Johnson said. "We needed it. It happened; it's over."

The Monarchs were on top of their game against Mayfair (23-6), putting together a 20-0 run in the second quarter for a 38-21 halftime lead. In the third quarter, every time Mayfair tried to make a run, Johnson turned into a roadblock. He had 17 points in the quarter.

The dilemma for every Mater Dei opponent is what to do with the Arizona-bound Johnson. Oregon Coach Dana Altman watched and admired a player who he'll have to deal with next season. "He's so versatile," Altman said.

Junior point guard Kendall Small of Mayfair tried his best to counter Johnson, scoring 21 points. But Johnson does so many things well besides scoring to make the Monarchs go. M.J. Cage made important contributions, scoring 14 points and grabbing 13 rebounds.

Mater Dei will host Riverside North in a semifinal game Tuesday. North defeated Corona Centennial, 78-76. North hasn't lost on the court this season.

The other semifinal will match Redondo and host Chino Hills. Redondo defeated Los Angeles Loyola, 65-54. Chino Hills received 14 points from KC Cyprian in a 59-48 win over No. 2-seeded Etiwanda.

In 1AA, the semifinals will match Inglewood at No. 1 Long Beach Poly and Long Beach Millikan at Mission Viejo. Millikan upset No. 2 Rancho Cucamonga, 86-84. In 1A, No. 1 El Toro lost to Perris, 60-52. And No. 2 Mission Hills Alemany was beaten by Villa Park, 65-62.

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