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SoCalHoops High School News

Mater Dei & Simi Lull Each Other
To Sleep; Simi Nods Off First--(March 2, 1999)

We don't mean to be cruel with the headline above, but really, even if these are just high school guys, kids after all, for two teams that have played so well this season, we never thought we'd see such awful shooting and so many turnovers.  Really.   It was a shame that Simi had to end such a fine season with such a dismal shooting performance, and likewise, it was dreadful that Mater Dei advanced while playing not very well itself.

To get right to the bottom line, Mater Dei won, 56-43.  But that hardly tells the story, and it wasn't a pretty story at all, so put the kids to bed, turn off the lights, and make sure there's no one under 18 reading this.   It contains material only fit for adults. 

How bad was it?  Well, Simi shot .286 from the field in the first half, and only .320 in the second, for an overall field goal percentage of .302.  That's abysmal.  Really. Simi shot only 16 for 53 from the field, 2 for 16 (.125) from three point range, and 9 for 13 overall from the line.   How bad was it? In the second half, Simi couldn't buy a basket, and they shot 8 for 33 combined from the field, and 0 for 8 from behind the three point arc.

Mater Dei wasn't much better, shooting only .388 overall from the field in the game (19 for 49), and only 5 for 14 from the three point line (.357) in the game. In the second half, they couldn't hit from behind the arc either, going 0 for 5 three point attempts.

If this is the way Mater Dei plays on Saturday, Glendora isn't going to have any problems.

And this game was just filled with turnovers, on both sides:  Simi had 16 turnovers, and Mater Dei had 14--these were from the Mater Dei stat guys; we actually counted far more, but then we were being generous.   Mater Dei scored 27 points off of Simi turnovers, almost half their points, while Simi only scored two.

The biggest difference in the game?  Mater Dei's bench was responsible for 15 points; Simi's bench had 0, as in ZERO, a big, fat goose-egg.  And that's not surprising, because for most of the game, Simi only went 6 players deep, and then Simi only played Tony Ward (6'-1" Sr. G/F) sparingly and, as we noted, he didn't score.

We spoke with assistant coach Jack Soderberg (Erick's dad) before the game, and he told us that Jamal Sampson (6'-10" So. C) had been cleared to play, would not start, but that Gary McKnight was planning to insert him into the game about midway through the first quarter if necessary. 

It never became necessary.  Rafael Berumen (6'-9" Sr. PF/C) only showed flashes of the brilliance that earned him a stellar reputation and a scholarship to New Mexico in the first half, and certainly in the first five minutes of this game, the thought of putting in Sampson and risking further injury to their potential star center who will be needed down the stretch in the State Tournament, must never have crossed McKnight's mind.   While Dustin Villepigue (6'-9" So. F) played well, moving and staying active defensively and alert on offense, Mater Dei was just too quick to drive into the paint, too accurate with it's outside shooting, and way too deep.

In the first half alone, Mater Dei used 9 players for significant periods of time, while Simi stuck with it's starting five for most of the half.  Simi's offense just never got cranked up, Shaun Michel was having all kinds of difficulty making clean entry passes, and Rafael was having all kinds of trouble catching them with Mike Bayer riding him like a bareback horse in the paint.  We don't want to say that the refs turned a blind eye to the mugging that Simi's players got in the paint, but . . . well, they should have just strapped a saddle on Berumen and told Bayer to start shouting "giddyup".  We're all for letting players "play through" the rough stuff, but this was pretty rough.

At the end of the first quarter, the score was 13-9; at the end of the half, Mater Dei had extended it's lead to 34-19.  The leading scorer for the half for Mater Dei was Imran Sufi with 10 points on 4 for 5 shooting from the field, and 2-2 from behind the three point line (he hit two consecutive threes from the left baseline. Derrick Mansell had 2 points, Ricky Porter was 3 for 3 from the field, and 1 for 1 from three point range for a total of 7 points; Steve Scoggin wasn't so lucky, as he was just 1 for 8 from the field and 1 for 5 from three point range for a total 5 points. Mike Bayer had 5, and Christian McGuigan also had 5.  Simi's high scorer was Brett Michel in the first half, with 7, but he shot only 3 for 7; Branduinn Fullove had 5 points in the half, Shaun had 3, and Berumen had 4.

The second half was not much better.  Simi opened up showing a sorta, kinda, press, but Mater Dei was just too fast.  Imran Sufi, who played point most of the night as Derrick Mansell moved to the two spot, was really impressive pushing the ball up the floor, never pausing to evaluate the defense, but just pushing through it. In contrast, Shaun Michel, who is still young and still learning, seemed to be a bit more tentative when confronted with pressure in the backcourt, and as a result, he forced some passes than probably need not have been rushed had he simply driven by Sufi who was guarding him.  Sufi was applying pressure, but not an inordinate amount, at least from where we were sitting.  Admittedly, we didn't have Shaun's view of things, but then he didn't have ours either, and we thought that he should have pushed the ball through the Mater Dei weak pressure defense more often than he did. 

Simi did make a brief run, cutting the Mater Dei lead to just 6 with about 5 minutes left to play in the game, but it really was way too little too late.  During this run, Berumen showed some more flashes of his powerful spin moves, but it almost looked a bit half-hearted, as if Simi realized they weren't going to catch the Monarchs.  Mater Dei quickly extended the lead to 10 and then 12, and finally 13 as the minutes and then seconds ticked away in the second half.   

So Mater Dei will now play Glendora for the Division I-A finals at the Anaheim Pond on Saturday.  This will be a rematch for thest two teams, and the last time they met on the same floor in the first game of the young 98-99 season in the John Wooden High School Classic Invitational, Glendora handled Mater Dei convincingly.  Whether they'll be able to repeat the feat is something only time will tell.  We'll be there, and we're sure most of you will be too.

The final scoring in tonights game was, Mater Dei:  Sufi 12 (5 for 6 from the field, 2 for 2 from the line, 3 rebounds, 3 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 blocked shot), Mansell 4 (2 for 6 from the field, 3 rebounds, 1 assists, 2 turnovers, 1 blocked shot), Porter 7 (3 for 5 shooting from the field, 1 for 3 three pint range, 3 rebounds, 3 assists), Scoggin 10 (2 for 14 from the field, 1 for 8 from three point range, 5 for 7 from the line, 6 rebounds, 5 assists, 1 turnover), Strawberry 2 (0 for 4 from the field, 2 for 2 from the line, 3 rebounds, 1 assist, 4 blocked shots, including 2 on Berumen), Bayer 13 (5 for 10 fg, 3 for 4 ft, 4 rebounds, 6 turnovers), McGuigan 13 (1 for 2 fg, 3 for 4 ft, 6 rebounds), E. Soderberg 2 (1 for 2 fg, 7 rebounds).    Simi:  Berumen 13 (5-13 fg, 0-2 3pt, 3-6 ft, 11 rebounds, 1 assist), S. Michel 11 (4-15 fg, 1-6 3pt, 2-2 ft, 6 rebounds, 3 assists, 8 turnovers), Villepigue 2 (1-2 fg, 5 rebounds, 2 blocked shots), B. Michel 10 (3-9 fg, 1-4 3pt, 3-4 ft, 4 rebounds), Fullove 7 (3-10 fg, 0-2 3pt, 1-1 ft, 5 rebounds, 3 turnovers).

The Swish Award
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