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Mater Dei Catholic senior takes charge

12/26/2013, 3:14pm PST
By Steve Brand, Special to the U-T

Crusaders defeat Hoover in opening game of Under Armour Holiday Classic.

Mater Dei Catholic senior Iman Chatman (shown in a game from last season) has helped lead the Crusaders to a No. 6 ranking in the San Diego Section.

Under Armour Holiday Classic: Schedule

Some players just have that knack to step up when the going gets tough.

As he did in football as a wide receiver, Iman Chatman sensed that Mater Dei Catholic needed a key basket or two when Hoover made a big run late in the third quarter to close a 12-point deficit to just two.

Chatman drilled a 3-point field goal, stole the ball and fed Johnathan Dutra for a field goal and converted a layup, sparking a 7-0 run that discouraged the Cardinals en route to an impressive 68-53 victory for the Crusaders on Thursday in the first round of the American Division in the 24th Under Armour Holiday Classic at La Costa Canyon High.

“He can change the pace of a game quickly in a lot of different ways,” said Mater Dei coach Kenny Caesar, whose team moves into the second round today sporting an 8-2 record that includes zero losses to teams in the San Diego Section, where the Crusaders are ranked No. 6.

“Iman will do everything he can to get us back in the game.”

Those seven points were just part of a game line that included a double-double of 14 points and 10 rebounds plus six assists and seven steals.

Chatman was his typical low-key self afterward.

“I was just playing my role, not trying to do too much but not doing too little,” said the 17-year-old senior. “I just do what I need to do to help us win.”

It seems losses to West Hills Chaminade and San Juan Capistrano JSerra in Arizona have only toughened Mater Dei, which took full advantage of having an edge in height to outrebound the Cardinals 42-22.

The Crusaders, however, had no answer for the outside shooting of Damonte Holiday, who torched them for 25 points, hitting seven 3-pointers to keep the Cards close.

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