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Mater Dei makes case for Top 10

01/16/2013, 9:44pm PST
By Steve Brand, Special to the U-T

Challenging schedule explains Crusaders' so-so record.

Mater Dei’s Alexandria Young, who will attend USD, scored 15 points for the Crusaders.

— It was the Mesa League opener for Mater Dei Catholic and host Eastlake, but the two girls basketball teams couldn’t have entered the game from more different directions.

Mater Dei was ready to prove its 7-5 record came against some of the best competition in the state and beyond and that the Crusaders deserved to be in the Top 10 rankings.

Eastlake came in with a glittering 13-4 record but on this evening was short-handed, missing three starters.

The result was predictable: Mater Dei 92, Eastlake 24.

Every one of the Mater Dei players scored, and after a 28-10 first-quarter lead ballooned to 49-10 on a 21-0 run ended by an Eastlake free throw 2:11 before the break, the starters began heading to the bench.

“This was our best shooting game of the season,” said Mater Dei coach David Monroe, who had four players score in double figures, led by freshman Katie Doran, who buried five three-pointers en route to a season-high 19 points.

USD-signee Alexandria Young added 15, Kandiss Barber 13 and Northern Arizona recruit Brittani Lusain contributed 10. None played in the fourth quarter.

“I felt the energy,” said the 5-foot-7 Doran. “Coach told me when I came out that he wanted me to shoot. This is the way we can play when we’re focused.”

Monroe said he felt the Crusaders should not only be in the Top 10, but among the San Diego Section’s top three.

“We should probably be No. 2, behind La Jolla Country Day, but we don’t really worry about that,” he said. “We’ve played a very tough schedule.”

The Crusaders have not lost to a San Diego-area team and by playing in the Sweet 16 Tournament to open the season suffered losses to the likes of Oaks Christian. They also fell to state-ranked Long Beach Poly and Gardena Serra.

As for Eastlake, Titans coach David Koopman choose not to give details about the three missing starters but said they would be back for Friday’s game.

“Say I held them out, like the San Antonio Spurs,” said Koopman. “Might as well have a sense of humor after a game like that.”

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