In a first round matchup of arguably the toughest CIF bracket in all of high school basketball, the Southern Section Open Division, Mater Dei (Santa Ana, California) destroyed Crossroads (Santa Monica, California) by a final score 80-44.
Mater Dei (29-1) was led by Cal commit Justice Sueing (18 points) and junior guard Spencer Freedman (16 points). Freedman pushed the pace for MD throughout the entire game, and was also looking to assert himself offensively (6 of 13 from the field).
"We wanted to change the pace and play our style of basketball," he said. "I did as much as I could to get the tempo up and keep that pace going."
Mater Dei head coach Gary McKnight was pleased with his team's performance.
"Our guys came out and were ready to play," he said. "We did a good job on the defensive end, and it was a great start to CIF for us."
In a losing effort for Crossroads, 6-foot-10 junior Shareef O'Neal poured in 20 points and grabbed five boards, while shooting an efficient 9 of 17 from the field.
"We didn't prepare enough for this game against one of the top teams in the country." He added, "I need to motivate my team more and get our guys involved."
Ira Lee, a 6-foot-8 senior for Crossroads, also contributed with 12 points and six rebounds.
Mater Dei built up a 71-30 advantage by the start of the fourth quarter, and finished strong by continuing to play as team on both ends of the hardwood. Throughout the third, MD wore down Crossroads and did their best to lock down O'Neal, who had just four points at the start of the quarter.
Mater Dei came out of the gates strong, playing extremely fast and using their athleticism as a big advantage. Sueing got off to a fast start on the offensive end, and 6-foot-11 junior big man Bol Bol dominated inside both offensively and defensively.