SANTA ANA, CA- Game 14, the finale of Nike Extravaganza 23, featured host Mater Dei outlasting Chino Hills by a final score of 81-63. Harrison Butler played an impressive all-around game for the Monarchs, scoring 21 points with 10 rebounds, four assists and five steals. Spencer Freedman scored 20 points and Michael Wang put in 16 with eight assists for Mater Dei, in a rematch of last season’s open division Southern Section semi-final.
“I’m really happy with the way we played and excited with how much everyone was able to contribute,” Freedman said.
Chino Hills was led by forward Onyeka Okongwu (21 points and 11 rebounds). “Playing in-front of this Mater Dei crowd is always tough, but we played a great game,” he said. “Me and my brothers came in here and played our hearts out, I’m proud of my guys.” Andre Ball, cousin to the three famed brothers and the last Ball at Chino Hills, scored 20 points.
Ahead 59-51 after three quarters, Butler scored the first basket of the fourth to put Mater Dei up by double digits. Chino Hills answered with a three, but Butler cut back door and Wang threw a perfect pass for an easy slam dunk. Senior forward Reagan Lundeen scored two quick buckets after that, and Mater Dei stretched their lead to 15 points in a matter of several strong possessions.
During the first few minutes of the second quarter, senior six-foot-three guard Ofure Ujadughele drove baseline and slammed the ball straight over Wang, energizing the crowd early. Butler responded for the Monarchs with a jumper, but Okongwu fired right back with another big slam, tying the score at 23.
The Chino Hills bench was talking trash to Mater Dei starting freshman forward Wilhelm Breidenbach throughout the quarter, but it didn’t phase him. He nailed a corner three right in-front of the Chino Hills bench, and didn’t hesitate to look back and shush the Huskies. Okongwu and Freedman traded baskets throughout the following possessions, and Mater Dei led by six with under two minutes left in the half.
A four point halftime lead for the Monarchs saw Freedman contribute 12 points, and Wang add 10. Ball led Chino Hills with 12 as well at the break, with three assists. Both teams shot exactly 50 percent for the first half, and Chino Hills held a slight rebounding edge.
Mater Dei is currently ranked fourth in the division one Southern Sections poll, behind undefeated Bishop Montgomery, Etiwanda and Sierra Canyon. The Monarchs are a top candidate for the open division playoffs.
“We feel like we took a big step today, playing another great team from Southern California,” Freedman said. Chino Hills is 15-11 and 5-4 in league. The Huskies are 11th in the Southern Section and on the open division watchlist.