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March 18, 2013
Open Division: Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei (33-2) vs. San Jose (Calif.) Archbishop Mitty (28-5) - After losing to Rancho Cucamonga (Calif.) Etiwanda in the Division IAA finals, all the Monarchs could do was talk about revenge. Well, Mater Dei got the chance to redeem itself after defeating Woodland Hills (Calif.) El Camino Real and Long Beach (Calif.) Poly in the first two rounds of the California Interscholastic Federation State Playoffs.
The result of the Mater Dei and Etiwanda rematch? A resounding, 60-37, Monarchs win behind 25 points and 12 rebounds from 2014 Arizona recruit Stanley Johnson. Senior point guard Jordan Strawberry had 17 points, seven rebounds and four assists.
Mater Dei is headed to Sacramento in search of its third straight state championship, but will have to go through Archbishop Mitty in order to achieve that goal.
Mitty, of course, is led by five-star Wildcats' recruit Aaron Gordon - the sixth ranked player in the 2013 Rivals150. Gordon and Mitty beat Newark (Calif.) Memorial, Modesto (Calif.) Christian and Sacramento (Calif.) Sheldon to earn its state championship berth. Gordon finished with 27 points and 22 rebounds in the Northern California Regional final win over Sheldon.
It's likely that the talents of Gordon and Johnson will cancel each other out, leaving the title in the hands of both teams' respective role players such as Strawberry, Butler-bound Elijah Brown and Chris Nealy for Mater Dei, while Mitty will look to Brandon Abajelo, Davis Messer and Connor Peterson.
Division IV: Los Angeles (Calif.) Pacific Hills (28-4) vs. Santa Rosa (Calif.) Cardinal Newman (33-3) - Four-star, class of 2014 Arizona recruit Namon Wright leads Pacific Hills into Sacramento in search of a state title. Wright scored 20 points in the Bruins', 73-69, Southern California Regional final win over Torrance (Calif.) Bishop Montgomery.
Pacific Hills is not a team who relies on only one player, however, as it can also lean on Rice commit Marcus Jackson and senior point guard Jahmel Taylor. Taylor paced Pacific Hills with 24 points and 10 rebounds in the win over Bishop Montgomery.
Cardinal Newman is led by 6-foot-6 forward Corey Hammell who is averaging 16.7 points per game and senior guard Kenny Love who pitches in 11 points per contest. The Cardinals defeated Cornig (Calif.), Soquel (Calif.) and San Francisco (Calif.) Archbishop Riordan.
All of the state championship games will be played at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, Calif. Mater Dei will take on Archbishop Mitty at 8 p.m., while Wright's Pacific Hills team will play at 12 p.m.