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December 20, 2012

Mater Dei, Bishop Gorman open Tarkanian Classic with wins



LAS VEGAS - Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei cruised to yet another victory Wednesday evening in the opening game of the inaugural Tarkanian Classic at Bishop Gorman High School.

The five-star, class of 2014 recruit and No. 14-ranked player overall Stanley Johnson paced the Monarchs with 16 points in light minutes.

Mater Dei jumped on top of Los Angeles (Calif.) Ribet Academy with a quick 13-5 run in the first six minutes of the game.

The Monarchs then went off a 25-6 run, capped by an Elijah Brown 3-pointer and a Jordan Strawberry layup as the first half buzzer sounded, giving Mater Dei a 38-11 lead at the break.

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight, who seemed to be unhappy with the play of his starting five, replaced all five starters just seven minutes into the second half. The Monarchs held a commanding 48-22 lead when McKnight pulled his starters.

The Mater Dei bench closed out the contest, coming away with a 76-31 victory.

The Monarchs will be back in action Thursday evening as they take on Las Vegas (Nev.) Cheyenne at 5:40 p.m.

Bishop Gorman 82, Foothills Christian 50

Four-star, class of 2015 recruit Stephen Zimmerman Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman with 17 points and eight rebounds.

The 7-foot sophomore got off to a slow start, scoring just four points in the first half. Zimmerman attributed that the return of guard Rashad Muhammad.

"We just got Rashad (Muhammad) back and we're trying to get the team chemistry up," he said. "The ball isn't moving as well as it should, and were just settling for any shot."

Zimmerman found himself much more involved in the second half, as he connected on four consecutive shot attempts.

With the game out of reach, Zimmerman spent much of the second half on the bench, but did score 13 of his 17 points after the break.

"I had to be more aggressive (in the second half)," Zimmerman said.

With the Tarkanian Classic brackets set up the way that they are, a Mater Dei, Bishop Gorman matchup in the finale is what most are looking forward to, Zimmerman especially.

"We're hoping to win it all," he said. "We're hoping to beat Mater Dei, because they're one of the best teams in the country."

He added: "We didn't beat them last year, and it's our tournament."

The Gaels will face Narbonne (Calif.) Narbonne tomorrow at 7 p.m.

Devin UglandDevin Ugland

GOAZCATS.com West Coast recruiting analyst

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