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SoCalHoops High School News

State Regional Finals: Boys SoCal & NorCal
Division I Recaps --(Mar. 12, 2001)

Obviously we couldn't possibly have seen all of these games, but we did manage to get to a few on Saturday.  We thought it would be interesting to see the same games from differing perspectives, and we've therefore excerpted from each of the local papers who cover the teams that played in these games (to the extent there was any coverage at all, i.e., in D-III we found it difficult to find much from the SoCal Regional final).  We've provided full links to each of the papers so you can continue to get more coverage and to see what else each paper has on coverage from their region. It's a great way to do some research on the teams in the finals.   We obviously haven't linked to every story from every site which may have written about these games, but we've generally selected as much as we could find that was available.  Here's Division I for both NorCal and SoCal.    The final in this division will take place at Arco Arena on Saturday, March 17, at 8:00 p.m. at Arco Arena and will see a matchup between Mater Dei and Modesto Christian. 

SoCal Regional Final

Mater Dei 80, Clovis West 62--

NorCal Regional Final
Modesto Christian 72, DeLaSalle 53
The Fresno Bee

Clovis West High's season ends with an 80-62 loss.

By Lisa Burnett
The Fresno Bee

INGLEWOOD -- Vance Walberg knew the Southern Region Division1 boys' basketball championship would come down to the outside shot. Saturday night at the Forum, it did -- and not in a good way for Walberg's Clovis West High. 

Cold shooting spelled doom for the undersized Golden Eagles against a huge Mater Dei lineup. 

The Monarchs, No.1 in the state and No.8 in the nation, outscored Clovis West, No.3 in the state and No.8 in the nation, by 17 points in the fourth quarter to pull out an 80-62 victory.

With its sixth regional championship, Mater Dei advances to Saturday's state final at Sacramento's ARCO Arena. 

Clovis West, which beat the Monarchs in last year's regional final to become the first Central Section Division 1 team to reach a state championship, ended their season at 31-3. 

"We just didn't shoot the darn outside shot," Walberg said. "We just couldn't hit anything in the fourth. You live by the outside shot, you die by the outside shot, and we died on it." 

After rallying past the Monarchs early, the Eagles went 1 for 15 from 3-point range in the second half -- 0 for 9 in the crucial fourth quarter.  

"We had open shots, but we couldn't put them in," said Clovis West point guard Chris Hernandez, who scored 19 points before fouling out with 34.3 seconds left. "Their big players started making big plays. That was the time for me to step up, and I didn't come through. I missed a lot of open shots and got in foul trouble. That was the difference." 

Not entirely. 

Senior guard Ricky Porter scored 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter -- mostly on fastbreaks -- as Mater Dei pulled away from a 53-52 third-quarter lead. 

"He did the same thing against Upland on Thursday," said junior forward Nick Debban, who at 6-foot-4 was impressive in a matchup against 6-11 Jamal Sampson. "I don't know if they figured out what we were doing. They started running. I think we were concentrating too much on the offensive boards, and no one was going back."

Sampson also was impressive, blocking four shots in the fourth quarter. He finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocks against the Eagles, who have no player taller than 6-4. 

"He was huge," Debban said of Sampson. "He was good, too. 

"But we've played other players just like him. You can go right at him and take it hard."  But Debban didn't back off one bit in his inside matchup with the Cal-bound center. Debban had 18 points, seven rebounds, three steals and two assists. He shot 8 for 17, including 1 for 2 from 3-point range. 

"He never backs away from anybody," Walberg said of Debban. "We just didn't have enough because we've got to hit a few 3s, and we just didn't hit them." 

Clovis West went 7 for 30 from 3-point range and 23 for 73 overall. 

The Eagles fell behind quickly, but Tyson Parker's 3-pointer just before the first-quarter buzzer cut the deficit to 21-16.

That seemed to spark Clovis West, which scored the next four points to close to one. The Eagles pulled ahead for the first time when Jason Walberg followed a Tyrone Jackson 3-pointer with two free throws for a 32-31 edge with 2:54 left in the first half. 

Debban's 3-pointer with 46 seconds left in the half gave the Eagles a 39-35 lead. 

Clovis West stayed ahead until UCLA-bound guard Cedric Bozeman and 6-8 sophomore Harrison Schaen ended the third quarter with baskets, putting the Monarchs up by one. 

The Mater Dei run grew to 8-0 before Hernandez scored the Eagles' first basket of the fourth quarter with 4:53 left. But the Monarchs responded with a 10-1 run to take a 67-55 lead with 3:05 left. Porter scored eight more points down the stretch as Clovis West never threatened. 

"I thought the biggest factor was we didn't shoot the ball well enough," Walberg said. "I thought they did a good job on Jason Walberg ć but we had all the looks we wanted, we just couldn't knock them down." 

Jason Walberg, the Eagles' 3-point specialist, made one 3-pointer and scored five points. He also grabbed seven rebounds. 

Tyrone Jackson scored 12 points for Clovis West. 

Bozeman had 17 points, and Miek Strawerry had 12 for Mater Dei.

The Orange County Register

Mater Dei has date at state
The Monarchs rally to beat Clovis West, 80-62, in the Div. I regional final. 

The Orange County Register

INGLEWOOD It's not often that Mater Dei has found itself trailing in the third quarter, but that happened Saturday night.

"We knew we'd worked too hard to give up now," Mater Dei's Rickey Porter said. With Porter scoring 18 points in the second half, Mater Dei rallied to beat Clovis West, 80-62, in the CIF Southern California Regionals Division I final at The Great Western Forum.

Mater Dei (32-2) plays Modesto Christian in the CIF State Division I championship game Saturday at 8 p.m. at the ARCO Arena in Sacramento. It will be the Monarchs' sixth state championship game appearance. They won state titles in 1987, 90 and '95.

When Mater Dei lost to Clovis West in the Regionals Division I final last season, 71-64, at The Forum, it was the Eagles' quickness that was the difference.  That was the case again Saturday night, as Clovis West led at halftime and through much of the third quarter.

"I thought sometimes they had more than five players on the floor," Porter said. "I swear, I even counted them once."

Porter made the shots that counted in the fourth quarter. With the Monarchs carrying a one-point edge into the fourth quarter, Porter scored on consecutive drives to push the lead to 57-52. His two free throws with 3:51 to go put Mater Dei on top by nine. Another Porter basket later gave the Monarchs a 10-point advantage, and one of his four reverse layups in the quarter, this one with just more than a minute remaining, made it 71-57 to put another victory in the Mater Dei bag.

The final 18-point margin belied the closeness of the second half, but in the early going it appeared a Mater Dei blowout was in the works. With Sampson scoring eight points in the first quarter, Mater Dei quickly built a 17-7 lead. The Eagles cut that in half to trail by five, 21-16, going into the second quarter.

Clovis West got several easy baskets in the second and third quarters by executing a simple but effective strategy. The Eagles, knowing Sampson has been hampered by a bone spur in one foot and tendinitis in the other, sent the player Sampson was covering, Nick Debban, sprinting downcourt on every possession. That, and Mater Dei's five turnovers in the second quarter and four in the third, helped Clovis West take a 39-35 lead at halftime and a 46-41 lead early in the third quarter.

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight decided to jostle the lineup to counter the Eagles' quickness.  "I put Shaun Michel back in there," he said, "to give us four guards out there. (The Eagles') relentless pressure made it hard for us to get the ball upcourt."

Porter finished with 20 points and had seven assists. Sampson scored 20 with 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots, and Cedric Bozeman scored 17.

Stanford-bound Chris Hernandez led Clovis West with 19 points.  It was Mater Dei's 12th trip to a Regionals final in 16 years, and the Monarchs are 6-6 in Regionals final games.

The Los Angeles Times

Porter Shifts Monarchs Into Higher Gear  Prep basketball: He scores 16 in fourth quarter as Mater Dei pulls away to
beat Clovis West, 80-62, in regional final.


Mater Dei was not going to let history repeat itself, not here, not on this grand stage against the team that knocked it out of the playoffs last year one step short of the state championship game. 

The Monarchs led Fresno Clovis West by five points early in the fourth quarter Saturday in the Southern California Regional Division I championship game, just as they had last year before collapsing down the stretch. 

For a moment, doubts started creeping into senior guard Ricky Porter's mind. "I thought, 'This could be it again,' " Porter said.

"But the seniors had been talking. We weren't going to let that happen." 

Porter made sure of it personally, scoring 16 of his 20 points in the fourth quarter as top-seeded Mater Dei pulled away from Clovis West for an 80-62 victory before an announced crowd of 10,234 at the Forum.  Porter could have added to his point total in the final minute but instead decided to punctuate the victory with an assist. He had the basket all to himself on a breakaway but paused under the basket and passed to trailing guard Cedric Bozeman for a monster dunk that sent the Mater Dei fans into a frenzy. 

"This is what we've been playing for all year," said Mater Dei center Jamal Sampson. "If we didn't make it [to the state final], it would have been a disappointing season."

The Monarchs (32-2) outscored the Eagles, 27-10, in the fourth quarter as they steadily built on the 53-52 lead they established at the end of the third. Sampson finished with 20 points, 15 rebounds and eight blocked shots for the Monarchs, who shot 76.2% from the field in the second half. 

Mater Dei will try to win its fourth state championship and first since 1995 when it faces Modesto Christian in the title game next Saturday in Sacramento. Modesto Christian beat Concord De La Salle, 72-53, Saturday in the Northern Regional final.  The Monarchs, who last appeared in a state final in 1999, losing to Oakland Fremont, also won state titles in 1990 and '87. 

Bozeman had 17 points on seven-of-10 shooting for Mater Dei, which broke open a tight game after switching to a four-guard lineup that befuddled Clovis West's press in the second half. Guards Porter, Bozeman, Brian Baker and Shaun Michel handled the ball with aplomb late against a defense that forced eight first-half turnovers.  "I'm just happy right now," Bozeman said as he sat in the jubilant Mater Dei locker room afterward. "I don't know what to say." 

Clovis West, the state runner-up last season, made only one of 15 three-point shots in the second half. The Eagles (31-3) led by five points early in the third quarter after guard Chris Hernandez made a three-pointer, but lost their shooting touch the rest of the way. Hernandez led Clovis West with 19 points and Nick Debban had 18. 

Mater Dei's offensive explosion in the fourth quarter was keyed by a great defensive effort. Sampson tipped balls, blocked four shots and generally wreaked havoc inside against a team whose tallest player, Debban, is 6 feet 4. 

The Monarchs opened the fourth quarter with a 10-2 run sparked by two Porter layups and a nifty play by Bozeman, who caught a pass in midair and pushed it into the basket. Later, Porter sealed the victory with back-to-back reverse layups that gave Mater Dei a 71-57 lead with about two minutes left.  Porter, who also came up big in the fourth quarter of the Monarchs' semifinal victory over Upland, is beginning to rival Sampson and Bozeman as an offensive

"I think people overlook him," Sampson said. "Sometimes, they take him lightly, and that's to his advantage."  Clovis West led at halftime, 39-35, after closing the second quarter with a 12-4 run. After Michel drove the lane and laid the ball in to give the Monarchs a 31-27 lead, Eagle guard Tyrone Jackson started the charge with a three-pointer, one of six in the first half for Clovis West. 

Jason Walberg followed with a pair of free throws to give the Eagles their first lead of the game, 32-31, and Jackson then added to the lead when he drove and scored. Bozeman momentarily halted the run with a basket inside, but Debban answered with a bucket of his own to extend the lead to 36-33.

Modesto Bee

FINALS: One More to Go


SACRAMENTO -- Thanks to Chuck Hayes, the Modesto Christian High boys basketball team marched into Stanislaus District history Saturday night. 

Hayes placed the Crusaders on his back, scoring 26 points to lead Modesto Christian to a 72-53 win over defending state champion De La Salle of Concord to win the Northern California Division I championship in front of 10,936 at Arco Arena. 

Modesto Christian (34-3) will play Mater Dei, an 80-62 winner over Clovis West, for the state championship at Arco Arena on Saturday at 8 p.m.  

Hayes, headed for the University of Kentucky next year, made sure early on the Crusaders became the first Stanislaus District team to advance to the Division I state championship. 

He scored 16 points in the first half, nearly mirroring his 20-point first-half performance against San Jose's Andrew Hill in Friday's NorCal semifinal. 

"Chuck's playing both ends of the floor, every minute," said MC coach Gary Porter. "He's grooming himself for the next level, and tonight, he showed why he's going to Kentucky."

Whenever the Crusaders needed a basket, Hayes moved from the perimeter to the inside, took a pass and scored with ease. 

He was never challenged by the same Spartan big men that controlled him the last time these teams met, a 60-58 De La Salle win on Jan. 15. 

"Back in January, I saw them really excited and celebrating and their guys are kissing the floor," Hayes said. "I look at us and we're in shock. I didn't want to feel that way against these guys any more." 

The first half, however, was played in methodical fashion, which is just what the Spartans wanted. MC took a 30-27 lead into the locker room. 

"After the first half, I was a little scared," Porter said. "We were playing their style. We needed to pick up the pace."  

And they did. 

Bobby Cole II made a layup, Richard Midgley hit a 3-pointer and Hayes made a follow shot. David Paris followed with a putback with 5:53 remaining in the third quarter, and the Crusaders -- rather suddenly -- had a 39-27 lead. 

Spartans point guard Joe See, headed to Oregon State after a 112-9 varsity career, made his third 3-pointer, quieting the crowd. 

But Marc Pratt answered with a 3-pointer of his own, and the party started all over again. 

"Tonight we ran up against a team that's like a saw," said De La Salle coach Frank Allocco. "They're just buzzing through teams. We went into the half feeling good, but they came out and were just a much better team.  

"I don't think there's anything we could have done to stop them." 

De La Salle (27-5) won in January because it was able to stay within a few points of the Crusaders, withstand one final run and close with
one of its own. Porter was very much aware of this, and wanted to close the deal in the third quarter. 

"I felt if we could come out and make a run in the third, they'd have to pick up the pace," Porter said. "If we could get them to play our style, I felt we'd win by 15. Once we made them run, they were reacting to us." 

De La Salle did seem nervous at times, making four of its 15 free throw attempts. Midgley had 19 points, while Paris had 11 points and 16 rebounds.  

See led the Spartans with 18 points. 

The Crusaders outscored De La Salle 20-12 in the fourth quarter, and Porter removed all five starters -- Hayes, Paris, Midgley, Cole and Pratt - with less than a minute remaining to a standing ovation. 

"They're a scrappy bunch," Porter said. "But we responded to everything they threw at us." Modesto Christian 72, De La Salle 53  

Modesto Christian (34-3)--Chuck Hayes 12-16 4-4 26, Richard Midgley 7-11 1-2 19, Marc Pratt 4-9 1-2 10, Bobby Cole 2-4 0-1 4, David Paris 5-11 1-3 11, Jeff Porter 0-3 0-0 0, B.Bonner 0-1 0-0 0, Patterson 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 31-56 51-12 72   De La Salle (27-5) --Brown 5-14 1-5 14, See 7-17 1-1 18, Williams 4-7 0-2 10, Robinson 1-2 0-0 2, Knauff 1-4 0-3 2, Burns 0-0 1-2 1, Thomas-Carter 1-4 0-0 2, Sims 1-7 1-2 3. Totals 20-55 4-15 53. 

Modesto Chr 13 17 22 20 -- 72  De La Salle 17 10 14 12 -- 53  3-point goals--Modesto Christian 5-15 (Midgley 4-7, Pratt 1-3, Cole 0-1, Hayes 0-2, Porter 0-2), De La Salle 9-19 (Brown 3-4, See 3-8, Williams 2-2, Thomas-Carter 1-2, Robinson 0-1, Knauff 0-2).   Fouled out--None. Rebounds--Modesto Christian 43 (Paris 16), De La Salle 28 (Sims 9). Assists--Modesto Christian 12 (Midgley 4), De La Salle 10 (Brown, See, Thomas-Carter, Nelson 2). Total fouls--Modesto Christian 13, De La Salle 15. A--10, 936.

Modesto Bee


has grasp of its destiny

(Published: Sunday, March 11, 2001)

SACRAMENTO -- Gary Porter has perfected a simple method for gauging his team's readiness. Before each game, he shakes the hands of his Modesto Christian Crusaders. 

Porter judges by skin language -- a limp handshake almost guarantees a tentative or nervous young man. A firm and strong grip, however, means a player who can't wait to go. 

Before tipoff Saturday night, Porter was all smiles. The Crusaders nearly crushed their coach's right hand, the best of omens.

"We were ready. No sweat (on their hands). They were on their way," Porter said. "I knew if we played the way we could, we would win by 15 points. I know it sounds cocky, but that's the way I really felt." 

About two hours after Porter's special test, his team walked -- no, they stormed -- into valley lore. The Crusaders didn't just become the first-ever Northern California Division I boys champion from the Modesto area. They called their shot, proclaiming their goal before the season-opening tip: Nothing less than Northern California dominance. 

How dominant, you ask? Well, we'll start with a 72-53 dismissal of defending state champion De La Salle of Concord, the kind of physical thumping De La Salle often lays on its football opponents. Then there's Modesto Christian's 20-point average margin of victory in six playoff games, run-aways yacht racers call "horizon jobs." And, always a little larger than the rest, stands one Chuck Hayes. 

MC's meal ticket, normally stoic, left his laid-back manner on the bus. When asked how badly he desired victory, he replied, "Too bad."  

Hayes' tip-in at the halftime buzzer put the Crusaders in front 30-27. What he said in the locker room moments later, however, might have been worth more than his 26 points and 11 rebounds. 

"I don't want tonight to be my last game," Hayes told his teammates. Porter couldn't have done better if he had lip-synched Knute Rockne.  

"He was screaming," Porter said.  "When your big horse is motivated …" 

Much like the handshake exam, Hayes also offered a glimpse into MC's team psyche. The Crusaders waited until Game 37, a long and sometimes impatient vigil, for the one they desperately wanted. Heck, the school waited three years -- since breaking new ground as an independent -- for a moment like this. 

The pressure, though largely self-imposed, closed in on the Crusaders like winter fog. A crowd of nearly 11,000, two-thirds MC fans, filed into Arco Arena hoping to see something special from Hayes and Company. Planning to foil the plan was De La Salle, its confidence stemming from an earlier victory over MC. 

De La Salle coach Frank Allocco, dressed impeccably, orchestrated the first half like a conductor clutching his baton, slowing the game to a crawl with a well-conceived half-court offense designed to frustrate the MC machine.

Around him huddled assistants in suits. Both on the football field and on the hardwood, the Spartans cut quite a presence. They truly expected to finish off the nouveau glamour boys from down south. 

But at the other end of the court, Porter -- donned in his usual open-necked sports shirt, casual slacks and loafers -- seldom rose from his seat.  

He held the pat hand -- players, blunt force and commitment -- that trumps game plans. He understood what De La Salle eventually was force-fed: Since a 60-58 loss to De La Salle on Jan. 15, MC had grown into a bona fide monster. 

The Spartans weren't prepared for David Paris, 6-foot-8 270-pound David Paris, to run the court like a pulling guard or to pound them into tiny particles in the paint. They did not anticipate about a dozen of their shots near the hoop to bounce astray, while MC merely deked block attempts. Simply, they had no potion for the ill MC put on them. Imagine Mike Tyson in his prime or Secretariat at the Belmont. That was Modesto Christian in the third quarter, sapping De La Salle's spirit. 

No, MC was tempered this year by fire -- in the form of three tough losses to nationally-ranked teams -- and honed by will. Finally, with one of its major goals achieved, it allowed the emotion to show. The Crusaders raised their right index fingers en masse. 

Their championship symbolizes the growth of our fair corner of the globe. Since 1993, the Sac-Joaquin Section has witnessed a student-body jump from 160,000 to 205,000. During a similar period, the population of the greater Modesto area has hiked from 370,522 to 436,790. 

Don't be duped by MC's enrollment of 270. It reflects big things happening around us -- more people, richer diversity and and sincere ambition. Critics aside, these are not bad things. 

In fact, MC tore a page from De La Salle's own football playbook -- independent program, go-for-it-all mentality -- to seize Northern California's biggest prize. It was not accomplished by accident.  

"They (De La Salle) are something we want to be," Porter said. 

Today, MC is just that. No sweat.

Contra Costa Times

Spartans fall short in final

Modesto Christian settles a score with De La Salle by capturing the NorCal

By Marcus W. Thompson II

SACRAMENTO -- The De La Salle High School boys basketball team was the victim of a vendetta.

With the memory of a shocking loss to the Spartans earlier this year coupled with the hopes of a state title, No. 2 seed Modesto Christian (34-3) rolled to a 72-53 win over top seeded De La Salle (27-5) in the California Interscholastic Federation Division I Northern Regional championship at Arco Arena.

"We wanted to play De La Salle more than any other team because they beat us," said Crusaders junior
guard Richard Midgely, who finished with 19 points, including four 3-pointers. "We knew we could beat
them on a neutral floor."

The loss ends the Spartans' bid for back-to-back state titles.

"This was the best four years of my life," said De La Salle guard Joe See.

The Spartans were done in by Chuck Hayes, Modesto Christian's 6-foot-7 Kentucky-bound forward, and his teammate, 6-8 center David Paris. Hayes owned the paint. Paris played the part of human fly-swatter with three spectacular blocked shots. Together, they helped Modesto Christian outrebound DLS 43-28.

Because of their presence, the offense De La Salle had used to pick teams apart was reduced to shoot-and-pray.

By the time the final two-minutes rolled around, the Spartans' stellar season was over. Hayes and Paris were just too much. Hayes finished with 26 points and 11 rebounds. Paris had 11 points and 16 rebounds.

"It wasn't anything we didn't do, it was what they did," said De La Salle coach Frank Allocco, who has guided the Spartans to three straight NorCal finals. "They just outplayed us. There were no adjustments we could've made. I hope these kids aren't holding their heads down, thinking they could have done something better. Tonight we played the best team in the state. To beat us like that, they're a great team."

Modesto Christian moves on to face Mater Dei-Santa Ana next Saturday at 8 p.m. at Arco Arena.

Modesto Christian came out smoking in the second half, seizing control of the game. The Crusaders scored the first nine points of the half, including a 3-pointer by Midgely and layups by Hayes, Paris and forward Bobby Cole.

The run grew to 14-5 after a layup by Paris, leaving the Spartans trailing 44-32 with four minutes left in the third quarter. Guard Charles Brown, who finished with 14 points, scored six straight points for the Spartans, including a 3-pointer, to cut the lead to 46-36 with three minutes left in the period.

But the inside play of Hayes and Paris continued to thrive while the Spartans sputtered. Paris scored eight points in the third quarter and Hayes added six as Modesto Christian took a 51-40 lead into the fourth quarter.

It was an epic battle when these teams met in the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic at St. Mary's College on Jan. 15. The Spartans got a game-high 21 points and seven assists from See. It was See's drive-and-dish to Joe Robinson for a layup that gave De La Salle a 60-58 win, negating an off-balance, game-tying 3-pointer by Midgely seconds before.

Midgely was a nemesis for the Spartans in the rematch, scoring eight of his 19 points in the final quarter.

De La Salle was able to overcome the Crusaders' size in the first game. Hayes and Paris combined for 27 points -- only six in the second half -- and 19 rebounds. Hayes spent the second half in foul trouble and eventually fouled out, allowing the Spartans to focus on Paris.

"The last game really hurt," Hayes said. "I saw the way they flooded the court and our jaws dropped. I didn't want to turn in my jersey this  week."

Hayes went inside with ease for six first-quarter points Saturday, but De La Salle led 17-13 after the first quarter behind 3-pointers from See, Brown and Govinda Thomas-Carter.

The Spartans struggled to get going in the second quarter and didn't score their first points until a jumper by Demetrius Williams with 4:05 left in the half. De La Salle was 0-for-5 from the free-throw line in the quarter but led 25-21 after See's second 3-pointer of the quarter.

But the Crusaders gained control late in the half mostly with inside play. Hayes continued to dominate, scoring 10 points and leading Modesto Christian to a 10-3 rebounding advantage in the quarter. Midgely's second 3-pointer of the quarter gave the Crusaders a 28-27 lead with 55 seconds left in the half. A putback by Hayes in the final second capped a 5-0 run to close the second quarter and gave Modesto Christian a 30-27 lead at the break.

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