Mater Dei may show that it's vulnerable and not quite the team it was last year, but the Monarchs managed to remained unbeaten in Orange County Wednesday by scoring a 69-48 victory over Foothill in a semifinal from the Orange Holiday Classic.
Mater Dei, ranked No. 1 in OC by ESPNLA, got 17 points from Xavier Johnson and was aided by No. 5 Foothill's 38 percent shooting performance.
It now sets up one of the most intriguing games of the tournament season.
Mater Dei (12-1) will play play No. 3 Anaheim Canyon (12-1) in the championship game scheduled for tonight, 8:30 p.m., at Chapman University. The teams met in the Loara tournament finals and Canyon led after one quarter and was tied, 24-24, at halftime before Mater Dei pulled away for a 73-64 victory. In that game, Johnson scored 40 and the Monarchs outscored Canyon, 24-16, in the third quarter to provide all but one point of the difference.
Something similar took place against Foothill, as Mater Dei outscored Foothill (10-3) in the second quarter by 15 points to provide the bulk of the margin of victory.
Canyon reached the Holiday Classic final with a 69-61 victory over Carmichael Jesuit as JoJo Ballestero scored 25 points.
ESTANCIA COAST CLASSIC
Second-ranked Mission Viejo (13-0) and No. 7 Aliso Niguel (13-0) will face each other at 8 p.m. at Estancia High in the finals of the Coast Classic.
Aliso continued to storm through the tournament with a victory over Mercer Island, Wash., 71-44, as Bryan Fisher and Scott Lynds scored 18 points apiece.
Mission Viejo defeated Corona, 60-50, behind Isaac Neilson, a 6-10 center who scored a season-high 29 points; he also had 11 rebounds and seven blocked shots.