Mater Dei's performance this season had shown that it wasn't invincible, that a good opponent could hang with the Monarchs. On Friday, it showed that a good opponent could beat them.
Orange Lutheran scored a 59-56 victory over Mater Dei, the No. 1 ranked team in Orange County and No. 12 in the ESPN Rise national ranking. In winning, the fourth-ranked Lancers handed the perennial national power its first loss in Trinity League play -- ever.
OLu (13-4, 2-0) had never beaten Mater Dei (14-2, 1-1), but the Lancers were tied at halftime and after three quarters, and with a packed gymnasium behind them, James Douglas scored on a layup with 58 seconds remaining for a 57-56 lead.
Mater Dei had a clean opportunity to retake the lead, but freshman Stanley Johnson missed two free throws with 30 seconds left. They also got three more legitimate shot attempts, the last by Xavier Johnson, who scored 27; Lutheran junior Gabe York got the rebound and was fouled with two seconds left. York made two free throws to finish with 24 points.
York's performance was half of a great 1-2 punch to knock out Mater Dei. Douglas scored 25 as the two guards accounted for 49 of their team's 59 points.
According to the Orange County Register, it was Mater Dei's first league loss since Jan. 21, 2005 against Santa Margarita in the Serra League. The winning streak spanned 50 games. Lutheran joined Mater Dei in the Trinity League in 2006.
The only other team to beat Mater Dei this season was Elizabeth (NJ) St. Patrick's, the No. 2 team in the nation. However, the Monarchs had been pushed hard twice by Anaheim Canyon, which was ranked No. 3 in Orange County by ESPNLA. In fact, Canyon even led Mater Dei in the fourth quarter.
Lutheran, though, led at the end of the fourth.