Mater Dei girls deliver passion, victory

SANTA ANA -- Mater Dei has won back-to-back Division I state championships in girls' basketball, and the Monarchs looked the part in the mid-stages of its first-round victory Tuesday against Burbank.

Mater Dei got 25 points from Nirra Fields and rolled to a 77-35 home victory over Burbank in the Southern California Regional Championships.

Burbank hung tough in the first quarter -- it trailed 16-9 -- before getting steamrolled.

Coach Kevin Kiernan said that his team's intensity picked up in the second quarter after a letdown following its emotional come-from-behind victory over Brea Olinda in the Southern Section Division 1AA championship.

At halftime, he said the coaching staff got on players about their lack of passion.

"Sometimes, these games are passionless," Kiernan said.

There was plenty of passion in the third quarter as Mater Die outscored Burbank, 33-4.

Mater Dei (30-3) opened 39-16 lead at halftime, and following its huge third quarter took a 72-20 lead into the fourth.

Burbank committed 11 turnovers in the third, most of caused by the quick hands of the Monarchs, and didn't score until 45 seconds remained.

The fourth quarter was played with a running clock, and Damarie Gonzalez scored seven of her team-high 10 points for Burbank.

Alexas Williamson scored 20 points for Mater Dei, which will play the winner of the Huntington Beach-San Diego contest.