St. John Bosco basketball stunned by Mater Dei at Crypto.com Arena – Orange County Register

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LOS ANGELES — St. John Bosco basketball was shocked by its performance in an 83-62 blowout loss against Mater Dei Saturday in the Coastal Catholic Classic at Crypto.com Arena.

The game was the first Trinity League loss for the Braves (15-3, 2-1), who are the defending league champions. St. John Bosco beat Mater Dei twice last season and ended its streak of 34 consecutive league championships.

“I’m shocked to have that kind of performance on a stage like this,” St. John Bosco coach Matt Dunn said. “We lack an identity. We have a lot of players who right now aren’t doing enough to affect the game.”

Mater Dei (17-1, 3-0) led by 9 points at halftime and kept the Braves within six points for the remainder of the game. The 21-point margin of victory was the most for a game between the two teams since 2012.

The Monarchs, who are now tied with Santa Margarita for first place in the Trinity League, dominated the game inside, scoring 48 points in the paint compared to 32 for St. John Bosco. Mater Dei also had 38 rebounds compared to 22 for the Braves.

“Toughness,” Dunn said when asked for the reason Mater Dei was so effective in the paint. “We showed up to the park and ran into grown men and they just shoved us out of the way. 38 to 22 in rebounds is embarrassing.”

Brandon McCoy Jr. had a game-high 23 points for the Braves. The sophomore also led the team in rebounds with six and blocks with two.

Junior forward Kade Bonam had 12 points and made all four of his field goal attempts. Bonam led the Braves defensive effort with three steals.

Junior guard Elzie Harrington and senior guard Jack Turner each added 10 points for St. John Bosco.

Mater Dei had four players score in double-figures. Sophomore Brannon Martinsen led the Monarchs with 19 points.

The most impressive performance came from Brandon Benjamin, a senior transfer from Canyon High in Anaheim. Benjamin had 18 points and made 9 of 10 field goal attempts. All of Benjamin’s points came in the paint.

Sophomore Luke Barnett scored 16 points and made a game-high four 3-pointers. Owen Verna added 15 points.

Mater Dei shot 41 percent from 3-point range and St. John Bosco shot 24 percent. The Monarchs also had 18 assists compared to just 9 for the Braves.

Dunn was disappointed in his team’s effort Saturday but also praised Mater Dei for its performance.

“They know exactly who they are and what they are trying to accomplish every possession,” Dunn said. “I’ve always known that if we don’t play as hard as we can play, we cannot beat them.

“They have a nice identity and obviously they are a lot better than we are right now.”

St. John Bosco head coach Matt Dunn gathers his players during half-time against Mater Dei in the Coastal Catholic Classic at Crypto.com Arena, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker, contributing photographer)
St. John Bosco head coach Matt Dunn gathers his players during half-time against Mater Dei in the Coastal Catholic Classic at Crypto.com Arena, Saturday, Jan. 6, 2024. (Photo by Michael Owen Baker, contributing photographer)

Both teams played their third game in four days. St. John Bosco had wins over JSerra and Servite on Wednesday and Friday, respectively. Mater Dei beat Orange Lutheran and JSerra on the same days.

St. John Bosco will play a league game at Santa Margarita on Tuesday before traveling to Springfield, Missouri for the Bass Pro Shops Tournament of Champions.

Mater Dei has won 10 consecutive games and will play at Servite on Tuesday.





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