SANTA ANA, Calif — Those who left the Meruelo Athletic Center after Mater Dei defeated Phoenix Shadow Mountain, 79-72, in the final game of the first day of the 21st annual Nike Extravaganza will probably hear the sound of whistles in their sleep.
The three-man referee crew muddied up an otherwise intriguing game between two teams with contrasting styles by ringing the two sides up for a combined 53 fouls in a 32 minute contest.
Shadow Mountain coach Mike Bibby, yes, the former University of Arizona and Sacramento Kings star, hastily paced the sideline and then looked visibly sick as he saw an early first quarter lead go by the wayside as his Matadors reached the double bonus threshold before the end of the first quarter.
Mater Dei led, 14-13, after one quarter despite 11 points from Michael Bibby through the first eight minutes of play.
The action started flowing a little bit better in the second as Shadow Mountain opened on a 7-0 run to take a 20-14 lead at the 6:46 mark of the quarter.
A 4-point play from Matadors’ guard Bryce Fisher at the 4:50 mark gave Shadow Mountain a 26-19 lead.
That’s when things began to get chippy.
Mater Dei’s Bailey Stout and Shadow Mountain’s Bibby got into a grappling match on the ground that resulted in a foul on Stout.
Shadow Mountain’s J.J. Rhymes was then whistled for a technical foul after he shoved Mater Dei forward Harrison Butler as he was checking out between free throws.
Monarchs’ point guard Spencer Freedman made both technical free throws, giving Mater Dei a 41-35 lead with under 30 seconds to play.
The Monarchs closed out the half with a bucket, taking a 43-36 lead into the break.
Mater Dei took control in the third with a more focused defensive effort.
After conceding 15 first half points to Bibby, the Monarchs were able to hold him scoreless in the third quarter while limiting Shadow Mountain to just seven points as a team in the period.
Freedman’s third 3-pointer of the game, which came late in the third, gave Mater Dei a 54-40 advantage and Reagan Lundeen’s baseline dunk helped the Monarchs take a 56-43 lead into the fourth.
The Freedman-to-M.J. Cage connection was in full effect during the final eight minutes.
An alley-oop from the sophomore to the senior gave the Monarchs a 65-52 lead with just over five minutes to play and a similar play followed minutes later making it a 69-55 Monarchs’ lead at the 4:19 mark of the period.
Mater Dei cruised to its 22nd win of the season from that point forward.
Cage led the Monarchs with 22 points and eight rebounds. Freedman had 19 points with five assists. Butler added 10 points and six rebounds, while Justice Sueing chipped in nine points and six rebounds.
Shadow Mountain’s Rhymes led all scorers with 23. Bibby finished with 20.
In the other Nike Extravaganza games:
Bellflower St. John Bosco 50, Sun Valley Village Christian 47
Junior shooting guard J.J. Watson paced the Braves’ winning effort with 19 points, while Eduardo Dalla Torre recorded a double-double scoring 12 points with 12 rebounds.
Isaac Etter led Village Christian with 10 points. Josh Caston scored all eight of his points in the first few minutes of the contest.
The Crusaders had a pair of underclassmen who might’ve been the most intriguing young prospects of the evening.
Six-foot-4 freshman forward Elijah Scranton is a fluid athlete who plays with an endless motor. He finished with seven points and seven rebounds.
Seven-foot-1 sophomore center Majur Majak is still very raw in every sense of the word, but he showed flashes quality play, especially on the defensive end.. Majak scored seven points to go along with seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
San Juan Capistrano JSerra 83, L.A. Windward 58
Alec Hickman, a 6-foot-4 shooting guard committed to Cal, scored a game-high 27 points, while 6-foot-7 junior forward Sebastian Much dropped 24 points with 14 rebounds in the Lions rout of Windward.
Six-foot-5 sophomore Jules Bernard paced Windward with 25 points and 20 rebounds. The next highest scorer for the Wildcats, who were without starters Shareef O’Neal and Jalen Harris, was Payton Moore with nine points.