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Mater Dei basketball surges past No. 3 JSerra in second half of Trinity League opener

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO — Mater Dei continued its mastery of JSerra in Trinity League boys basketball with a 66-52 win Wednesday at JSerra High.

The Monarchs have not lost to the Lions since the Trinity League was formed for the 2006-07 school year, 16 seasons ago.

Mater Dei forward Zack Davidson, left, gets around JSerra guard Jel Malek, right, to score a basket in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

JSerra guard Aidan Fowler, center, takes a jump shot against...

JSerra guard Aidan Fowler, center, takes a jump shot against Mater Dei in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

JSerra guard Sebastian Rancik, left, blocks an attempted slam by...

JSerra guard Sebastian Rancik, left, blocks an attempted slam by Mater Dei forward Zack Davidson, right, in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei forward Zack Davidson, right, protects the ball from...

Mater Dei forward Zack Davidson, right, protects the ball from JSerra players as he looks to pass to a teammate in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

JSerra guard Sebastian Rancik, center, pulls down a rebound between...

JSerra guard Sebastian Rancik, center, pulls down a rebound between Mater Dei guard Owen Verna, left, and forward Blake Davidson, right, in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

JSerra guard Aidan Fowler, left, muscles his way out of...

JSerra guard Aidan Fowler, left, muscles his way out of a jam created by Mater Dei forward Che Brogan, left, and forward Blake Davidson, center, in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei guard Luke Barnett, center, moves between JSerra guard...

Mater Dei guard Luke Barnett, center, moves between JSerra guard Jel Malek, left, and forward Jake Stafford, right, as he tries to intercept a pass in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei forward Blake Davidson, left, grabs a rebound in...

Mater Dei forward Blake Davidson, left, grabs a rebound in front of JSerra guard Jel Malek, right, in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight signals to his players during...

Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight signals to his players during a Trinity League basketball game against JSerra in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

JSerra coach Keith Wilkinson directs his players during a Trinity...

JSerra coach Keith Wilkinson directs his players during a Trinity League basketball game against Mater Dei in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei forward Che Brogan, right, takes a jump shot...

Mater Dei forward Che Brogan, right, takes a jump shot over JSerra guard Everett Bryson, left, in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei forward Che Brogan, left, puts up a shot...

Mater Dei forward Che Brogan, left, puts up a shot in front of JSerra guard Korin Hull, right, in a Trinity League basketball game in San Juan Capistrano on Wednesday, January 4, 2023. (Photo by Paul Rodriguez, Contributing Photographer)

Mater Dei senior Zack Davidson, a 6-foot-8 forward, scored 25 points with added 11 rebounds in the Trinity League opener for both teams. Freshman Che Brogan, son of Mater Dei all-time great Tom Lewis, scored 14 points with six rebounds. Blake Davidson, a sophomore and the younger brother of Zack Davidson, scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Zack Davidson was 12 of 13 at the free-throw line. Brogan made 10 of his 12 free throws. The Monarchs were 30 of 35 at the line while JSerra shot only eight free throws and made five of them.

JSerra (13-4 overall), ranked No. 3 in the Orange County Top 25, led for most of the first half against No. 1 Mater Dei (13-2).

The Lions went on an 11-0 run to take a 13-6 lead in the first quarter and carried a 15-12 edge into the second quarter. They had a 31-28 lead at halftime.

In the third quarter, when Brogan scored eight points and Zack Davidson scored seven, the Monarchs built a 47-43 lead.

Mater Dei scored the first nine points of the fourth quarter, including a Brady Karich 3-pointer, and quickly it was 56-43. JSerra missed its first nine shots of the final quarter.

Zack Davidson, who signed with the University of Montana, went into Wednesday’s game averaging 21 points and eight rebounds. Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight praised Davidson’s offensive versatility.

“He can go inside, he can go outside,” McKnight said. “Montana got a real good player in him.”

Mater Dei senior forward Zack Davidson scored 25 points with 11 rebounds in the Monarchs
66-52 win over JSerra… ⁦@ocvarsityguy⁩ ⁦@ocvarsity⁩ pic.twitter.com/LjE4Tc3n3v

— Steve Fryer (@SteveFryer) January 5, 2023

Junior guard Aidan Fowler led JSerra with 19 points including three 3-pointers. Sebastian Rancik scored 11 points before fouling out early in the fourth quarter.

The Trinity League is known for excellence in a variety of sports, and the six-team group’s boys basketball teams are living up to the reputation. They were a combined 72-19 going into Wednesday’s league openers.

“Any time you win a game on the road in this league it’s good,” said McKnight, who picked up his 1,237th career victory Wednesday.

Zack Davidson was pleased with the Monarchs’ effort.

“We play hard,” he said. “I can’t say enough great things about this team. If one person struggles in one spot, another person excels in that and I think that’s what make us great.”

Neither team shot well. Mater Dei was 17 of 46 on all shots for 37 percent and was 2 for 13 on 3-point attempts. JSerra was 21 of 54 from the field for 39 percent and was 5 of 20 on 3-pointers.

Mater Dei plays a league home game Friday against St. John Bosco. JSerra plays at county No. 2 Santa Margarita on Friday in a league game.



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