Mater Dei Boards Up the Lancers Dreams
By Andrew Smith
Linda Vista (3/7/2014) — Before Francis Parker even stepped onto the floor at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion, they talked all week about it being an uphill battle against a much bigger Mater Dei Catholic team.
“We knew we were going to struggle on the boards with their big front-line,” said Parker head coach JIM TOMEY. “Sure we have 6-foot-10 EVAN FITZNER, but other than that we have a bunch of small guys running around out there.”
When it came down to it, the rebounding wasn’t as big a factor as they thought. Sure they were out-rebounded 47-33, but the Lancers held the taller Crusaders to thirty five percent from the field, but they went 15-of-51 (29%) themselves, costing them to falter 55-46 in the San Diego Section C.I.F. Division II championship game.
Year after year you see the surroundings of a bigger environment hurt teams that rely on outside shots. They play all their games in a similar sized high school gyms, but then in the finals – in a much bigger arena – everyone is either overwhelmed or forgets how to shoot.
Case in point…of the games combined 101 points, 46 were scored in the paint and 35 were tallied at the charity stripe. So only 20 were mid to long-range shots and Fitzner was the only one to connect from behind the arch. He did so twice and everyone else combined to go 0-for-24.
Mater Dei built a 31-22 halftime lead with 10 offensive rebounds that led to 17 second-chance points.
Parker came out of the locker room and made it a 33-29 game midway through the third quarter, but wouldn’t score again over a seven minute stretch as the Crusaders pushed to an 18-point lead.
“Give them all the credit,” said KHALEEL JENKINS after scoring 12 points. “They out-played us for a full four quarters.”
Fitzner ended with a game-high 16 points. He also had 8 rebounds, 3 blocks and a steal, but even after winning his competition praised his game afterward.
“I knew he was a great, versatile player,” Mater Dei’s Robert Harris admitted. “He can shoot and guard you so I just wanted to contain him down low like our coaches talked about all week. Then if he caught fire from the outside we would adjust accordingly.”
Francis Parker: Evan Fitzner 16 (8 reb, 3 blk, 1 stl), Khaleel Jenkins 12 (4 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl), Andrew Cross 9 (4 reb, 2 stl), Michael Pelaiz (5 reb, 2 ast), Tim Harrison 2 (3 reb), Paulo Cruz (2 reb, 1 ast)
Mater Dei: Jaylen Hands 16 (6 reb, 1 ast, 1 stl), Robert Harris 13 (15 reb, 1 blk, 1 stl), Israel Seales 11 (5 reb, 3 blk, 1 stl), Johnathan Dutra 8 (3 reb, 2 ast, 2 stl), Iman Chatman 7 (5 reb, 1 ast, 3 stl), Spencer Vering (2 reb), Sebastian Kelley (2 reb)