Palisades High girls basketball head coach Torino Johnson believes that to be the best you have to beat the best.
So he and the Dolphins were excited to play Santa Ana Mater Dei, one of the top-ranked teams in the nation, in the quarterfinals of the Palisades Beach Invitational on Wednesday night.
In the end, Mater Dei proved to be too tough and dealt the Dolphins their first defeat, 74-32.
“It’s not hard to get up for a team like Mater Dei,” Johnson said. “They’re as good a program as there is. I liked our effort and we’ll learn from this game like we do every game.”
The Dolphins were determined to make a game of it early. They took a 4-2 lead on Bianca King‘s layup and trailed only 17-10 after the first quarter. Then the Monarchs started to assert themselves in the post, led by Katie Lou Samuelson, who finished with 29 points and 19 rebounds. Mater Dei led 46-24 at halftime.
Mater Dei, which began the season ranked third in the country, outscored the Dolphins 18-1 in the third quarter and held Palisades to eight points in the second half. A running clock was used in the fourth quarter.
King led the way for the Dolphins with 13 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks, Hydeia Duronslet added nine points, four assists and three steals and Caytlnn Gorden had five points and five rebounds.
— Steve Galluzzo
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