Two more wins and the Chatsworth Sierra Canyon girls’ basketball team celebrates perfection well into the night.
“National championship” is what Santa Ana Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan predicts after Sierra Canyon dispatched the Monarchs 59-47 on Saturday to improve to 31-0 and advance to Tuesday’s Southern California Regional Open Division championship game at home against the winner of Etiwanda and La Jolla Country day.
“I don’t mean to curse them,” Kiernan said, “but they’ve done a really good job going all over the country and playing everyone. They won’t get upset.”
Mater Dei (29-4) was able to turn up the pressure in the second half after trailing by 19 points at half-time to get close to 11 points. Juju Watkins & Co. stepped forward when needed for the Trailblazers. Watkins finished with 26 points and Izela Arenas made a critical 3-pointer in the fourth quarter to derail Mater Dei’s comeback hopes.
Mackenly Randolph added 13 points for Sierra Canyon, who need one more win to earn a trip to Sacramento’s Golden 1 Center to play for a second consecutive state championship on March 11.
Kiernan coached Sierra Canyon coach Alicia Komaki when she played with Fullerton Troy. Komaki became an assistant under Kiernan, the winningest girls’ coach in California history. Now Komaki has the Trailblazers ready to make history. She appreciated the challenge Mater Dei offered.
“You should be able to be challenged in the Open Division,” she said. “We want to be challenged. We want to see the best of everyone.”
Mater Dei’s future should be bright as freshman Kael Wynn provided a lift by hitting three 3-pointers.