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Posted On: 03/12/18 7:24 PM
SANTA ANA – Five observations from the State Southern Regional Open Division first-round game Friday night, won by L.A. City Open runner-up Fairfax over the host Mater Dei Monarchs, 50-47.
It was a stunner, for sure: The Monarchs were the No. 1 seed (and the Lions No. 8) and took a 12-game winning streak, as the Southern Section’s Open champion, into the Friday night contest:
*The Monarchs picked a bad night to turn in one of their worst shooting nights – if not the worst – of the season.
Leading scorers Spencer Freedman, Michael Wang and Harrison Butler were a combined 10 of 35 shooting from the field.
*Actually, the Lions didn’t particularly shoot well, either . . . that is, except for Jamal Hartwell (PICTURED).
The 5-foot-11 senior hit eight of 15 from the field – including five 3s – while finishing with a game-high 21 points.
None of those 3s was more important than the last of those, knocked in with 2:37 remaining after a nifty drive and dish from junior Robert McRae.
Hartwell has another chance to demonstrate that he’s one of the better unsigned senior guards in Southern California on Tuesday night when he and the Lions travel to Etiwanda for a Open semifinal.
*McRae and classmate Ethan Anderson didn’t jump shoot well for the Lions (McRae missed all five of his shots from the field, hitting four of six free throws, while Anderson two of 12 with both buckets 3s).
Both each rebounded and defended quite well – all things they will have to do if the Lions are to pull off a second consecutive upset of a Southern Section power Tuesday night.
*Six-six senior Kirkland Smith didn’t score much (eight points, three of four from the field with a 3 and one of two free throws) but was a steady and assertive force for Coach Steve Baik’s Lions with nine rebounds, a couple of blocks and quality low-post defense.
*Freedman’s likely replace at point guard next season for the Monarchs, freshman Devin Askew, came off the bench to make some big plays as they rallied from a 17-point deficit.
Askew hit a couple of 3s in the third quarter.