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December 23, 2012

Mater Dei takes home inaugural Tarkanian Classic title

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LAS VEGAS - It was obvious from the outset that the inaugural Jerry Tarkanian Classic tournament was set up for Santa Ana (Calif.) Mater Dei and Las Vegas (Nev.) Bishop Gorman to meet in the championship game.

Well, everybody got an early Christmas gift - or so they thought.

The Monarchs and the Gaels did, in fact, meet in the title game, but it wasn't the hard-fought, close game that was expected.

Mater Dei remained undefeated and will go down in the books as the fist champion of the Tarkanian Classic thanks to a 76-60 blowout of Bishop Gorman.

The Monarchs were led by 23 points and 13 rebounds from five-star, class of 2014 and tournament MVP Stanley Johnson. Three-star, class of 2013 guard Elijah Brown pitched in 22 points of his own.

Mater Dei jumped out to a 14-0 lead over a Gorman team that looked over matched through the first six minutes of the contest.

Gorman was able to bounce back, however, cutting the Monarch lead to just six, 29-23, with two minutes left in the first half.

Johnson took all of the air out of the building, though, as he banked in a 3-pointer as time expired in the first half, giving Mater Dei a 35-23 edge at halftime.

The second half was more of the same, as Mater Dei opened the second half with a 17-4 run that closed out any hopes of a Gorman comeback.

Mater Dei held five-star, class of 2015 recruit Stephen Zimmerman to just seven points for the game. Trey Kennedy led the Gaels with 15 points, while three-star, class of 2013 guard Rashad Muhammad added 10 points.

Morgan Park 79, Our Savior New American 63

Chicago (Ill.) Morgan Park defeated Centereach (N.Y.) Our Savior New American, 79-63, behind 18 points from DePaul-bound Billy Garrett Jr., but the talk of the tournament was the tall, long and youthful frontline of Our Savior.

Four-star, class of 2015 forward Cheick Diallo was a player who seemed to improve over each game of the Tarkanian Classic. In the loss to Morgan Park, Diallo put up 17 points, eight rebounds, five blocked shots and three assists.

Six-foot-seven freshman springboard Kassoum Yakwe scored 11 points with nine rebounds, including a pair of put-back dunks that had the crowd buzzing.

Maybe the most complete player of the three Our Savior big men was junior Michael Nzei. Nzei scored 21 points for the Pioneers, and showed that he can score in the post and hit the mid-range jumper.

Bishop O'Dowd 59, Pinnacle 46

Five-star, class of 2015 forward Ivan Rabb led Oakland (Calif.) Bishop O'Dowd to a fifth-place finish at the Tarkanian Classic with a 22-point, seven-rebound performance.

The Dragons defeated Phoenix (Ariz.) Pinnacle, 59-46, Saturday afternoon, and after the game Rabb was named to the All-Tournament team.

O'Dowd took advantage of early foul trouble that plagued four-star, class of 2014 recruit Dorian Pickens of Pinnacle, jumping out to a 30-22 lead at the break.

Rabb had his post game going early and often to the tune of 14 first-half points.

The 6-foot-9 forward showed a plethora of post moves and attacked the basket every time he was in the paint, as he made it a point to expose the size differential between himself and whomever was attempting to defend him.

Rabb added two blocked shots and a handful of strong finishes at the rim.

Pickens was held scoreless in the first half, but mainly because he was on the bench for most of it as a result of foul trouble.

The 6-foot-5 guard was able to stay on the floor in the second half, scoring seven points.

Devin UglandDevin Ugland
GOAZCATS.com West Coast recruiting analyst

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