- Mindi Rice
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CHANDLER, Ariz. -- After a teammate's little brother spoiled the surprise of one target for Stephanie Holzer on Saturday, Regis Jesuit almost spoiled the other target.
But Holzer, the confident 6-foot-4 senior center headed for Vanderbilt, wasn't going to let Regis spoil either of Cardinal O'Hara's missions for the day.
With her 19th point of her game-high 21, Holzer hit 1,000 career points and, despite fouling out late, was a major force behind O'Hara's 53-49 semifinal victory, which advanced them to Monday's championship in the Nike Tournament of Champions' Joe Smith Division.
The Lions will face Bolingbrook, which defeated Oak Ridge, 62-50, at 4:30 p.m. Monday.
"She's just a tremendous player," O'Hara coach Linus McGinty said of Holzer. "She plays her (butt) off. She has as much heart as any kid we've ever had here, sometimes too much."
Holzer reached the 1,000-point milestone after missing her freshman season with an injury and making it back just in time for her sophomore season.
Senior Alysha Womack added 13 points for the Lions. Senior point guard Mariah Williams led Regis with 15 points, while seniors T'Keyah Shealy (13) and Meghan Winters (12) also scored in double figures.
The Raiders outscored Cardinal O'Hara 17-10 during the final eight minutes, but the damage of a 15-6 first quarter and a 17-11 third was too much to overcome.
"We just really needed to come out with a sense of urgency and a higher level of intensity," Williams said. "It's just another learning process today, to come out with … that in the first quarter as you would in the fourth quarter."
For the other semifinalists, it was a tale of two halves -- had the game been just the first half, Oak Ridge would have walked with a 12-point win. However, Bolingbrook turned it up after halftime, outscoring the Wildcats 44-20 in the second half spurred by an 11-0 run to open the third quarter.
"A run like that was our goal coming out of halftime," Bolingbrook's sophomore point guard Ariel Massengale said. "We had to shut them down defensively and not let them score."
Freshman Morgan Tuck again played with plenty of poise despite a few bumps. After picking up her fourth foul with 31.4 seconds remaining in the third quarter, she played nearly the entire remaining minutes without fouling out.
"(Tuck and Massengale) don't play their age," Oak Ridge coach Jill Prudden said. "They play beyond their years, that's for sure. They never quit, they never laid down."
Tuck finished with 20 to lead the Raiders, but Massengale was the real force behind the comeback. She scored 12 of her 14 points in the second half while committing few turnovers.
Senior Satavia Taylor also scored 14 for Bolingbrook. For Oak Ridge, senior Kierra Johnson had 12 and junior Jazzmin Hazzard added 11 to lead the Wildcats.
Regis Jesuit and Oak Ridge face off for third place at 3 p.m. Monday.
Mater Dei to Title Game
News Flash No. 1: Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis scored "only" 10 points.
News Flash No. 2: Mater Dei still continued its dominance of the power-packed Mike Desper Division, plowing through Centennial of Las Vegas 78-46 to advance to the championship game.
Under ordinary conditions, the No. 34 Monarchs, from Santa Ana, Calif., would be meeting No. 18 Archbishop Carroll in the final as the Patriots 3-pointed Bishop Gorman into submission, 72-61, in the other semifinal. However, with Sunday as an off day for the tournament, Carroll elected not to stay for Monday's championship. Bishop Gorman will play Mater Dei instead.
The way Mater Dei is rolling, it may not matter whom it plays. Centennial had upset the pre-tournament favorites, No. 20 Oak Hill of Mouth of Wilson, Va., but was no match for Mater Dei's turnover-inducing defense and spread-the-wealth, uptempo attack. Kathryn Haugen, one of just four seniors on the Monarchs' 17-player roster, drilled five 3-pointers and led Mater Dei with 16 points.
Lewis had 40 points during the Monarchs' opening day victory over St. Mary's of Phoenix, another 34 during three quarters against No. 40 Highlands Ranch, but mostly played the role of "decoy" against Centennial, according to Mater Dei coach Kevin Kiernan.
With junior Erin Shields, a St. Joseph's commit, slinging in four 3-pointers in the first quarter, and Drexel-bound Holly Mershon sinking three in the second, Archbishop Carroll buried Bishop Gorman under a hail of 12 shots from beyond the arc. Shields finished with 24 points and Kaitlin Cole had 21 to offset another superb outing by Gorman's Aaryn Ellenberg, who had 24.
Shields, whose sister Kerri is the Patriots' senior point guard, also had four threes during the third quarter the day before to rally Archbishop Carroll against St. John's College of Washington, D.C.
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Mindi Rice is a staff writer for ESPN HoopGurlz. She previously was an award-winning sportswriter at the Tacoma News Tribune and a barista at Starbucks, and grew up in Seattle, where she attended Roosevelt High School before graduating from the University of Oregon with a degree in journalism. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Glenn Nelson is a senior writer at ESPN.com and the founder of HoopGurlz.com. A member of the McDonald's All-American and Parade All-American Selection Committees, he formerly coached girls club basketball, was the editor-in-chief of an online sports network, and was a longtime, national-award-winning newspaper columnist and writer. He can be reached at email@example.com.
With the semifinal round complete Bolingbrook and Cardinal O'Hara prepare to play for the championship.