2011-12 CRC Tournament >> Results Press Coverage
By Kurt Stubbs
Cancer Research Classic
WHEELING, W.Va., Jan. 7, 2012 -- In a game featuring several big time performances and crucial plays, in the end, it was St. Bernard upsetting California's No. 1 ranked squad (Mater Dei), 76-73 in an overtime thriller.
This is arguably the best game the CRC has ever been host to, and it wasn't even the feature contest. It may not have been the marquee match up, but it certainly turned into it.
St. Bernard used four first quarter three-point field goals and four inside baskets from Bucknell signee Dominic Hoffman to open up a 22-16 lead after eight minutes of play. Guard Alex Mitola cashed in two rainbow triples and junior guard Jaren Sina added two as well.
Hoffman was huge all day battling Mater Dei's bigger front line, while Mitola would knock down several big shots and Sina handled the California-based school's pressure with the greatest of ease.
6-7 Colorado signee Xavier Johnson helped keep Mater Dei in the game with eight first quarter points. The Monarchs hit three treys of their own including two from Johnson and junior guard Elijah Brown add another.
The Monarchs (13-2) got things rolling in the second quarter using a 16-6 advantage to take a 32-28 halftime lead over the upset-minded Knights.
The third quarter was a wash with each team scoring 16 points and Mater Dei clinging to a 48-44 lead, which would set up a dramatic fourth quarter.
St. Bernard took command of the fourth quarter thanks to four more bonus bombs. Mitola chalked up two more, Sina added another, and Larry Piretra dropped one home. Though, UNLV-bound Katin Reinhardt did his best keep the Monarchs hanging around. Reinhardt scored nine points in the quarter.
The Knights led by seven points with a little over two minutes showing on the clock when the Monarchs began a furious rally, which ended in a Reinhardt game-knotting triple with 18.5 seconds to go forcing overtime.
St. Bernard showed great resiliancy in the OT when Jon Schreer cashed in a three-point shot to start the overtime and the Knights led the rest of the way. The Knights spread the floor and Sina put on a dribbling clinic to run out the clock. St. Bernard's execution and spacing was a thing of beauty.
Hoffman, who was awarded game MVP, scored 24 points, snared 13 boards, and blocked five shots in a terrific effort. Mitola netted 20 points including five bonus goals. Sina, who recently de-committed from Alabama, tallied 19 points and a game-high 10 assists.
Xavier Johnson led the Monarchs with 24 points and 14 rebounds. Reinhardt added 21 points and Stanley Johnson was good for 20. Mater Dei got just eight points from the rest of the team.