Mater Dei entered the game with the state's No. 2 ranking and was No. 14 in the Student Sports FAB 50, but those rankings were based as much on the Monarchs' past (which includes last year's Div. I state championship) as on what they have coming back.
Brisman, a senior reserve forward for Centennial, was fouled on a put back attempt after guard J.R. Reese, who scored a game high 22 points and was MVP of the tournament, missed a driving shot in the lane. Brisman told the Los Angeles Times, "I was nervous, but it was just like in practice. I knew I had to knock them down."
Brisman, who did not play in last season's Southern Section Division I-A title game between the Monarchs and Huskies, should get more playing time this year for Centennial, which has only two starters returning but improved to 5-0 in winning one of the best tourneys in Southern California.
Mater Dei is playing the early part of the season without 6-8 Harrison Schaen, one of the top juniors in the state, who is rehabbing a knee injury. But the Monarchs also have several transfers picking up the slack. Their leading scorer vs. Centennial was Chaminade transfer Marcel Jones, who had 19 points.
One of Centennial's other top players, 6-9 senior Lance Soderberg, is a former player for Mater Dei.
The Narbonne girls of Harbor City, No. 1 in the state and in the Student Sports FAB 50, was bounced off its perch by Our Lady of Lourdes of Poughkeepsie, N.Y. Narbonne made the trek to the Westchester County Center in New York as a tuneup for this week's Nike Tournament of Champions in Phoenix. It now appears, though, that the Gauchos will need to win the tourney if they hope to contend for No. 1 national honors this year.
Our Lady of Lourdes was No. 6 in the Student Sports FAB 50 and is returning three top players off a team that finished 28-1 last year, so beating Narbonne cannot be considered a shock. Senior Jenna Viani, one of the top players in the East, was the Warriors' leading scorer with 24 points.
Willnett Crockett had 15 points and 13 rebounds to lead Narbonne, which led by eight points at the start of the fourth quarter but couldn't stop Viani, who scored eight points in the quarter to spark a big comeback.
Narbonne's loss also might not be that surprising to those who witnessed the Gauchos win last week by just six over San Clemente and by eight over Artesia in a game Artesia led by one point with less than two minutes left.