Mater Dei opened its new $18 million basketball arena and aquatic center on Friday night and at the same time showcased arguably its best player ever, Taylor King, who poured in 33 points in a 79-48 conquest of Orange Lutheran.
Playing what actually was his first home game in a stellar 4-year career at Mater Dei, King lived up to his reviews, helping Mater Dei (18-1, 3-0) to a 21-9 lead by scoring 13 points in the first quarter of the Trinity League game.
The Knights have played home games in numerous local venues the past four years.
The 6-foot-8 off guard looked like he could start for Duke next week, but will have to wait until next season when he most likely will start for the Blue Devils.
pulled down nine rebounds, scored inside and from beyond the arc, made 5 of 6
free throws, played good defense and hustled throughout. He could not make the
medium range jump shot. At first site, the all-time
He got better as the game progressed, scoring 10 points with three assists in the fourth quarter, often making the undersized Lancers look horribly mismatched.
Orange Lutheran (7-10, 0-3) got its only lead when Aaron Corp launched a 3-pointer in the first minute of the game. Corp was playing in just his fifth game, after quarterbacking the Lancers to a state football title. Corp finished with seven points and five rebounds, but was slowed to a trot midway through the third quarter.
Two other grid stars, Austin Pettis with 16 points and 240 pound offensive tackle George Peniche added 12 hard earned points, to lead the Lancers.
Orange Lutheran could make only 2-of-12 from behind the arc and committed 21 turnovers, most of which were converted into Mater Dei quick scores.
The Knights connected on 4-of-9, 3-point attempts with King and Travis Wear getting two each. Mater Dei pulled down nearly every Lancer miss, and in some points of the game Mater Dei coach Gary McKnight featured a line-up that averaged 6-foot-9.
Mater Dei got 10 and 15 points from 6-9 sophomore twins, David and Travis Wear.
The Knights next face Servite and JSerra in consecutive Trinity League games, followed by a trip to Duke University where the Knights will play national power Oak Hill Academy of Virginia on Jan. 30 at Durham in Cameron Hall.
Dei and its new 16,000 square feet, 3,200 seat gym will get national television
exposure on Feb. 2, when the Knights will play Lake Oswego High
Dei is the defending large schools CIF-SS champion, but has been unsuccessful in
securing a state title during King's career. "That's the only thing left," said
King. "A state championship."