Playoff Preview: Girls’ basketball vs. Mater Dei

Adam Yu

The varsity girls’ basketball team is the 6-seed in the CIF-SS Open Division tournament, and will host 11-seed Mater Dei in the opening round on Saturday. The winners of this game and the Windward-Lakeside matchup will meet in the quarterfinals, while the losers will face each other in the consolation bracket.

Saturday will mark the second meeting between the Wolverines and the Monarchs this season; the previous affair took place on Dec. 2 in the semifinals of the Battle at the Beach tournament at Redondo Union High School. The Wolverines won that game, 53-25.

Both teams qualified for Open Division last year, the Wolverines as a 13-seed, the Monarchs a 6-seed, and both team crashed out of the tournament after losing their first two games, placing them in Division 2 for the state tournament.

Harvard-Westlake defeated both Carson and West Torrance by scores of 79-51 and 57-38, respectively, before losing in the quarterfinals to eventual champions Cajon by a score of 70-64. Mater Dei advanced all the way to the semifinals before also being knocked out by Cajon, 51-30.

Jayla Ruffus-Milner ’18 leads the Wolverines in scoring, rebounding, assists and blocks. Her twin sister, Jayda Ruffus-Milner ’18, leads the team in steals per game. The Wolverines average 49.5 points per game, 29.3 rebounds per game and 3.9 blocks per game.

The Mater Dei Monarchs finished their season strongly with five straight wins, averaging 66.8 points per game.

Nationally, the Wolverines are ranked 19th by MaxPreps, and sixth in the state. They finished the regular season with a 22-3 overall record and a 6-2 league record.  MaxPreps ranks the Monarchs 43rd in the nation and 12th in the state. They went 7-0 in the Trinity League and 20-6 overall.

By qualifying for Open Division sectionally, both teams are guaranteed to qualify for a state tournament. According to the CIF-SS’ playoff bulletin, teams who advance to the semifinals will qualify for the CIF State Open Division. The eight teams who win only one of their first two games will represent the Southern Section in the CIF State Division 1 tournament. The four teams who lose their first two games will participate in the CIF State Division 2 tournament.