Great piece by ESPN on Long Beach Poly, Mater Dei and Brea Olinda – three national high school basketball superpowers who are all very close to one another. The bottom line: Mater Dei and Brea ponder each other often, while Poly tries not to think about it all. An added dimension is a transfer, who played a prominent role in Brea’s win over Poly last weekend:
The rivalry added another dimension when Taylor Spears, a significant hit of speed in the backcourt, transferred mid-season from Mater Dei to Brea Olinda for what she says were “basketball and financial reasons.” Eligible to play for Brea this season, Spears says the rivalry looks dramatically different from each side.
“When I played at Mater Dei, we looked at Brea as a team we could beat easily,” Spears said. “Now that I’m at Brea, we know Mater Dei can beat us and we need to play as well as we can to have a chance. The girls here are not big-headed; I’ve not met one who is. It’s just a different group of girls here. They want to win, but they are not cocky. At Mater Dei, they are used to having success, expect it, and so there are some cocky girls there.”
But Mater Dei is still the favorite, with all the pressure that goes with it:
The fact that Mater Dei has been unable to shed the role of overwhelming favorite, in spite of the two losses to Brea, continues to weigh heavily on the Monarchs.
“We’ve been the greatest thing that’s happened to Brea,” Kiernan said. “They’ve been able to play the underdog role for the past three years because we’ve received a little more attention, media-wise. They’ve never been the underdog before. Brea has been the team everyone wants to beat, that everyone has feared or hated. It’s a tough position to be in. We’ve relieved them of that pressure. Jeff owes me.”
Sink readily concedes the point, saying, “We’ve played that to the hilt the last two years. I feel for them. Brea’s been amazing. We’ve been good for a long time, but I do like hiding in the woods. We can go into a game against Mater Dei and they will have a little more pressure on them because of who they are. I want them to be like Yoda on top of the mountain. We’ll be happy just to trek up the mountain and play with them.”