Los Angeles Times

Foster propels Notre Dame to first state title

Senior guard scores 33, the best scoring effort in Division I state title history.

- By Eric Sondheimer

SACRAMENTO — When Caleb Foster goes into attack mode, get ready for super hero-like action moves. The Duke-bound senior guard from Sherman Oaks Notre Dame doesn’t care who’s in the way — he just scores and creates havoc.

At Friday night’s Division I state championsh­ip game at Golden 1 Center, Livermore Granada had 7-foot center Andrew McKeever. Foster’s driving helped send McKeever to the sideline with five fouls with 4:42 left, causing coach Matt Sargeant to shout “He’s out! He’s out!”

It was the last breath of life for Granada. Notre Dame’s fantastic trio of Foster, Gonzaga commit Dusty Stromer and Houston commit Mercy Miller was too much.

Foster’s offense propelled the Knights to their first state championsh­ip in school history, a 67-58 victory over Granada. The Knights led by as many as 16 points in the first half. Foster finished with 33 points, the best individual scoring performanc­e in Division I state championsh­ip history and left little doubt he’s worthy of All-American recognitio­n even if he was denied selection to the McDonald’s AllAmerica­n Game.

“He was excellent,” Sargeant said.

Miller started the game with a dunk and eight quick points. Foster ended the first quarter with a threepoint­er and seven points. Foster ended the half with 18 points.

Both players came from Mouth of Wilson (Va.) Oak Hill Academy. It took weeks for Notre Dame to develop the chemistry needed to win big games. Critical in the transition was Stromer accepting a lesser offensive role.

Stromer sat out his sophomore season, then developed into a standout player his junior year, averaging nearly 20 points a game.

On Friday, Stromer, the tallest Knight in a lineup of five guards, was asked at times to guard McKeever and focus on getting rebounds.

“It’s another example of his versatilit­y at both ends of the court,” Sargeant said.

With Stromer contributi­ng as a rebounder and defender, it freed the Dukebound Foster to ignite the offense. Foster scored 12 points in the first 10 minutes of the game.

Against Granada’s 2-3 zone, the Knights found an opening on the baseline, allowing Dante Ogbu to connect on a pair of threes. The Knights ended the half ahead 39-27.

Now it’s on to Gonzaga for Stromer and Duke for Foster. They’ve earned themselves a special place in Notre Dame’s sports history book.

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