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JSerra boys basketball wins another playoff battle with Rolling Hills Prep

SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO – After eliminating Rolling Hills Prep in last season playoffs, the JSerra boys basketball team knew the Huskies would come back for revenge and they almost did Friday night.

After falling behind to start the game, the Lions pulled out a 48-45 victory in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 1 playoffs at JSerra.

The Lions (23-8) will play at Canyon on Tuesday in the quarterfinals. Canyon was a 73-64 winner over Crossroads on Friday.

Rolling Hills Prep (23-6), which lost to the Lions on the road in the second round of last season’s playoffs 72-44, got off to a quick start Friday thanks a 7-0 run that included two 3-pointers from Blake Yamada.

The Huskies continued with their 3-point attack, not scoring their first 2-point field goal until the third quarter.

“It was definitely frustrating,” JSerra senior Aiden Fowler said of the Huskies’ strong start. “We were down 7-0 in the beginning. Number two (Mateo Trujillo) was strapped tonight. We weren’t too worried about him in the scouting report, but we had to make an adjustment.”

Fowler kept the Lions in the game early, though they trailed by six at the end of the first quarter.

JSerra stormed back in the second quarter and tied the game at 27 at halftime thanks to Fowler, who finished with a game-high 23 points.

JSerra attempted to extend its lead in the third quarter, but the Huskies stayed with JSerra thanks to their 3-pointers and time management.

Rolling Hills Prep trailed by two points in the final 10 seconds, but Jordan Lee’s shot fell short and the Lions made a free throw to finish off the game.

JV Brown led the Huskies with 16 points and six rebounds while Yamada added 12 points and Trujillo scored 15 points.

The Huskies made only three 2-point field goals the entire game but made 12 3-point field goals.

“Two of their players (Trujillo and Yamada) are very good shooters,” JSerra coach Keith Wilkinson said. “They just hadn’t taken a lot of shots. We were on JV Brown, who is a heck of a shooter. Our goal was to take him out in the first half and we did a great job of that, but the other guys were hitting shots.

“In the second half, we had to get hands up on shooters, get both feet outside the 3-point line, make them put the ball on the floor and trust the help behind you.”

Sebastian Rancik, who is on the 18-U Slovania National Team, scored 12 points for the Lions.

Everett Bryson scored four points to go with his seven rebounds, six assists and four steals for JSerra

“We’ll have to watch film on them,” Rancik said of Canyon. “Our coaches will come up with a great game plan. I’ll watch film and come up with something in the next couple of days.”


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