Westminster High School has earned a berth in the Southern Section playoffs for the first time in 15 years, thanks in part to Eric Schurman and indirectly to Mater Dei.
Schurman, who transferred from Mater Dei after his sophomore season, has been the leading scorer for Westminster this season, averaging 17.7 points per game.
The senior forward had 28 points and 12 rebounds in Westminster's playoff-clinching victory Saturday against Huntington Beach at Ocean View. Shurman hit 10 of 15 field-goal attempts and 8 of 8 free throws in the 70-66 win. The game was a playoff to determine the Sunset League's third playoff representative. Last Friday, Schurman had 11 points and 7 rebounds in only two and one-half quarters play in Westminster's 95-53 loss to Ocean View. For his performance, Schurman was named Times' Player of the Week.
The 6-foot 4-inch Schurman, who played on Westminster's junior varsity last season, is the most experienced player on a varsity team that features three freshman starters.
"I've been guard since I started playing in the fifth grade," Schurman said. "But I'm the tallest player on the team, so they have me at forward. I'm used to shooting from the outside, as a guard, and I enjoy it. But now I'm playing forward and have begun to shoot more on the inside."
Schurman said he transferred from Mater Dei because he was not happy with his lack of playing time. He said the move was not difficult.
"I'm real happy here," Schurman said of Westminster. "I'm playing a lot more, and school-wise, with friends and classes, it's better for me. It was a good change."
Schurman said he dreads all his classes, but he has a 3.5 grade-point average. Last semester Schurman did even better, earning a 3.8 GPA.
"He's an excellent student and the team leader," assistant varsity Coach Frank Arguello said. "He's a very dedicated young man. Coach (Dick) Katz requires quite a few things from his players and Eric's withstood them all. In fact, Coach Katz has probably demanded more of Eric because he is such a fine player and he's dealt with that, too."
Last year, Schurman had to cope with the frustrations of playing on the junior varsity. Although Schurman said the JV team did well and Dick Sherrer was a good coach, Schurman said it wasn't easy to watch the varsity play.
"It was kind of frustrating," Schurman said. "I'd watch the games and see things and I knew I could help them, if I could play."
This season, Schurman had a chance to play, and now the Lions have a chance at the playoffs.