The Serra High School basketball team, champion of the Camino Real League, defeated Westminster, 95-72, in the first round of the Southern Section 5-A playoffs Saturday at Serra.
Westminster (8-15), the Sunset League's third-place representative, made its first playoff appearance in 15 years. Despite their attempts to keep pace with the fast-breaking Cavaliers, Westminster had 30 turnovers to the Cavaliers' 17. Westminster was eventually outmatched in rebounding.
The lead changed hands frequently in the first quarter as Serra (20-5) shot inaccurately. But the Cavaliers warmed up in the second quarter to outscore the Lions, 23-17. With two minutes left in the first half, the Cavaliers took a 31-30 lead, which they never relinquished.
"We had the playoff jitters and played poorly in the first half," Serra Coach George McDaniel said. "I told the players at halftime to start playing our game."
The Cavaliers responded to McDaniel's advice by seizing a 64-54 lead in the third quarter. Serra's 6-foot 5-inch center, Mark Sutcherlin, fueled the team with 33 points and 14 rebounds, and teammate Keith Molone had 12 rebounds and 18 points.
From their forwards, the Lions received 27 points and 8 rebounds from Eric Schurman, and 15 points from Joe Smith.
"We played our game," Lion Coach Dick Katz said. "But they wore us down in the second half. We played very tired and did not shoot well. They also had better athletes off the bench. We didn't have anybody coming off the bench who could do any big damage."
In the second-round game, Serra will face Del Rey League champion Crespi.
WESTMINSTER (72)--Dever 6, Schurman 27, Davis 8, J. Smith 15, Love 8, Porter 2, Austin 2, Cooper 2, Tower 2.
SERRA (95)--Watkins 3, George 4, May 8, Sutcherlin 33, Molone 18, Cannady 8, Gamble 9, Tucker 3, Schoals 2, Hailay 4, Fuertes 1, Jackson 2.