It was a playoff game that had it all--intensity, drama, passion and heartache.
But Servite had a little extra against Fullerton. Servite's 6-9 center Mark Seaton, sidelined 14 games after breaking a bone in his right foot last December, returned to action and helped provide the emotional lift needed to defeat the Indians, 55-45, in a Division III-AA boys' basketball playoff game Friday at Servite.
The Friars (18-8) will face Moreno Valley Rancho Verde next week in the quarterfinals.
Seaton looked a tad rusty offensively, scoring eight points. But he had nine rebounds and two blocked shots in 20 minutes. And he had no fear of diving for loose balls or taking hard tumbles after fouls.
"For his first game back I couldn't ask for more," Servite Coach Scott Hamilton said.
Seaton admitted some trepidation and there had been soreness in the foot during practice. "But once we started playing I was so pumped up I didn't feel anything," he said.
Seaton's influence could be felt another way. When he was in the game, the Indians were forced to double team him inside, and that usually left the Servite guards wide open. Kevin Fremgen took advantage, knocking down three three-pointers and scoring 11 points.
David Downs led Servite with 16 points.
Fullerton Coach Brent Fair knew the poor shooting in the second half (seven for 27)--particularly in the fourth quarter when the Indians went scoreless in the final 4:31--was the main reason the Indians' (15-10) season is over.
"I'm disappointed because we missed shots we felt we should have made," Fair said. "And they made the shots they had to so they won. But they're a very good team. A strong, physical team. I think they have a good shot at winning (the championship)."
Said Hamilton: "Fullerton is very good; if they played in our league they would be one of the top three teams. We're lucky to have a 6-9 kid and a 6-6 kid. They have their local kids, but they do a very good job with them."
Sam Mankiewicz led Fullerton with 15, but had only two points in the second half.
In other Division III-AA games:
Bishop Montgomery 56, Troy 51--Jeff Sand had 18 points in the loss for visiting Troy (16-12). James Hampson added 11 points and John Torres 10 for the Warriors.
Compton Centennial 76, La Habra 75--Dan Ploog scored 21 points and John Marshall had 20, but La Habra (13-14), which led by as much as 18, came up one point short. Corey Holbert added 17 points for La Habra.
Lakewood Artesia 84, Savanna 44--David Draghinas scored 12 points for Savanna, which finishes 16-11.
Sonora 60, Pomona Ganesha 43--Craig Clark had 18 points and 13 rebounds to lead Sonora (24-3). Teammate Chad Fister had 13 points.