HUNTINGTON BEACH – JSerra was strong in the first quarter and strong in the fourth.
In between, the Lions did not play so well.
JSerra had an 18-point lead in the first quarter and fell behind in the third before a game-concluding roll brought the Lions a 77-66 victory over Clovis West in a second-round game of the Jim Harris Memorial Tournament of Champions at Ocean View High.
“We played well in the first quarter,” JSerra coach Joedy Gardner said. “But we lost our concentration in the second quarter. Defensively, we picked it up in the second half.”
JSerra’s victory set up an attractive semifinal Friday night in the tournament. The Lions (5-1) play Ocean View (2-1) at 7:30 p.m. In the other semifinal, it’s a matchup of state-ranked teams, as Mater Dei (3-0, No. 6 in California) plays No. 13 Compton (5-1) at 9 p.m.
The Lions jumped to a 9-0 lead and took a 29-11 advantage into the second quarter. They made 12 of 18 first-quarter shots.
Things went the way of Clovis West (2-3) in the second, as the Golden Eagles outscored the Lions by 17 to trail 39-38 at halftime.
Clovis West’s Michael Olich, a 5-foot-11 sophomore, made three 3-pointers in the third quarter, as the Golden Eagles built a six-point lead. JSserra reserve Dylan Osetkowski scored five points to lead a Lions’ rally, and they found themselves on top again, 57-56, going into the fourth.
Orlich made his sixth and seventh 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, but JSerra clamped down defensively on Orlich’s teammates, who made only 3 of 10 shots in the quarter. JSerra’s Rex Pflueger scored six points and Jamal Aytes added six, and JSerra outscored Clovis West by 10 in the quarter to win going away.
Aytes, a 6-6 senior, led a balanced scoring effort for JSerra with 18 points, and had eight rebounds. Devon Pflueger, a senior, scored 16 as did junior Osetkowski. Rex Pflueger, a sophomore, added 14.