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JSerra powers through Ocean View
HUNTINGTON BEACH – JSerra's No. 3-ranked boys basketball team flashed its potential at the Jim Harris Memorial Tournament of Champions on Friday night.
The Lions looked so balanced and deep in a 90-48 semifinal victory against No. 10 and host Ocean View, Coach Joedy Gardner might need to fast forward his expectations.
"I'm on a five-year plan," said Gardner, in his fourth season. "We're getting better. We've got some new faces that are getting used to each other. Our chemistry is getting better."
Sophomore Rex Pflueger scored a game-high 20 points to lead five Lions (6-1) in double-figures.
JSerra's inside-duo of Jamal Aytes and Dylan Osetkowski both added 16 points while Devon Pflueger and point guard Johnnie Vassar chipped in 12 and 10 points, respectively.
Rex Pflueger, Osetkowski and Vassar will be back next season, but they were part of an impressive blend against Ocean View.
"That was probably one of our best games we've played this year because we put 32 minutes together," Gardner said. "We've been really struggling playing about 15, 16, 17 minutes and then going through those lapses, and those craters that we don't like to go into."
JSerra went on quick 8-0 run in the middle of the first period to separate and cruised into today's 7:30 p.m. final against the Mater Dei-Compton winner.
The combination of the 6-foot-6 Ayters and 6-foot-9 Osetkowski helped the Lions shoot 35 of 53 (66 percent) from the field.
JSerra's inside game will be even stronger when the 6-foot-8 Nick Pallas returns from a broken foot.
"The game plan was to get it inside, move the ball," Gardner said.
JSerra also turned up the defensive pressure to spark its fast-break.
The Lions held Ocean View to 15 of 59 shooting (25 percent) from the field, including a 2-for-23 effort from beyond the 3-point line.
JSerra also showed plenty of depth. Nine different players scored.
"We're deep," Gardner said. "If we can all execute and play our roles, we could be a very dangerous team down the road."
Sophomore point guard Kendall Small scored 19 points and collected five steals before fouling out early in the fourth.
Gardner was hopeful of an early-season showdown today against Trinity League rival Mater Dei. The Lions open the league by playing host to the Monarchs on Jan. 2.
"We want Mater Dei," Gardner said. "Kind of gauges our guys."
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