JSerra's Megan House, center, fights for the ball against Serra of Gardena's Tatiana Howard and Sierra Thompson, from left, in the quarterfinals of the CIF-SS 4AA playoffs at Serra High School in Gardena on Saturday.

JSerra falters in fourth, falls short of 4AA final


GARDENA — JSerra has seen Serra of Gardena before.

The Lions knew coming into Saturday night’s game that they would have to play a full 32 minutes of solid basketball against intense pressure defense to come out with a victory.

Second-seeded JSerra fell to No. 3 Serra, 48-37, in a CIF-SS Division 4AA semifinal game at Serra High, due in large part to a game-high 19 points from Cavaliers’ guard DeAndrea Toler.

“We were ready for the physicality,” JSerra coach Mary Rossignol said. “We stepped up to the challenge for the majority of the game, but we didn’t in the fourth quarter.”

Senior guard August Touchard led JSerra (23-7) with 18 points, while sophomore Coco Miller finished with 14. The only other Lions’ play to score in the game was Megan House who had five.

JSerra took a 31-29 lead with two minutes to play in the third on a basket from Touchard, but the Lions wouldn’t score over the next 4:49 as the Cavaliers’ (25-5) lead reached four, 37-33.

Serra then went on an 11-3 spurt over the next four minutes of the fourth to close out the win, outscoring the Lions 13-6 in the final period.

House and junior post player Courtney Vaccher were each plagued by foul trouble in the first half, with both players having to watch from the bench with three personals.

Rossignol said the Lions game plan, both offensively and defensively, was much different with House and Vaccher on the sidelines.

“They’re a big part of our offense and defense,” she said. “When they’re in the game we work inside out, and get more scoring opportunities.”

Touchard and Miller had defenders attached to their hips for the entire contest, and the other Serra defenders were busy helping force 18 JSerra turnovers.

Rossignol had a positive outlook after the loss, and said that it’s not the last time JSerra will play this season, as she expects a nod into the state tournament.

“They’re an unbelievable group,” she said. “We lost to a great team, it’s (Serra) a great program.”

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