Boys' basketball: Serra wins second straight 4AA title
Gardena Serra took advantage of its height and strength to defeat La Verne Lutheran 70-52 for its second consecutive Southern Section Division 4AA championship Saturday afternoon at the Anaheim Convention Center.
The third-seeded Cavaliers (25-6) led from start to finish, racing to a 36-22 halftime lead and growing the margin as high as 22 points in the second half. Junior guard Ron Freeman equaled his season-high with 16 points, shooting five-for-five from the field. Ajon Jefferson added 15 points and four assists.
The loss snapped Lutheran's 18-game winning streak that culminated in a 63-59 victory over top-seeded and previously undefeated Bishop Montgomery in the semifinals. The fifth-seeded Trojans, however, did not have another championship effort to give and seemed a step slow all game.
"We watched tape and saw what [Lutheran] did to Bishop Montgomery, so the kids knew exactly what they needed to do," said Serra Coach Dwan Hurt, who has piloted the Cavaliers to seven section titles since 1993. "The defense rotated, we used our size advantage, attacked the boards and got the ball down low to our big guys."
Skyler Williams had 20 points and fellow senior guard Jay Miller added 11 points for the Trojans (25-7), who returned only two players from the squad that lost to Serra 69-59 in the finals last year. This time, the Cavaliers' victory was even more decisive. They shot 53.1% and outrebounded Lutheran 40-23.
"It was an entirely different situation this year, an entirely different team," Miller said. "Last year we relied on our size experience. We're more of a scrappy team this season that prides itself on defense. Today we just didn't match their intensity."
-- Steve Galluzzo
Photo: Serra's Tavrion Dawson (right) guards Lutheran's Skylar Williams in the Southern Section 4AA championship game. Credit: Steve Galluzzo / For The Times