Boys’ basketball falls in CIF quarterfinals

By Robbie Loeb

The season has come to a close for the eighth-seeded boys’ basketball team, falling to top-ranked Serra of Gardena in the quarterfinals of CIF playoffs, 62-50. Tonight’s loss means the team does not qualify for State playoffs.

In the first quarter, the Wolverines converted on several transition buckets and took quality shots but had trouble finishing on open looks from the perimeter. The Wolverines led 17-13 after the first eight minutes.

The Wolverines held their lead throughout the second period, gaining a 10-point advantage at one point. They entered halftime leading 25-19.

The third quarter opened on a 10-0 run by Serra and the Wolverines were never able to get back in the game after blowing their first half double-digit lead. The Wolverines committed five consecutive turnovers at the end of the quarter and Serra lead 44-34 heading into the final period.

“In the third quarter we went through our usual bad quarter,” Head Coach Greg Hilliard said. “We panicked against their pressure and turned it over. When they started running, it created openings for everybody. We got back in the fourth quarter, but it was too little too late.”

The Wolverines would bring the game back within five points toward the end of the game, but center Zena Edosomwan ’12 fouled out late in the fourth, and Serra held on for the 12-point win. 

“It hasn’t really sunk in yet,” Edosomwan said of his final game in Taper Gym. 

The Wolverines were without the 6-foot-9 David Winfield ’13, who was out with a back injury. Serra was the first team the Wolverines have played who have matchup up well with their size, boasting a frontline with 6-10 Emmanual Ndumanya, 6-6 Daddy Ugbede, 6-7 Tavrion Dawson and 6-6 Dakarai Tucker.

“Not a whole lot of teams can match up with all of our size,” small forward Josh Hearlihy ’12 said. “It was a disadvantage, but I think we handled it well and we got used to it pretty fast.” 

The Wolverines’ starting frontcourt, which has been a consistent source of points throughout the season, struggled to say the least. Small forward Hearlihy finished with 13 points, center Edosomwan finished with 12 and forward Derick Newton ’14 only had six.

“I didn’t do a good job of finishing today, especially in the first half, so credit to them,” Edosomwan said.

“It’s too bad that on a stage like this, he had a game where he struggled,” Hilliard said. 

Serra’s Kajon Mack torched the Wolverines for 21 points and Ugbede added 20 of his own.

It has been 10 years since the last time these two teams matched up. The Wolverines upset Serra in the 2002 State playoffs, when then-freshman Ed White ’05 nailed a 3-pointer at the buzzer to give his team a 66-64 victory.