LANCERS JUMP ALL OVER PADRES
By: GREG LYDON - DAILY NEWS CORRESPONDENT
Posted February 1
Extending perfection ins’t always easy, but it sure looked that way Saturday night.
In front of a packed house, the St. Francis High-Mountain View boys basketball team made it 19 straight wins to open the season, rolling over West Catholic Athletic League rival Serra-San Mateo 85-52 at home Saturday night.
Star swingman Shawn Grant led the way for the Lancers with a game-high 19 points in limited minutes due to the lopsided score. Junior reserves Tyler Johnson and Tim Wang also scored in double figures for the home team. (The uber-athletic Johnson dropped in 12 points, while Wang feasted in garbage time scoring 15 points.) Things started off well for the road Padres when senior guard Danny Chavez drilled a deep two on the opening possession of the game.
The next Serra field goal wouldn’t come for another eight minutes of action.
Behind relentless full court defensive pressure and superior depth, St. Francis (19-0, 9-0 WCAL) blitzed Serra early, opening up a huge advantage.
St. Francis goes beyond 10-deep in their rotation, but the catalyst for the Lancer attack is senior leader Grant.
Grant didn’t wait around to get things going Saturday night. He came out sizzling hot from the first shot of the evening.
Grant splashed down a deep trey, then knocked down a pull-up jumper off a Serra turnover to put St. Francis up 5-2.
Junior Pat Crowley continued to hot start for the Lancers by tipping in an offensive rebound, forcing the first of three first quarter timeouts from Serra.
The game looked nothing like when the Padres grinded hard in the first meeting this season before falling 55-50 at Serra on Jan. 9.
“It felt great,” Grant said. “We had to come out strong against these guys. They always play us tough.”
With the gym busting to capacity with wall-to-wall people, it must have felt like St. Francis was running a 10-man press every time down the floor. The young Serra guards struggled in the first quarter, turning the ball over eight times in the first eight minutes of action.
After the first timeout, junior guard Spencer Britschgi scored on a lay-in off the fast break, then watched Grant go back to work knocking down a silky smooth step back jump shot to put the Lancers ahead 11-2.
“We’ve got a young team,” Serra coach Chuck Rapp said. “On the road, sometimes things get away from you. Their pressure got to us and we started turning the ball over. Things began going sideways on us in a hurry.”
Leading 11-2, first-year St. Francis coach Mike Motil called to his bench to keep the heat on. The fresh five players did just that.
Senior guard Lasjohn Johnson started the fun by slashing to the rim and scoring off a sensational finish.
Pouring it on with their well-executed fast-break game, center Daniel Peterson found fellow senior Kyle Hypes for a lay-up, then the two switched places and scored once again, putting St. Francis ahead 19-4.
Sharing the ball beautifully and feasting off turnovers, St. Francis led 24-4 after the first quarter of play.
“It was a very promising sign to hit a couple shots early,” Grant said. “After a couple turnovers, you don’t get tired. It just makes you play harder.”
St. Francis built on its strong opening quarter, taking a 4919 advantage into the halftime break.
“Tip your hat to them,” Rapp said. “Their depth is one of their strengths and they showed that tonight. They come at you in waves.
“This is a really inexperienced group,” Rapp added. “Were going to take our lumps.”
Serra (9-11, 1-8) fought hard until the very end, playing St. Francis tight in the final two quarters.
Meanwhile, the Lancers’ loss column still has a donut in it and the student body is fired up about it.
“You can’t help but talk about it,” Grant said. “We know we have to stay focused.”
St. Francis returns to play next week against Archbishop Mitty-San Jose on Wednesday. Serra hits the road again next Wednesday traveling north to face off against Riordan.