A Thrilling Home Opener Against Serra

December 8, 2017. Escondido, CA. – Last season when these two teams met, Serra was on an undefeated hot streak and news reporters and film crews joined a packed house at Serra’s Tierrasanta campus to watch them overpower Escondido in the fourth quarter to go onto a 56-82 rout.

But this is a new season and Escondido (3-1) had recently proven itself at the Morro Bay Tournament while Serra's (2-2) hot streak had run out long before.

If there were high expectations for Escondido to have its revenge at this home opener, they were quickly dashed in the first few minutes of the game as Serra scored on its first 6 possessions and continued toward a 17-2 start. Serra was fast, accurate and looked unstoppable. While Cougar fans were dazed and the coaches frustrated, the team kept working it. First a lob from Hutchinson between two defenders went in, then Jones hit a long one from the side. Green caught a couple of offensive rebounds, tossed those in and then added a long two-pointer. Hutchison finished the period by faking his defender and getting a clean one off just inside the arc. The quarter ended at 19-15 with Serra on top and Escondido gaining fast.

But half a period would go by before the Cougars scored again, on 2 free throws from Barber. Serra wasn’t faring much better. The action heated up after Fox intercepted a pass and drove it to the net for 2 for Escondido, and Brown responded with 5 points for the Conquistadors. Escondido still trailed Serra at the half, 28-25.

In quarter 3, Landry led the Cougars from a 3 point deficit to a 7 point lead. Landry alone had 8 points, 2 blocks, and 2 rebounds and he caused Serra to turn the ball over 3 times. Hutchinson added another 7 points. Serra’s Bell countered with 5 points, but the quarter clearly belonged to Escondido, by a margin of 20 to 10.

The final period was the highest scoring one for both teams. Landry had another 8 points, 4 blocks and forced another turnover. Serra’s Bell had 8 points, including a clutch 3-pointer to bring Serra within 2 with about 1 minute to go. Jones was fouled on the following inbound pass, and his 2 free-throws put the win out of reach for Serra, then Fox added another two for good measure. Final score: Escondido 66, Serra 60.

Landry had a double-double with 16 points and 11 rebounds. Hutchinson put up 17 points. For Serra, Bell had 23 points and Brown had 16.

by Rick Jones