In a back-and-forth battle, Serra eventually ran out of steam against a quick and big Franklin of Elk Grove team in a 57-54 loss in the first round of the Northern California bracket of the CIF Division I boys’ basketball tournament.
The Padres (21-10) got off to an unusually slow start, finding themselves down 13-4 only five minutes into the game. The usually boisterous home crowd were silent and it looked as if Franklin (25-6) might run away with an easy victory. However, Serra was able to weather the storm and outscore the Wildcats 20-10 in the second quarter to pull the game to a 30-30 tie at halftime.
In the third quarter, both teams came out sloppy. Serra committed four turnovers in the first three minutes, but Franklin was only able to convert one of those into points. But after a timeout, Wildcats forward Chukwuemeka Iroegbu decided to take the game into his own hands. He scored nine of his game-high 23 points in the third quarter, and from then on, Serra was never able to figure out a way to stop him.
As for the Padres, sophomore sixth man Henry Caruso led the team with 22 points and 14 rebounds, and was the only player that seemed to have an answer down low.