St. Augustine’s Brynton Lemar, who scored 28 points, drives past Leuzinger’s Michael McMillan. The Saints will play Cathedral Catholic in the semifinals, a team they beat for the section title after losing to the Dons three times during the regular season
The stars were out and shining bright Saturday night.
St. Augustine’s three stars — UC Davis-bound Brynton Lemar, junior Trey Kell and big man Drew Madsen — all were at the top of their game as the top-seeded Saints beat Lawndale Leuzinger 66-45 in the Southern California Regional Division III boys basketball quarterfinals at Rancho Bernardo High.
Next up for St. Augustine (27-4), winners of 10 in a row, is a Tuesday semifinal date with archrival Cathedral Catholic at Rancho Bernardo.
“Yes they did,” Saints coach Mike Haupt answered emphatically when asked if his stars played like stars.
“When you get this far in the playoffs, your good players have to play well. And ours certainly did.
“Leuzinger was way more physical than we thought. But we guarded well and rebounded like crazy.”
The Saints finished with a 45-23 rebounding advantage.
Kell led all scorers with 28 points and pulled down 14 rebounds.
Lemar had 16 points and eight rebounds. Madsen had only seven points but grabbed 12 rebounds.
“We wanted to play with effort and make them match that effort,” Lemar said. “We had a bye in the first round and it took a while to get our game legs under us. But we asserted ourselves in the second half. We were really very aggressive.”
The lead changed hands or the game was tied 10 times in the first half before the Saints went on a 13-4 run to open an eight-point lead at 32-24 on a three-point play by Kell.
Those were the last of his 20 first-half points.
Leuzinger (23-9) cut the deficit to five at the break on three points from Eric Childress.
St. Augustine pushed the advantage to nine at the end of three quarters, and a 16-0 run to start the fourth quarter pushed the Saints’ lead to 25.
“The guys got into it pretty good in the second half,” Haupt said. “We missed a bunch of layups in the first half (five in the first 16 minutes and two more in the third quarter).
“We talked about that at the half. We wanted to be more aggressive and finish under the basket. I think we did that.
“Leuzinger only had 10 points in the half midway through the fourth quarter.”
Childress led Leuzinger, a loser in the Southern Section 3AA semifinals, but a 75-58 winner over L.A. Hamilton in the first round of the state playoffs, with 14 points. But he missed four fourth-quarter free throws that could have slowed St. Augustine’s momentum.