CARLSBAD The third matchup this season was unlike the previous two encounters.
This time, La Costa Canyon High’s defense took Serra out of contention early and the Conquistadors never recovered.
The No. 3-seeded Mavericks kept Serra without a field goal in the first quarter and roared to a 29-point lead at one point before withstanding a Serra rush in what turned into a 55-35 victory Saturday night in the Southern California Regional Division II quarterfinals.
“This is our house and we have played tremendously here all year long,” said LCC coach Mario Flores, whose team has won two of the three meetings with Serra. “We’ve done a pretty good job in the last two games.
“I think early on, we didn’t give in to their pressure. I told the girls don’t give up layups.
“I was hoping we could jump on them early and maintain a big lead.”
La Costa Canyon, courtesy of its 23rd straight victory, advances to Tuesday’s regional semifinals at No. 2 Lynwood, which beat Granada Hills 50-36 on Saturday night.
“This is definitely a huge accomplishment,” LCC senior guard Esther Wofford said. “Not everyone thought we would be here, but here we are.”
Serra, which beat LCC 59-48 in the Kiwanis Tournament finals Dec. 22 before dropping the section finals seven days ago, missed all 12 field-goal tries in the first quarter until Tylinn Carter hit a driving layup with 6:58 left in the second quarter. It was the Q’s first shot of the quarter.
Serra’s misery didn’t improve much in the second quarter as the Q’s were 4-for-16 from the field in the stanza, going 4-for-28 in the first half and 12-for-48 for the game.
“We stress defense big-time,” said Wofford, who scored 16 points, trailing only Taylor Pierce with 22 points in the game. “Being up 42-13 was a complete surprise.
“They’re a lot more athletic than we are, so we had to slow them down and we did. I don’t think they hit a single jumper all night.”
The Q’s, who only hit 12 field goals in the game, got 12 points from Carter.
In addition to Pierce and Wofford, the Mavs got 14 rebounds from 6-foot-5 center Savannah Irwin, who scored all eight of her points in the first half.