#24 Jengus Ercil Scored 13 of his 15 points in the first quarter. | Credit: Aimee Stan, Cate Media

After a strong start, the Cate boys’ basketball team never let up and recorded a 57-40 victory over visiting Northview of Covina in the first round of the CIF-SS Division 4A playoffs.

Sophomore guard Marcus Scudder led all scorers with 17 points as the Rams enjoyed a balanced attack that buried the Vikings. 

“The thing I love about Cate is that we’re very well prepared. They helped me with the homework. We were all watching the film. We were all well prepared,” said Cate coach Andy Gil. “We knew that they were going to bring that 2-3 zone and we overloaded it really well. We swung the ball well.”

Cate’s senior big man Babacar Pouye was the focus of the Northview defense and he responded with a brilliant all-around floor game with eight points, 13 rebounds and six blocks. 

“We’re very aware that everybody knows about Babacar so he’s going to get a lot of attention,” Gil said. “The cool thing is that he is so unselfish that he’s still going to get his, but he’s also going to find his teammates.”

The Rams raced out to a 10-0 in the first three minutes of the first quarter led by senior forward Jengus Ercil, who scored 13 of his 15 points in the opening stanza, including three three-pointers.

“We watched a lot of their film and it seemed like they played 2-3 {zone defense} all the time and we don’t play a lot of teams that play 2-3 so yesterday we spent half the practice putting up shots and half the practice working on new plays,” Ercel said. “Everyone is really excited for the playoffs and really locked in. We’re here to win it all.”

Cate received a huge momentum boost as Scudder knocked down a deep three-pointer as the second quarter sounded to give the Rams a 35-17 lead going into halftime. Scudder was equally effective shooting from the outside and attacking the rim.

#2 Marcus Scudder | Credit: Aimee Stan

“He’s young, he’s confident and he makes a lot of good decisions,” said Gil of Scudder. “I keep telling him, in transition he is unstoppable so I want him to go to the rim.”

A fade away jumper by Pouye early in the third quarter increased the Cate lead to 40-17, but Northview responded with an 8-0 run capped off by a driving layup from Nick Santillan, which cut the Vikings deficit to 40-25. That’s as close as they would get for the remainder of the game.

Cate will travel to Santa Ana High for a second round game on Friday. Santa Ana defeated Segerstrom in the first round 78-73.

Santa Barbara, 72; Valley Christian Academy, 46

The Dons notched a blowout win at Valley Christian of Santa Maria in the first round and will host Gabrielino in the second round of the CIF-SS Division 4AA playoffs on Friday. Luke Zuffelato led all scorers with 21 points.

Agoura, 88; San Marcos 51

The Royals had no answer for Agoura senior shooting guard Zane Miller, who scored 50 points. San Marcos finishes the season with a 12-17 overall record.

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