After receiving a scare in its first-round playoff game, the St. Francis High basketball team quickly made sure to avoid another struggle.
Thanks in part to another big effort from one of their top players, the Golden Knights raced out to an early lead en route to a 69-45 road victory against San Dimas on Friday in a CIF Southern Section Division III-A second-round game.
Second-seeded St. Francis (17-11) will take on unseeded Gladstone in a quarterfinal home game at 7 p.m. Tuesday. Unseeded San Dimas, which took third in the Valle Vista League, finished 12-14.
“We were able to come out and shut San Dimas down early,” said St. Francis co-Coach Ray O’Brien, whose team began the playoffs Wednesday with a 63-59 overtime road win against Yucca Valley. “We were able to get a lot of guys involved and Kyle got to the rim efficiently.
“It’s a good recovery from the Yucca Valley game and I think we are back to where we need to be. They did what they’ve been taught and we got back to the basics. The first round was a little tougher than we had expected and they settled down quite a bit tonight.”
Leufroy, a junior guard and a reigning All-Area selection, paced the Golden Knights with nine first-quarter points. St. Francis, which received an at-large berth after placing fifth in the Mission League, held a 22-7 advantage after the first quarter. St. Francis then held a 35-14 halftime advantage.
Leufroy, who also collected six rebounds and three assists, said the Golden Knights learned a lesson from the Yucca Valley contest.
“In the Yucca Valley game, I don’t think we played our game,” said Leufroy, who had 27 points and eight rebounds versus Yucca Valley. “Luckily, we were able to pull away.
“We came out and took care of business early tonight. That’s what we need to do to be successful. I got a lot of help from my teammates.”
St. Francis got nine points from junior point guard Michael Allen and eight from senior guard Evan Crawford.
O’Brien said the Golden Knights are eager to participate in a home contest.
“It will be nice to get a game at home after being on the road the first two games,” O’Brien said. “We will be able to get home and be comfortable in our home environment.”