The second-half defense of Marcus Scudder and three players scoring in double figures enabled Cate to escape with a 60-56 win at Santa Ana High in a CIF-SS Division 4A second-round boys basketball playoff game on Friday night.

The victory sends the Rams (14-7) to the quarterfinals, where they’ll face No. 2 seeded Long Beach Jordan on the road Tuesday.

“We executed when it mattered and held a high-scoring Santa Ana team to 14 less points than their average,” said and excited Cate coach Andy Gil.

Scudder was a big reason behind that as he held Santa Ana’s high-scoring Jack Rivera to three points in the second half. He scored 14 in the first half, leading Santa Ana to a 30-29 halftime lead.

Gil said his assistant coach, Joe Cordero, made the call to play a box-and-one defense against Rivera in the second half.

“It was the decision that won us the game,” he said. “By putting in that defense, they were stifled. Rivera could not get the ball and we forced them into bad possessions.”

Babacar Pouye led the Rams with 21 points.

“He showed why he’s a college basketball player,” said Gil of the 6-foot-8 senior. “He let the game come to him and you can see it when he plays, the game is slowing down for him and he’s in control. We will go as far as he takes us.”

Jengus Ercil made four three-pointers for 16 points and Scudder also scored 16.

“He had 16 and got to the rim and opened up so many good shots for others,” said Gil of Scudder.

Will Vanica added seven points for the Rams.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

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