Marty Graham 5:30 p.m., Feb. 26
Dee drops 51 as RBV downs El Camino, claims share of league title
Longhorns beat Wildcats in OT, share crown with La Costa Canyon
OCEANSIDE – Johnny Dee scored a career-high 51 points against El Camino on Friday night, and No. 3 Rancho Buena Vista needed every one. The Longhorns beat the sixth-ranked Wildcats 87-83 in overtime to claim a share of the Avocado West League championship.
“I’m just glad we won league; we got a league championship and hopefully we’ll be the No. 1 seed in the playoffs,” Dee said. “Fifty is great, but to get this victory means everything.”
With 1:05 left in overtime Dee delivered the decisive basket, a three-pointer that put Rancho Buena Vista ahead 82-75. The Longhorns made five free throws in the final minutes to hold off El Camino.
“We’re league champions and that’s awesome. We don’t have a lot of those,” said Rancho Buena Vista head coach Terry Miller.
Rancho Buena Vista (24-3, 7-1 Avocado West) will share the league title with No. 4 La Costa Canyon, who the Longhorns split with during the season. The Longhorns’ last league title came in the Avocado League in 2006-07.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these kids,” Miller said. “Nobody expected it at the beginning of the year and here we are.”
Dee began his school-record performance with torrid shooting in the first quarter. The senior scored Rancho Buena Vista’s first 18 points of the game – including a stretch of three three-pointers and a four-point play – and had 23 points by the end of the quarter as the Longhorns held a 25-20 lead.
“They gave me room and our offense was clicking, so I got open looks,” Dee said. “After the first quarter, I knew that I had a lot of points, but I saw that we were winning and that was the best thing.”
El Camino (23-6, 3-5) survived Dee’s hot start and kept pace with Rancho Buena Vista for the rest of the game. Late in the third quarter, Wildcats guard Jacob Snow hit a three-pointer late to make it a 56-54 game headed into the fourth.
“You know when you start a game like that, it’s never going to end that way,” Miller said. “You just knew they were going to come back.”
After El Camino scored the first four points of the fourth quarter, the rest of the quarter was back-and-forth. In a tie game with 17 seconds left, Rancho Buena Vista guard Alex Stong made two free throws to put the Longhorns ahead 75-73. On the ensuing possession, El Camino guard Trevon Tucker drove to the basket, rebounded his own miss and made a one-handed shot in the lane with two seconds left to force overtime.
“There were a lot of turning points there,” Miller said. “When they tied it up I thought we were in trouble.”
In the extra period Rancho Buena Vista scored the first seven points and kept El Camino off the board for the first three minutes. The Longhorns made 7-of-8 free throws in overtime.
“It was a close one, went to overtime and it was a great game,” Dee said. “It’s a shooter’s gym and both teams made a lot of shots.”
Dee’s 51 points included seven three pointers and a 20-for-23 effort from the free throw line. Five of his three-pointers came in the opening quarter.
“It was a good feeling, Dee said. “I love when you feel like you can make anything.”
Guard Anthony Alston added 17 for Rancho Buena Vista, including 14 after halftime. The Longhorns have a solid case for the top seed in the Division I playoffs along with Torrey Pines (22-5), who they lost to twice this season.
“I think we’re one of the best teams in Division I,” Dee said. “It’s whatever they say, but I think we’re deserving of it – we won the Avocado West which is easily the hardest league in San Diego.”
Five El Camino players scored in double figures, led by Snow’s 24 points. The Wildcats made 12 three-pointers in the loss.
Rancho Buena Vista – 87 (25-15-16-19-12)
Dee 51, Alston 17, Vaz 7, Morris 6, Vivier 0 (starters) Smith 4, Stong 2
El Camino – 83 (20-17-17-21-8)
Snow 24, Gorman 21, Tucker 11, Beard 11, Pao Pao 2 (starters) Boddie 14
Rancho Buena Vista guard Johnny Dee shoots a three over El Camino guard Jacob Snow
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