Ken Leighton 4 p.m., July 29
Mavericks need extra period to take down Wildcats in thriller
CARLSBAD – For the third straight time, four quarters wasn’t enough to determine a winner between La Costa Canyon and El Camino. Wednesday night, the top-ranked Mavericks started fast and outlasted the sixth-ranked Wildcats 65-62 in the third consecutive overtime game between the Avocado West League rivals.
“That’s three times in a row we’ve played them and gone to overtime,” said La Costa Canyon senior forward Erik Magnuson. “Every time we play those guys, it’s a tough game that you have to grind out until the very end.”
La Costa Canyon (24-2, 6-0 Avocado West) led by six after the first quarter and extended its lead to double digits with a 10-2 run to start the second quarter. The Mavericks had a 35-21 lead over El Camino at halftime due in large part to senior guard David Travers, who scored 19 points – including four three-pointers – in the first two quarters.
“I came out and I knew I had to be aggressive,” Travers said. “I didn’t shoot it too well last game, so I knew those shots would be available. From watching game film, I knew that they were sliding under most of my screens.”
La Costa Canyon had an 11-point lead midway through the third quarter when El Camino (17-7, 3-2) made its push. The Wildcats closed the quarter on a 13-2 run, cutting the Mavericks’ lead to 44-41 with a buzzer-beating fast break layup from junior guard Imani Sobers.
“In the second half, they came out really aggressive and we expected it – we expected that they would come back because they have that ability,” said La Costa Canyon senior forward Matt Shrigley. “We needed to weather that little push they had, but we didn’t do a very good job of it.”
El Camino scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to take a three-point lead, and with 2:55 left in the quarter Sobers sliced through the La Costa Canyon defense for a layup that put the Wildcats ahead 53-48. The Mavericks needed a spark to stay in the game, and Shrigley answered the call with five straight points – a fast break dunk off of a steal and a three-pointer that tied the game with 1:36 remaining.
“I just knew I had to come off the screen and shoot it,” Shrigley said. “I hadn’t made a shot all night and luckily I made that big one at the end.”
Both teams traded baskets in the final minute, and with 22 seconds left La Costa Canyon had the ball with chance to win the game in regulation. El Camino didn’t give the Mavericks an open look at the basket, however, forcing a desperation three at the buzzer that Travers missed to send the game into overtime.
In overtime neither team had more than a one-possession lead, and with 45.1 seconds left Sobers drove through the La Costa Canyon defense to give El Camino a 61-60 lead. On the next possession Magnuson passed up an open inside jumper and threw the ball out to Travers, who hit a deep three-pointer that put La Costa Canyon ahead 63-61 with 12 seconds left.
“I kind of had to shoot it because Erik Magnuson passed up a wide open shot because I said, ‘Erik’ when he was about to shoot it, and he turned around and passed it to me,” Travers said. “I saw my defender had his hand down, so I shot it.”
Sobers raced down the court following the Travers three-pointer and was fouled with 6.2 seconds left, but made only one of two free throws. After two Travers free throws El Camino had the ball underneath its own basket with a chance to tie, but a long pass intended for senior forward Dayton Boddie was broken up by Shrigley and Magnuson at the free throw line and the Wildcats were unable to get a shot off in the final 5.2 seconds.
“I got to show off some of my defensive back skills,” said Magnuson, an offensive lineman who signed to play football at Michigan. “Coach told me to play centerfield and go get the ball, and it came to me. Dayton Boddie is an athlete and they tried to get the ball to him.”
La Costa Canyon has beaten El Camino four straight times dating back to last season, with the last three victories coming in overtime. The three-point win clinches at least a share of the Avocado West League crown for the Mavericks, who appear headed for the top seed in Division II.
“It’s just a step – it’s a step towards what we want to accomplish,” Travers said. “First we want to go out and win league, and then we want to go through playoffs and win CIF, and then hopefully we can make a push to the state championship.”
Travers scored a career-high 31 points – including seven in overtime – and Shrigley finished with 22. The 6-foot-6, 275-pound Magnuson pulled down 17 rebounds for La Costa Canyon, using his size to create problems for El Camino.
“I get to come in there and be the bad guy – bully people, push people around and get rebounds,” Magnuson said. “I have a big body and I use that to my advantage – a lot of basketball players don’t like to be physical.”
Sobers led El Camino with 17 points and senior guard Dayton Boddie added 16. The three overtime games between the Wildcats and Mavericks have been decided by a combined seven points.
La Costa Canyon – 65 (15-20-9-11-10)
Travers 31, Shrigley 22, Van Dyke 4, Beery 3, Magnuson 2 (starters) Miller 3
El Camino – 62 (9-12-20-14-7)
Sobers 17, Boddie 16, Garner 7, Finney 3, Garcia 3 (starters) Pao Pao 12, Griffin 4
Pictured: La Costa Canyon forward Matt Shrigley ducks past El Camino center Danny Garner Jr. for an acrobatic layup attempt
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