Walter Mencken 2:02 p.m., May 23
Mavericks edge Hornets in OT thriller to claim top spot in section
UNIVERSITY OF SAN DIEGO – The top two teams in the section met in the Division II finals on Friday night at Jenny Craig Pavilion – and the showdown lived up to the hype. Top-seeded La Costa Canyon edged second-seeded Lincoln in a 58-54 overtime thriller, bringing an end to the Hornets’ run of back-to-back section titles.
“It was just a heavyweight bout tonight – it was shot after shot,” said La Costa Canyon head coach David Cassaw.
Both teams traded baskets and stops throughout the game, and La Costa Canyon (31-2) had a 35-31 lead at the start of the fourth quarter. Neither team led by more than four points in the first three quarters.
“Basketball is a game of runs – and we definitely made our runs and they definitely made theirs,” said La Costa Canyon senior guard David Travers.
La Costa Canyon opened up a seven-point lead early in the fourth quarter, but Lincoln (21-9) mounted a methodical comeback to pull even. The Hornets erased a four-point deficit in the final minute of regulation, and with two seconds left junior guard Tyree Robinson drove through the Mavericks defense for a game-tying layup that forced overtime.
“It was the No. 1 and No. 2 teams going at it, it was toe-to-toe, it was overtime and all that. It was ‘that’ game,” Cassaw said.
In overtime, La Costa Canyon scored the first four points and did just enough to stay in front of Lincoln. Travers opened the scoring in the extra period with a jump shot, and made two free throws with 39.6 seconds left to put the Mavericks ahead 56-51.
“In overtime I had to be more aggressive,” Travers said. “I started off overtime with a short jump shot and then I just tried to attack the hoop, get fouled and go to the free throw line.”
Tyree Robinson made two free throws on the ensuing possession to make it a three-point game, and with 3.4 seconds left the Hornets’ star was fouled shooting a three and stepped to the line with a chance to tie the game. He made only one of three attempts, however, and La Costa Canyon rebounded the second miss and iced the game with two free throws.
“We’re going to celebrate this win, and meet back in the gym tomorrow to get ready for state,” said La Costa Canyon senior forward Matt Shrigley.
With the victory, La Costa Canyon captured its second consecutive section title after winning the Division I crown last season. The Mavericks also leave no doubt as to who is the best team in San Diego headed into the state playoffs.
“We came out and got this win, so hopefully those arguments are over,” Shrigley said. “I don’t think there’s any argument anymore.”
Shrigley scored a game-high 25 points to lead La Costa Canyon, and Travers finished with 21. The Mavericks will be one of the top seeds in the Division II state playoffs, and have the experience and talent to make a state title run.
“If you look at our schedule, we just played so many different teams – teams that want to slow it down, teams that want to full court press like Lincoln,” Travers said. “We’ve seen everything and I think it prepares us well for the state tournament.”
Tyree Robinson led Lincoln with 17 points and was one of three Hornets in double figures. The loss is only Lincoln’s second to a section opponent this season, and brings an end to the Hornets’ two-year reign in Division II.
“We feel that these are the top two teams in Southern California in Division II,” Cassaw said. “If it’s done right we’ll both end up in the top three seeds.”
La Costa Canyon – 58 (14-11-14-10-9)
Shrigley 25, Travers 21, Van Dyke 6, Magnuson 4, Beery 0 (starters) Sachrison 2
Lincoln – 54 (10-11-14-14-5)
Tyree Robinson 17, Tyrell Robinson 12, Cobb 12, Spates 9, Turner 4 (starters)
Pictured: La Costa Canyon guard Jeff Van Dyke drives between Lincoln guard Keone Spates (left) and forward Jeremiah Turner in the Division II finals