Robert Bush 11:18 p.m., May 25
Mavericks beat Hornets again, make first state championship trip
ONTARIO – The high-stakes rematch between La Costa Canyon and Lincoln in the Division II Regional Finals on Saturday didn’t play out as either team planned, and it ended up going the Mavericks’ way. Top-seeded La Costa Canyon used a team effort to beat third-seeded Lincoln 47-43 at Citizens Business Bank Arena and advance to the state finals for the first time in school history.
“The Southern California championship is great, it’s great to beat Lincoln for a second time, and to be able to compete for a state championship is huge,” said La Costa Canyon senior guard David Travers. “We want to represent for San Diego and Southern California.”
The game was back and forth from the start, and neither team was able to gain an edge in the first half. Lincoln senior guard Jerry Cobb hit a three at the buzzer in the second quarter to put the Hornets ahead 26-24 after a first half that included seven lead changes.
It was still close in the third quarter when La Costa Canyon (34-2) broke free with the first major run of the game. With 2:57 left in the quarter, Travers hit a rim-aided three-pointer as the shot clock expired to give the Mavericks a 33-31 lead, their first of the second half.
“That was kind of a desperation shot – I had to put it up as the shot clock was winding down,” Travers said. “It took a lucky bounce and I didn’t think it was going in, but it fell in and that gave us some momentum.”
La Costa Canyon closed the third quarter on an 11-2 run, and Mavericks senior guard Zach Beery scored on a tip-in at the buzzer to make it a 39-33 game. Lincoln (24-10) scored seven points in the third quarter and went the entire eight-minute span without a field goal (0-for-7).
“We stuck with the offensive plan and shots just didn’t fall,” said Lincoln head coach Jason Bryant. “I felt like the game plan was the best plan, it obviously wasn’t and that was the result – a scoreless third quarter.”
Defense took over in the fourth quarter, and with three minutes left La Costa Canyon clung to a 41-35 lead. Lincoln methodically rallied, and pulled within two points on a Cobb layup with 1:11 left.
“It’s tough – everybody left their hearts on the court and we played really hard,” Cobb said. “It hurts to come up on the losing end – everybody on our team is hurting and it was just a really tough loss.”
The Hornets sent La Costa Canyon senior forward Matt Shrigley to the line on the next possession, and the Mavericks’ star missed the front end of the one-and-one. But Beery pulled down the rebound to keep the ball with La Costa Canyon, and Shrigley made two free throws with 22.3 seconds left to put the Mavericks up 45-41.
“I try to take every opportunity that I can,” said Beery, who finished with a team-high 15 points. “I try and usually pick up the trash around the basket and get the boards.”
After a layup by Lincoln junior guard Tyree Robinson made it a two-point game with 15.7 seconds left, Travers was fouled and put the game away from the free throw line. Travers’ two free throws with 6.9 seconds remaining sealed the victory for La Costa Canyon.
“Watching those final seconds roll down was like no other feeling,” Beery said. “This is once-in-a-lifetime for us and it’s a great experience.”
La Costa Canyon prevailed in a rematch of the Division II section finals that had a completely different look than the first game. Beery shot 5-for-5 from the field to lead the Mavericks in scoring and 6-foot-7 senior forward Erik Magnuson scored 11 while Travers and Shrigley combined for only 16 points on 5-of-24 shooting.
“The game was a reflection of who our team is. Zach was huge, Erik was huge – and they are the unsung guys,” Cassaw said. “Tonight everyone saw that we are a complete team, and to see those guys step up was outstanding. “
La Costa Canyon advances to the Division II State Finals in Sacramento to face top-seeded San Jose Archbishop Mitty (32-3). The Mavericks are looking to reach their goal from the beginning of the season and finish as state champions.
“We’ve got one more game we want to get, and that’s what our goal is,” Cassaw said. “This game wasn’t our goal, and we felt like this was just a semifinal game.”
Junior guard Tyrell Robinson led Lincoln with a game-high 20 points, and Tyree Robinson finished with 12 but went without a three-point basket. Despite a strong defensive effort, the Hornets saw their state run come to an end in the regional finals for the second straight season.
“We made mistakes, we turned the ball over, we missed box outs, and that’s the game,” Bryant said. “La Costa Canyon is good at taking advantage of mistakes and we made too many today.”
La Costa Canyon – 47 (11-13-15-8)
Beery 15, Magnuson 11, Shrigley 9, Travers 7, Van Dyke 3 (starters) Miller 2
Lincoln – 43 (13-13-7-10)
Tyrell Robinson 20, Tyree Robinson 12, Cobb 9, Turner 2, Spates 0 (starters)
Pictured: La Costa Canyon guard David Travers drives to the hoop against Lincoln in the State Division II Regional Finals on Saturday