El Camino rallies to beat LCC in American Division championship
Wildcats erase fourth quarter deficit to capture crown
DEL MAR HEIGHTS – Newly aligned league rivals El Camino and La Costa Canyon got a sneak peek of each other at the ESPN iScore Holiday Classic – and the Wildcats liked what they saw. No. 2 El Camino overcame a nine-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the No. 5 Mavericks 56-53 in the American Division championship played at Torrey Pines High.
“It got scary in the beginning but we came out in the second half and we had to go play El Camino defense,” said El Camino guard Chris Gorman. “We did that and we ended up with the win.”
After an evenly played first half La Costa Canyon pulled ahead in the second half, leading by 13 late in the third quarter. The Mavericks were up 49-40 with six minutes left when El Camino (14-1) began a run sparked by aggressive play.
“We just weren’t aggressive enough when we came out,” said El Camino head coach Ray Johnson. “We got excited, we got 13 down and finally figured out we were going to have to kick it up a notch.”
Over the next four minutes the Wildcats went on a 15-0 run, attacking the basket and playing stifling defense. By the time La Costa Canyon guard David Travers made a jumper to end the run, the Wildcats had a 55-51 lead with 1:42 left.
“We settled for some contested jump shots and we just went away from executing,” said La Costa Canyon head coach Dave Cassaw. “It was just enough to give El Camino some momentum and some belief in what they were doing, and that’s all they needed.”
With 51 seconds left, Mavericks guard Drew Kitchens hit a jumper to make it a two-point game. La Costa Canyon (12-2) had a chance to tie with less than five seconds left, but an up and under layup by Matt Shrigley rimmed out to give El Camino the victory.
“It was a fight and I expected a fight,” Gorman said. “We came out a little flat, but I knew we were going to turn it around.”
Gorman finished with 15 points and was named American Division Most Valuable Player. El Camino dressed only seven players for the entire tournament.
“It just makes us fight more,” Gorman said. “We only have seven people so we have to fight for every person we have and we have to fight for each other.”
Shrigley and Kitchens led La Costa Canyon with 14 points apiece. The Mavericks appeared poised to win going away when things began to unravel in the final quarter.
“It has been a trend for our team and we just have to realize that we have to be focused for 32 minutes,” Cassaw said. “We just lose focus about how we need to attack and we need to learn from this.”
League foes this season in the realigned Avocado West League, La Costa Canyon and El Camino will meet two times in league play and possibly once more in the Division I playoffs. Their next meeting is Jan. 21 at La Costa Canyon.
“It’s going to be a war every time we play them,” Johnson said.
El Camino – 56 (18-10-10-18)
Boddie 16, Gorman 15, Snow 13, Beard 6, Tucker 6
La Costa Canyon – 53 (17-15-14-7)
Kitchens 14, Shrigley 14, Van Dyke 9, Travers 9, Beery 5, Sachrison 2
How other local teams fared
Lincoln takes third place in National Division
Narrowly missing out on the National Division championship game, Lincoln (11-1) avoided a let down in the third place game with a convincing 92-67 win over St. Edward (Ohio). Norman Powell led the Hornets with 27 points as they overwhelmed the Eagles.
Dee drops 35 as Rancho Buena Vista wins Governors Division crown
Guard Johnny Dee scored 35 points to lead No. 6 Rancho Buena Vista to a 62-57 win over Brea Olinda in the Governors Division championship at Rancho Bernardo High. Dee averaged 33.3 points for the Longhorns (11-2) during the tournament and won the Governors Division MVP.
Westview falls in Mayors Division championship
Host Westview fell 61-52 to Chatsworth Sierra Canyon in the Mayors Division championship game. Patrick Govea led the Wolverines (8-5) with 11 points.
More like this:
- No. 1 LCC Edges No. 6 El Camino in Overtime – Again — Feb. 8, 2012
- Dee drops 51 as RBV downs El Camino, claims share of league title — Feb. 19, 2011
- Minus Kitchens, No. 4 LCC cooks No. 6 El Camino — Feb. 9, 2011
- No. 5 Rancho Buena Vista rolls past No. 6 El Camino — Feb. 1, 2011
- Depleted El Camino survives Windward in Holiday Classic — Dec. 29, 2010