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With a league championship and the top seed in Division I on the line, No. 4 Torrey Pines beat No. 5 La Costa Canyon from the free throw line. Facing a five-point deficit heading into the final quarter, the Falcons made 18-of-21 free throws in the fourth to knock off the Mavericks 57-49.

“It was free throws,” said Torrey Pines guard Nick Kerr. “They missed a few and we made some down the stretch.”

With Torrey Pines down one with 1:35 left, Kerr sunk two free throws to give the Falcons their first lead of the fourth quarter. After guard Jesse Neugarten made a layup, Kerr made sure Torrey Pines kept the lead for good, making six of his final seven attempts.

“Anytime we’re close, we know we have a chance to win,” Kerr said. “As long as we think we’re in the game we know we can win it.”

The Falcons converted their free throws despite a hostile road environment. La Costa Canyon’s “Canyon Crazies” made a sea of white and made sure to be heard when Torrey Pines was at the charity stripe late.

“I try to cut it out – I did well today,” Kerr said about the crowd noise. “I had to just not worry about that and try to make it.”

The Mavericks rode the momentum of their crowd to start the game. La Costa Canyon (23-4, 8-2 Avocado) scored the first nine points of the game, including a monster two-handed dunk from guard Matt Shrigley that prompted a Torrey Pines timeout.

“We knew they would come out with that first charge, but we withstood it,” Kerr said. “I was laughing in the huddle. I knew we would be fine.”

Trailing by 10 late in the first, Torrey Pines (24-3, 9-1) closed the quarter with a 7-2 run to stay close. The Falcons also closed the second quarter with a run, scoring the final seven points to take a three-point lead into the break.

“Before the game we talked about staying together because we knew they would come out with that quick run. We were just ready for it,” Kerr said.

La Costa Canyon again came out of the gates strong in the second half, sparked by Shrigley, who scored 12 of his 21 points in the third. Torrey Pines rallied, but the Mavericks still held a five-point lead at the end of the quarter.

“We talked about staying calm – if we started going at each other’s throats we were going to panic, the crowd was going to see it and we would be rattled,” Kerr said. “By sticking together the whole game, we finally settled in.”

The fourth quarter was back and forth, with Torrey Pines using defense and foul shooting to claw their way to a 45-45 tie with 3:22 left. After La Costa Canyon guard James McCann made a layup to break the tie, the Mavericks only scored two points the rest of the way as the Falcons pulled away.

“We were thinking if we just did the things we had to we’d come out with the win and we knew we could get the one seed,” Kerr said. “We have a good chance at that now.”

With the win, Torrey Pines completed a regular season sweep of La Costa Canyon. After sharing the Avocado League title last season, the Falcons now get it all to themselves.

“It was huge. We’re league champs now, we could be the one seed and beating our rival is always fun. It was a great game,” Kerr said.

Kerr led Torrey Pines with 21 points, including 14 in the fourth quarter. Guard Max Heller and forward Amir Begovic both chipped in with 11 points to put the Falcons in position for the No. 1 seed in the Division I playoffs.

“We’re league champs and we won it on their court,” Kerr said.

In addition to Shrigley, McCann finished in double figures for La Costa Canyon with 16 points in the loss. The Mavericks went only 5-for-11 from the free throw line in the fourth quarter

Torrey Pines – 57 (10-16-8-23)

Kerr 21, Heller 11, Begovic 11, Neugarten 4, Spelich 4 (starters) Xu 6

La Costa Canyon – 49 (16-7-16-10)

Shrigley 21, McCann 16, Kitchens 6, Kramer 3, Travers 0 (starters) Magnuson 3

Image

Torrey Pines guard C.J. Vafiadis drives against La Costa Canyon forward Matt Shrigley (40) and center Dennis Kramer

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4S Ranch Allied Gardens Alpine Baja Balboa Park Bankers Hill Barrio Logan Bay Ho Bay Park Black Mountain Ranch Blossom Valley Bonita Bonsall Borrego Springs Boulevard Campo Cardiff-by-the-Sea Carlsbad Carmel Mountain Carmel Valley Chollas View Chula Vista City College City Heights Clairemont College Area Coronado CSU San Marcos Cuyamaca College Del Cerro Del Mar Descanso Downtown San Diego Eastlake East Village El Cajon Emerald Hills Encanto Encinitas Escondido Fallbrook Fletcher Hills Golden Hill Grant Hill Grantville Grossmont College Guatay Harbor Island Hillcrest Imperial Beach Imperial Valley Jacumba Jamacha-Lomita Jamul Julian Kearny Mesa Kensington La Jolla Lakeside La Mesa Lemon Grove Leucadia Liberty Station Lincoln Acres Lincoln Park Linda Vista Little Italy Logan Heights Mesa College Midway District MiraCosta College Miramar Miramar College Mira Mesa Mission Beach Mission Hills Mission Valley Mountain View Mount Hope Mount Laguna National City Nestor Normal Heights North Park Oak Park Ocean Beach Oceanside Old Town Otay Mesa Pacific Beach Pala Palomar College Palomar Mountain Paradise Hills Pauma Valley Pine Valley Point Loma Point Loma Nazarene Potrero Poway Rainbow Ramona Rancho Bernardo Rancho Penasquitos Rancho San Diego Rancho Santa Fe Rolando San Carlos San Marcos San Onofre Santa Ysabel Santee San Ysidro Scripps Ranch SDSU Serra Mesa Shelltown Shelter Island Sherman Heights Skyline Solana Beach Sorrento Valley Southcrest South Park Southwestern College Spring Valley Stockton Talmadge Temecula Tierrasanta Tijuana UCSD University City University Heights USD Valencia Park Valley Center Vista Warner Springs
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