POWAY The last time it happened, Jenny Dee was 3 years old and living in Denver.
It’s been 15 years since Rancho Buena Vista High last played for a San Diego Section girls basketball championship.
On Friday night, the Longhorns will return to the title match for the first time since making back-to-back appearances in 1997-98, with a title-winning season in ’98.
Rancho Buena Vista never allowed No. 2-seed Poway to lead en route to a 65-55 victory in Tuesday night’s semifinals in Poway’s gym.
“This is a very difficult place to play,” RBV coach Pete LaFrance said. “Look at all those banners on the walls.
“Going to the finals is a great feeling, but to come here to win is a great accomplishment.
“A lot of teams have come in here and never get out with a win.”
Rancho Buena Vista advances to Friday’s championship match at 8:07 p.m. against top-seeded Granite Hills, a 44-39 winner against Mission Hills, at Viejas Arena.
The No. 3 Longhorns battered Poway on the boards, fashioning a huge 45-21 edge in rebounds.
“That’s crazy to outrebound them like that,” Dee said. “Every girl gave everything they had on rebounding on every possession.
“Class is going to be fun (today). We still have business to take care of.”
Rancho Buena Vista (21-10) opened the game with an 8-1 start to set the tone for the remainder of the game.
Poway (22-8) managed to tie the game at 8-8, 10-10 and 15-15 early in the second quarter on Raylee Johnson’s layup.
The Longhorns outscored Poway 20-10 the rest of the second quarter for a 35-25 halftime lead.
They still led by eight heading into the final quarter until Poway rallied to close the deficit to 50-44 on Brooke Hulet’s jumper with 5:40 left to play.
“I was stressed at that point,” said Dee, who took game-scoring honors with 24 points and nine rebounds. “All we could do at that point was play our game because when we get out of that we tend to lose leads.
“We’re a bunch of smart girls. We all push each other when games are on the line like this one was there in the fourth quarter.
“I always thought about playing in the finals, but it’s not over yet.”
In addition to Dee’s performance, the Longhorns also got 14 points from Jacqueline Kane and 13 points from Mikaela Shannon. Ariana Shannon and Sydney Roberts each collected eight rebounds.
Hulet topped Poway with 18 points while Mandy Castro had 12 points.
“We flat-out got outplayed in our gym,’’ Poway coach Jay Trousdale said. “I lost track of how many people told me last summer we’d be a .500 team in league play and never get past the quarterfinals.
“I’m really proud of this team.’’
Even without a fourth title appearnc in the last six years.