Hoover players cheer their Division II championship triumph over top-seeded La Costa Canyon.
Even after his first boys basketball championship game was over, Miles Nolen-Webb couldn’t help but admire the lights of Viejas Arena.
“I really like playing under the bright lights,” Nolen-Webb said. “This is a once-in-a-lifetime thing that I hope I can do again.”
It didn’t dim the junior guard’s huge smile at all as he stood there holding the San Diego Section Division II championship patch after Hoover outlasted defending champion La Costa Canyon 58-50 on Saturday night.
Nolen-Webb canned six of his 14 points in the fourth quarter, including five in the final two minutes to erase a 50-49 deficit.
Hoover (29-5) hit five of seven free throws to seal the Cardinals’ first title since 2009.
Top-seeded La Costa Canyon (27-5) opened the game as sharp as it did last year when the Mavs reached the state championship only to lose to San Jose Archbishop Mitty.
The Mavericks were ahead 16-8 after the first quarter, but the momentum had slowly switched sides.
A change in defense allowed Hoover to take command as a 26-8 streak put the Eastern League champions ahead 28-22.
“We switched our defense to a triangle-and-two to take out their two shooters — (Tommy) McCarthy and (Jeff) Van Dyke,” Nolen-Webb said. “It took them a long time to adjust. They kept running their man offense, but we weren’t in our man defense.”
Hoover held that lead until a Brady Twombley layup put LCC back on top 50-49 with 2:23 to play in the game.
That was the last time the Mavs scored.
Jordan Alexander paced Hoover with 15 points and 13 rebounds.
“We’re built for four quarters,” Cardinals coach Ollie Goulston said. “We laugh about trailing in the first quarter or the second quarter or the third quarter because eventually we’ll wear a team out.”