Mission Hills’ Kameron Rooks, who had 22 points, maneuvers around Samuel Bockman of El Camino.
Mission Hills won its first San Diego Section boys basketball title in the school’s nine-year history Saturday night, and it was surprisingly easy.
The Grizzlies opened a 20-point lead in the third quarter, then withstood a wild El Camino rally for a 52-42 win in the Division I title match at Viejas Arena.
Top-seeded Mission Hills (27-4) made it to the finals in 2008, but hadn’t made it out of the first round in the last four years as the Grizzlies set a school record for wins in a season.
El Camino, which has been to the finals 16 times under coach Ray Johnson, winning seven times, is 26-4 as both teams advance to the state playoffs.
“If you have good players, you’ll win a title eventually,” said Mission Hills coach Curtis Hofmeister. “We did a great job of not letting them get any second chances. The kids have worked really hard for this.”
Mission Hills’ 7-foot center Kameron Rooks, who will play his college ball at Cal, finished the game with 22 points, 14 rebounds and five blocked shots.
Dakota Orr led El Camino with 14 while Immani Sobers added 13.
The Grizzlies outrebounded El Camino 38-24 as point guard Kibret Woldemichel grabbed seven rebounds to go with his nine points.
Mission Hills survived 24 turnovers while El Camino had just 14.
The Grizzlies shot 42.3 percent for the game, making 8 of 17 3-point shots. El Camino shot just 38.2 percent. The Wildcats were good on just 3 of 15 3-pointers.
Mission Hills pushed the lead to 20 late in the third quarter, but a 6-0 run by El Camino had the deficit down to 14 at the start of the fourth period.
The Wildcats had it down to 12 midway through the quarter, but a pair of 3-pointers by Cody Hicks, who finished with nine points, sealed the win for Mission Hills.
“This is a blessing,” said Hicks, who dedicated the game to an aunt who died last summer.
“We stayed calm at the end. This whole year we played tough games. We’re used to moments like this. It’s going to be an amazing day when they put up our banner.”