ONTARIO The No. 13 proved very lucky for St. Augustine High boys basketball team.
And very unlucky for West Hills Chaminade.
Thanks to a 21-6 effort in the final quarter, St. Augustine, the top seed in the CIF State Division III, overcame an 11-point deficit to claim a 61-57 victory over West Hills Chaminade on Saturday in the Southern California Regional finals at Ontario Colony High.
The 13th consecutive win puts Saints (28-5) into Friday’s state finals at 4 p.m. at the Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento against the No. 1 San Francisco Sacred Heart Cathedral (21-11) in the Northern California Regional finals.
The Saints’ last appearance in the state championships was a losing effort in 2005 to Santa Cruz 67-56.
In Tuesday’s regional semifinals against Cathedral Catholic, junior Trey Kell took charge of the game for a Saints win.
On Saturday, it was senior Brynton Lemar who stepped up for St. Augustine with 12 of his 24 points in the final quarter as the Saints rebounded from an 11-point deficit after three quarters.
Lemar’s 3-pointer with 4:06 to play put St. Augustine ahead 52-51 for the first time since the first quarter. Another 3-pointer moments later by Lemar gave the Saints a 57-53 cushion.
Chaminade (27-8), a team with overwhelming front-line height at 6-foot-10, 6-9 and a pair of 6-7 players, forged a seemingly safe 51-40 lead after three quarters.
It wasn’t that safe for the Eagles, who gave up the first 14 points of the fourth quarter and lost the chance to win their 13th game in the last 14 outings.
St. Augustine scored nine straight points to close the gap to 51-49 with 4:49 to play. A backcourt violation by Chaminade gave Saints a chance to tie the game. Instead, Lemar’s 3-pointer put the Saints ahead 52-51.
Chaminade managed to take a 33-31 lead at halftime despite being outrebounded by a 15-6 margin.
Jack Williams, who averages 16.9 points and 16.7 rebounds for Chaminade, led the Eagles with eight points but only two rebounds.
Jordan Ogundiran matched Williams with eight points while 6-10 freshman Trevor Stanbeck scored seven points.
St. Augustine got 11 rebounds each from Kell, who finished the game with 17 points, and Lemar. Brent Jones added five points, but the 6-2 forward also grabbed seven rebounds, one more than Chaminade.
Jones wound up with 10 points and nine rebounds.
The lead changed hands just three times in the first half before Chaminade took the lead for the rest of the half on Williams’ basket with 2:44 to go in the opening quarter for an 11-10 lead.
Chaminade’s biggest lead in the opening half was eight points at 27-19 halfway through the second quarter.
Perhaps the biggest basket of the first half for St. Augustine was a 3-pointer by Jones with five seconds left before intermission, slicing the deficit to just two points.