El Camino’s Dakota Orr (left), who scored 20 points, looks for an opening against Evan Kaplan of La Costa Canyon. The Wildcats’ win clinched the Avocado West League championship.
OCEANSIDE The framed jersey on the El Camino High gym wall — JOHNSON 700 WINS — tells it all.
“Our coaches looked at tape and said La Costa Canyon was going to sag off the big men,” El Camino center Sam Bockman said. “They told me to get the ball and go to the bucket.
“Know what? Hey, 700 wins don’t lie.”
Following the instructions of coach Ray Johnson, Bockman, a 6-foot-6 junior, finished with 16 points and seven rebounds and blocked seven shots as the Wildcats withstood a furious La Costa Canyon comeback and beat the Mavericks 78-70 to win the Avocado West League boys basketball title.
El Camino has a two-game lead with one to play.
It was the 18th win in a row for the Wildcats, who average 75.2 points a game and haven’t lost since a Dec. 21 setback to Sweetwater.
La Costa Canyon (23-5, 7-2), ranked No. 5, couldn’t overcome a 20-point second-half deficit against No. 4 El Camino (25-3, 9-0).
But the Mavericks made it interesting, cutting the deficit to five at 62-57 with 4:05 to play.
A Chad Morrison 3-pointer got it back to eight. Brady Twombly made it a six-point game with 3:30 to play, but the Mavericks could get no closer.
“We didn’t panic,” said El Camino guard Devin Watson, who led the Wildcats with 21 points and grabbed eight rebounds.
“They’re too good. We knew they had a run in them. We just had to stay focused and withstand their charge.”
Dakota Orr added 20 for the Wildcats, including seven fourth-quarter free throws. Teammate Quen Meadows finished with 14 points and seven rebounds.
“We knew LCC was going to focus on me,” Watson said. “So we wanted to get it down low to Sam and Dakota.
“This was a championship game, a game that will determine playoff seeded. It was no time to be selfish. It was time to share the ball and take advantage of the early momentum.”
Twombly led all scorers with 30 points, including 3-pointers on four straight second-quarter possessions.
Fritz Eibel added 13 points for the Mavericks and Patrick Fisher had 12. Travis Fuller finished with nine rebounds.
“Meadows did a really nice job defensively on Fuller (who finished with six points),” Johnson said.
“This was a good, hard-fought, playoff-atmosphere game.
“I wouldn’t doubt we’ll see them in the playoffs.”
LCC played without point guard and leading scorer Tommy McCarthy, who missed his fourth straight game with mono.
McCarthy is expected to see a doctor Friday and could be cleared for light practice over the weekend.