La Costa Canyon's Tommy McCarthy (left, shown in a game earlier this season) has returned after a bout with mono.
CARLSBAD After missing six games because of mono, La Costa Canyon High point guard Tommy McCarthy returned to action Saturday night and ignited a third-quarter run with a pair of 3-pointers.
Those shots and nine fourth-quarter free throws by McCarthy helped LCC overcome a three-point deficit en route to a 64-54 win over Mission Hills in the San Diego Section Open Division quarterfinals.
The third-seeded Mavericks (25-5) advanced to the semis Wednesday against second-seeded El Camino. LCC lost two Avocado League West games to El Camino, both without McCarthy.
The loss eliminated sixth-seeded Mission Hills (18-10), last year’s Division I champion, which advanced three rounds into the Southern California regionals before losing at Santa Monica.
“I was a little worried about getting back into the swing of things,” said McCarthy, who scored a game-high 22 points, six more than his season average.
“I missed a month, and the guys got used to playing without me. But I think that helped build confidence in the other guys.”
LCC sprinted to a 12-point lead early in the second quarter, but Mission Hills finished the period on an 18-5 run and led 25-24 at halftime.
With LCC down by three early in the third quarter, McCarthy hit a 3-pointer to tie the game at 27, and another 3-pointer midway through the quarter to break a 29-29 tie.
It was all Mavericks after that, as they built a 13-point lead late in the game.
“We kind of have a bad habit of getting leads, then letting the other guys get back in it,” McCarthy said. “So I wasn’t too worried when Mission Hills came back. But we’ve got to stop doing that.”
Brady Twombly backed McCarthy with 18 points, while Travis Fuller added 12 points and grabbed a game-high 14 rebounds.
Tony Stanich, playing his last game before joining the baseball team, led Mission Hills with 13 points and grabbed six rebounds. Connor Kennedy scored 11 points, all in the fourth quarter.
“My guys are battlers,” Mission Hills coach Curtis Hofmeister. “But we played a really good team.”