LCC’s Travis Fuller shoots between El Camino’s Quen Meadows (left) and Sam Bockman.
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OCEANSIDE — In one of the most bizarre basketball games in a long time, La Costa Canyon overcame a seven-point deficit with 2:10 to play and tied it on an off-balance 3-pointer by Brady Twombly, sending the game to overtime.
Then with 31.5 seconds to play and the game tied at 60, the lights went out in an El Camino High gym that was packed 45 minutes before tipoff and was hot enough to steam shellfish.
After a 23-minute delay, La Costa Canyon threw away the inbound pass, fell behind by a point, then rallied to win the San Diego Section Open Division semifinal 62-61 on a pair of Tommy McCarthy free throws.
Before the final buzzer, though, El Camino had three good shots at a game-winner, only to see all three roll off the rim.
The win, the first in three tries against El Camino, sends the third-seeded Mavericks (26-5) to the championship Saturday against top-seeded St. Augustine at USD’s Jenny Craig Pavilion.
Second-seeded El Camino finishes 27-4 and sees its 20-game winning streak come to an end.
“Just the way we scripted it — blow the inbound pass after the power comes on, then watch as they miss three shots close in,” said LCC coach Dave Cassaw.
Down by seven late in the game, Cassaw told his team it needed three stops.
The Mavericks got those stops and tied the game on an improbable, off-balance, falling-out-of-bounds 3-pointer from the left corner by Twombly.
“Honest, we practice that kind of shot,” said Twombly, who finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.
“I knew if I was open at all, I was shooting the ball.
“This was really one of the more bizarre games we’ve played.”
Cassaw told his team before the game that rebounding would be the key to victory.
The Mavericks outrebounded El Camino 42-32 with senior Fritz Eibel pulling down a career-high 15 to go along with 10 points.
“Rebounding was the biggest emphasis,” Eibel said. “We had to board with them to have a chance.”
And what happened on El Camino’s last possession?
“They got after it, but we tried to jump straight up, make it tough on them and not foul,” Eibel said.
McCarthy led LCC with 19 points — five in the fourth quarter and six in the overtime.
He also had six rebounds.
El Camino’s Devin Watson led all scorers with 23 points — eight in the fourth quarter, three in overtime.
Kevin Hardiway came off the bench and provided El Camino with a spark and 10 points.
Sam Bockman had nine points, but grabbed 11 rebounds and blocked six shots.