San Marcos' Johnny McWilliams (shown in an earlier game this season) led the Knights with 19 points in Friday's win over Mission Hills.
SAN MARCOS The newest and largest gym in the county nearly wasn’t a match for what has become one of the most fierce rivalries in San Diego.
Friday night, more than 3,100 fans — including Chargers safety Eric Weddle, who was seated behind the home bench — packed San Marcos High’s sparkling new facility.
San Marcos students were dressed in camo. Mission Hills students donned Hawaiian wear, hula skirts and all. And it was beyond loud.
What the fans saw was a 19-3 San Marcos first-half run that set the Knights up for a 61-33 Avocado East League win.
With the victory, No. 5-ranked San Marcos (25-2, 9-1), claimed a share of the league title with Escondido.
Mission Hills, which lost both games to San Marcos — the first game by five points — falls to 16-12, 6-4.
Now both teams await today’s San Diego Section playoff seeding meeting.
San Marcos is assured of a spot in the Open Division. Mission Hills will play in Division I.
“This is our home floor, and we wanted to come out super aggressive,” said San Marcos’ Nikola Zivkovic. “This is a big rivalry, and we wanted to get the crowd in it early.”
San Marcos led 10-9 before going on a big run and led by 13 at the half.
Mission Hills cut it to 10 early in the third quarter, but a two-point fourth quarter sealed the Grizzlies’ fate.
“This was beyond a playoff atmosphere,” said San Marcos coach Dante Carey. “This is one of the best rivalries in the county. Are you kidding, 3,100 screaming fans.
“If this doesn’t prepare you for the playoffs, I don’t know what will.”
San Marcos’ Johnny McWilliams led all scorers with 19 points.
Before Friday’s games are factored in, the Knights are fifth in the eight-team Open Division and would play at Army-Navy in the quarterfinals.
A one-spot jump to No. 4 would give San Marcos a home game.
“The Open Division is so tough, so home games are really important,” Carey said. “We want to get teams in here and have them experience this crowd.”