In any tournament, the game between the seventh and 10th seeds is often the best.
Tuesday, No. 7-seeded La Costa Canyon and No. 10 Bellflower St. John Bosco played back-and-forth basketball before La Costa Canyon finally took control, winning the Southern California Regional Division I first-round game 67-55.
The Mavericks play at No. 2-seed Irvine Crean Lutheran on Thursday. Crean Lutheran topped visiting Cathedral Catholic 63-60.
Tuesday’s game was tied nine times and the lead changed hands 19 times before the Mavericks (21-7) went on an 11-2 run in the third quarter and opened an eight-point lead.
But LCC’s Brayden Hendricks, who led all scorers with 20 points, fouled out on a charging call in the opening minute of the fourth quarter with LCC up by five.
“Brayden really sparked us, gave us a little separation,” said LCC coach Dave Cassaw.
Sophomore Trevor Ladd came off the bench and converted a three-point play, then hit a 3-pointer and the lead ballooned to nine.
“I can’t say enough about that sophomore,” Cassaw said. “The situation wasn’t too big for him. He made a couple of really big shots.”
LCC ran it up to 14 before a stifling St. John Bosco (22-10) press forced six turnovers down the stretch with the lead down to eight before four free throws by Gabe Tanfills put the game away.
“St. John Bosco is really big, tall and wide,” Cassaw said. “So I didn’t know if we had a puncher’s chance against them. But we battled underneath and got some rally big defensive stops.”
Christian Brown backed Hendricks with 12 points for the Mavericks and finished with eight rebounds to lead the Mavericks.
“They were definitely a tough, physical team, and we expected it to be physical,” Brown said. “We’re smaller, so we had to be smarter, block out, position rebound.
“We got some big defensive stops, and that led to offense. We pushed the ball and finished. It was a fun game.”
Ty Handler added 10 points for LCC, including four fourth-quarter free throws.
Vincent Berlucci finished with seven points, but had two clutch 3-pointers in the fourth quarter.
Freshman Kade Bonham led the Braves with 17 points and 12 rebounds. Christian Estrada added 13 points and six rebounds
Bosco was playing without freshman star Elzie Harrington, the team’s leading scorer.
LCC lost 66-65 in overtime to San Diego Open Division champion St. Augustine, which plays tonight at Sierra Canyon.
St. John Bosco lost to JSerra in the Southern Section Division I semifinals
St. John Bosco coach Matt Dunn coached with Mike Haput at St. Augustine.
St. Augustine plays at Sierra Canyon tonight in an Open Division game.