MORAGA — Campolindo had been unbeatable in league play, winning all sorts of tight games, but Miramonte defeated its rival on the road on Thursday night, 48-46, delaying Campolindo’s outright DAL Foothill title for at least a day.
“We hang our hats on the defensive end,” said Miramonte head coach Wayne Hunter. “More than half of our practices are on the defensive end, and our goal is to keep teams under 50 every game.”
Miramonte (14-8, 5-3 DAL Foothill) allowed just five points in the first quarter and seven in the fourth as part of a team-wide defensive effort, even with Lars Ohlsson out injured.
Matt Meredith, who also served as the quarterback on the Matadors’ football team, hit the go-ahead 3-pointer with just over 30 seconds left.
“It’s the first time in a long time we’ve beaten them in either sport, so I’m glad we got it done,” Meredith said.
A missed three at the other end from David Ahazie, who scored a game-high 16 points, gave the ball back to the visitors, and two free throws by Jayson Fernbacher with 10 seconds left made it a three-point game.
“We stayed calm, kept our composure and put trust in our guys,” said Fernbacher, who is no stranger to clutch situations. He scored 20 in a December win over Serra at Marin Catholic’s Bambauer Classic.
Campolindo (17-6, 8-1) had two more chances, and freshman Aidan Mahaney was fouled trying a 3-pointer with 0.7 left. He missed the first three throw, made the second and got called for a lane violation on his attempt to intentionally miss the third. That let Miramonte throw an inbound pass to half-court to run out the clock and seal the win.
“I think emotionally, we were very drained from Tuesday’s double-overtime win over College Park,” said Campolindo head coach Steven Dyer. “Miramonte had more energy than us and deserved to win. They know our personnel very well did and did a good job taking some stuff away.”
The Matadors were certainly the stronger team out of the gate, going ahead midway through the first quarter on a thunderous one-handed rip by sophomore Niyi Olabode and finishing the period on an 11-1 run. Olabode scored eight of his 10 in the first half.
“Our defense is really solid all-round, always rotating,” Olabode said. “Guys are always helping.”
Miramonte took a 22-17 lead into the break before the hosts finally found life in the third, with Ahazie scoring 11 of his 16 in the frame. A 3-pointer by Mahaney tied the game early in the quarter, though he missed a free throw that would have given his team the lead. Ahazie scored back-to-back baskets in the lane to put his team up 30-28, and a drive to the hoop by Carter Mahaney (13 points) and another basket inside from Ahazie made it a six-point lead, the largest of the night for Campolindo. A basket by sophomore Harry Davis to stop the bleeding and five of Fernbacher’s team-high 11 points put the Mats back on top, but Ahazie’s three-point play sent Campolindo to the fourth with a 37-35 advantage.
The lead would change hands twice more in the fourth before Meredith’s go-ahead 3-pointer. Nick Watson, who plays in the post despite standing at just 6-foot-1, scored six of his 10 in the period, including the opening bucket of the quarter. Fernbacher put Miramonte on top again and Harrison Braitberg made it a three-point lead before Carter, the elder of the Mahaney brothers, made one of two free throws, tied the game with a steal and layup and put his team in front with another basket. Watson answered for the visitors before Ahazie gave Campolindo the lead for the last time with 1:52 left.