ANAHEIM -- The La Canada boys' basketball team has a way of adding more drama to games than coach Tom Hofman would like to see.
The CIF Southern Section Division 3AA championship game against Price at the Anaheim Convention Center on Thursday night was no different.
La Canada beat top-seeded Price, 50-47, to win its first CIF boys basketball championship since 1992. The Spartans built a 12-point lead in the first quarter and had a 14-point lead in the third quarter before Price tied the game with two minutes to play in the fourth.
“They seem to have that will to win in the last minute and a half of games,” Hofman said. “They stayed focused at the right time and didn’t get flustered, like I did.”
La Canada needed double-overtime to beat Bishop Montgomery in the quarterfinals of the playoffs. The Spartans beat Palm Springs, 61-60, in the semifinals.
La Canada came up with some key plays on defense and made some clutch free throws in the final two minutes of the game against Price to seal the victory.
Michael McGlashan and Matt Faber each scored 14 points to lead La Canada. The Spartans made five 3-pointers in the first quarter to build a 21-9 lead.
La Canada took its biggest lead in the game in the third quarter. Dario CiVon gave La Canada a 39-25 edge on layup with two minutes to play in the third.
But Price went on a 10-0 run to end the third quarter and trim the lead to four points.
Price tied the game, 46-46, on a layup by Askia Booker with 1:54 to play in the game.
La Canada’s Sean Mintie broke the tie on a backdoor layup with a little more than a minute to play. CiVon iced the game with a pair of free throws with 12 seconds left in the game.
La Canada’s hot start combined with Price’s dismal shooting from the free-throw combined for a long night for the Knights.
Price went to the free-throw line 16 more times than La Canada. But Price made only 11 of 23 free throws. Price coach Michael Lynch said free throws were the difference in the game.
St. John’s-bound forward Norvel Pelle went 0-for-5 from the field for Price and scored only four points. Booker, who’s headed to Colorado next season, scored only six points. He was 2-for-8 from the field and 0-for-3 from 3-point range.
CiVon scored 13 points and made two of the five 3-pointers for La Canada in the first quarter. Faber made two 3-pointers in the first quarter and had 10 rebounds to go with his 14 points.
Price’s Chase Murray led all scorers with 17 points and was 3-for-4 on 3-pointers.