La Mirada was a little bit in shock that it didn't win Saturday's Division II state championship game in regulation. What's a team to think when San Jose Mitty's Sebastian Much, a sophomore who transferred from San Juan Capistrano St. Margaret's, sinks a long-range three at the buzzer to send the game into overtime?
"That could have killed us," Coach Bryce Jones said.
The Matadors (31-5) persevered and pulled out a 71-70 victory in two overtimes at Haas Pavilion to win their first state basketball championship.
La Mirada's two big men, 6-foot-8 Kendall Lauderdale and 6-7 Dezmon Murphy, were magnificient. Each scored 18 points. Murphy made four of seven shots from three-point range. Launderdale made three of eight three-point attempts. La Mirada made 14 threes.
"They did a good job taking away our driving lanes," Jones said. "The threes were there."
It still came down to the team's comedian, Kai Labasan, to deliver victory. He was fouled with 9.1 seconds left in the second overtime. He missed the first free throw, then made the second to break a tie.
"I just learned in an NBA commercial to have short-term memory," he said. "I don't even remember missing."
Mitty had a final shot but it missed, and La Mirada began a victory celebration, aided by a large group of fans in the stands.
Mitty's 6-9 junior Ben Kone had 22 points and 14 rebounds.
"I have never played against someone like him," Lauderdale said.