They take their basketball seriously at Thousand Oaks High, where the fan section is known as the Green Hole. And they were whipped into a frenzy in the second half Friday night, with the Lancers rallying for a 46-43 victory over Calabasas in a Marmonte League game.
Dakota Pierce, who has a 4.77 grade-point average and is committed to MIT, made a basket with 1 minute 26 seconds left to give Thousand Oaks (16-3, 5-1) a 44-43 advantage.
Calabasas (15-3, 5-1) never scored again. The Coyotes were outscored, 14-5, in the fourth quarter. Thousand Oaks was able to shut down the Coyotes' best scorer, Jeremy Lieberman, who finished with six points. Max Hoetzel had 17 points for Calabasas.
Pierce had 16 points for the Lancers.
"We held them to 15 points in the second half. That was the key," Thousand Oaks Coach Richard Endres said. "I was pleased with our defensive effort. Lieberman can shoot NBA threes. If he gets hot, there's no stopping him. On our championship ring it says, 'Defense wins championships.'"
Calabasas could have helped itself greatly with a victory, but now the Coyotes have to face Westlake on Monday night in a must-win situation. Westlake took over first place with a 60-53 win over Royal.
It's a four-team race among the Coyotes, Lancers, Westlake and Royal.
But for Thousand Oaks to win on its home court provides a big boost for the Lancers.
"We haven't beaten them in three years, and it's the greatest feeling to pull off a victory," guard Tanner Fanjoy said.