There was no question that La Cañada High's student section was going to rush the court Tuesday night after watching the boys' basketball team pull off a 72-68, win in double-overtime against Bishop Montgomery in the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA quarterfinals at home.
The raucous crowd swarmed their Spartans (26-3) and began chanting the names of the night's heroes — which were almost too many to mention. Both of La Cañada's stars, Mike McGlashan and Matt Faber, had chances to put the game away at the end of regulation, as well as the first overtime, but came up short.
It was La Cañada's sixth man, Riley Moore, who was the brightest star of the night. Moore pulled down the two biggest boards of the game, a job usually reserved for Faber.
Moore grabbed a rebound with 25 seconds left in double-overtime and his team up by one, 69-68. He chucked an outlet pass to an unguarded Dario CiVon, who was breaking to the basket. CiVon laid it up and in, giving his team a 71-68 lead with 20 seconds left in the game.
Bishop Montgomery (20-7) looked to tie the game up on the ensuing possession with a three-point shot, but missed. Moore brought down that rebound too with five seconds left, picking up the foul and going to the line with a chance to secure the win.
"It was a great feeling pulling down that rebound. I knew going to the line, up three [points], I just needed to make one to seal the deal," said Moore, who missed the first attempt but made the second, giving his team a four-point lead. He finished the game with three points.
La Cañada played its best first half of the playoffs, taking a 33-22 lead against a strong Bishop Montgomery squad. But the Spartans came out flat in the second half and saw a double-digit lead slowly dwindle to a two-point deficit, 53-51, with a little over two minutes to go in regulation.
"We did a nice job in the last 20 minutes of the game," La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman said. "We really stalled at the start of the third quarter and lost a big lead. We had to regroup and I'm really proud of the way they came back. They did everything we asked of them."
The game was tied at 56 with seconds left in the fourth quarter. McGlashan, the Spartans' closer, had the ball in his hands but missed from long range to send the game into overtime.
Not dwelling on that miss was important, McGlashan said.
"You have to stay in the game; there is a whole other [overtime] quarter to play," McGlashan said. "Everybody is going to miss shots, just worry about the next one."
That's exactly what McGlashan did, hitting his first shot in overtime and scoring seven points in the two overtimes, finishing the game with 28 points, five rebounds and five assists.
Faber was fouled on a shot attempt with two seconds left in the first overtime and his team down, 63-62. He missed the first attempt but made the second to send it into double-overtime.
"I really wanted to make both to put it away, but it's how it goes sometimes," Faber said. "At that point, it was a little nightmarish. I've been preparing for that, but it was pretty scary."
Then it was Moore's time to shine. Earlier in the game, he'd been put in the game for just seven seconds before being pulled again, which left him visibly frustrated as he returned to the bench. He turned that frustration into fuel.
"It made me want to come back and play even stronger and better," said Moore, adding it's his job to play well in spurts. "Hofman puts me in these situations because he knows I can do it, and I hit a home run tonight with those two big plays."
Faber had another double-double — 16 points and 15 rebounds. Mason Holle also had a big game for the Spartans, finishing with 12 points — 10 of which were good for La Cañada's first 26 points.
La Cañada now advances to the quarterfinals and will face Palm Springs on Friday at a neutral site. No matter the venue, or who the opponent is, the Spartans are riding a wave of confidence.
"Now we're on a high and playing well, working together," Faber said. "This is a good opportunity for us to take the next game and go from there."