Spartans earn CIF title shot

The season looked over for the La Cañada High boys' basketball team.

Palm Springs had possession, and a one-point lead, with 18 seconds left in overtime of the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA semifinals on Friday.

"I can't say it didn't go through my head [that the season was over], but we just had to execute for 18 seconds," La Cañada guard Dario CiVon said.

Somehow the Spartans pulled out the win, 61-60, in overtime, but it wasn't easy.

The Spartans needed some help from the Indians, though — at least a missed free throw — to pull out a win. They ended up getting something better.

Palm Springs couldn't find an open man to inbound the ball, so it called a timeout. But the Indians didn't have any left, resulting in a technical foul, two free throws and possession to La Cañada.

"I didn't see a way out, and then the technical foul put hope back in the season," La Cañada forward Matt Faber said.

Mike McGlashan went to the line and made one of two free throws, bringing the Spartans to within one point. He took the ball on the ensuing possession with a chance to win the game.

"I just wanted to get a good shot. Last game I took the game-winning shot and ended up air-balling it from three, so tonight I was just trying to get the best shot I could," McGlashan said.

About four minutes earlier, McGlashan had the ball in his hands with seven seconds left in regulation and the game tied at 53. He couldn't drive for a layup or get a shot up in time.

He wasn't going to be denied twice, though. He drove into the middle of the key and hit a running layup that bounced off the backboard and in, giving the Spartans the lead.

The Indians, however, still had nine seconds to write their own comeback story. Palm Springs put up two shots that bounced off the rim and out, and the Spartans walked off victorious.

The few dozen La Cañada faithful, who had made the 130-mile journey to Indio, stormed the court for the second time in the week, as their team had won their last two games in overtime.

The Spartans will be playing the CIF Southern Section Division III-AA championship game at 4:45 today against Price, the top-seeded team in the division. The game is at the Anaheim Convention Center. La Cañada is coming into the game on a wave of momentum after pulling off two upset wins in overtime.

"These last two games have been awesome," said McGlashan, who scored five of the Spartans' eight overtime points and finished the game with 18. "In the beginning of the year, we were joking about how we're going to CIF, but now we're here in the finals, there's nothing better."

It was a back-and-forth game Friday night. Palm Springs (25-2) had a five-point lead, the biggest lead of the game, after scoring the first two overtime buckets — taking a 58-53 lead before La Cañada (27-3) came charging back.

"Mike played really nicely for us, and that's what we needed to get to the CIF finals, great players like Mikey and Faber. Everybody here has pretty much played their role," La Cañada Coach Tom Hofman said. Faber finished the game with yet another double-double, 20 points and 10 rebounds.

CiVon had his stroke going from deep, hitting five three pointers (including one in overtime), scoring 18 points.

"We've had close games so we need to keep working hard," McGlashan said. "We've been able to battle through the end when the game's been tough, so we feel pretty confident right now."

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