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Mustangs Advance in State Basketball Tourney

Mar 01, 2023 08:02AM ● By Mb News Staff

Dylan Black and Trey Pearce. | Photo by MB News.

The Mira Costa boys' basketball team made the most of their first home game in the Division 1 CIF state championships by defeating Montgomery of San Diego 49-45 on Tuesday night. 

Playing at home in the new Costa gym, with the home side of the stands full from courtside to the nosebleeds, the Mustangs nursed a lead for virtually the entire game. They led 26-20 at the half and also held a 6-point lead at the end of the third quarter. 

Montgomery got within 3 points with 3 minutes remaining, and the teams traded possessions, with the Aztecs driving and threatening, keeping it close until the final minute. After that, Montgomery pressed and wound up fouling Costa repeatedly, sending top Mustang free throw shooters to the line, where they preserved the lead and earned the victory.

Two-time league MVP Will Householter established himself early, putting Costa on his back with a breakout first quarter, notching 13 of the team's quick 19 points, including three 3-pointers. Householter finished with 22 points, including a perfect 6-of-6 from the free-throw line, 4 in the final quarter. (Householter is pictured here with his parents, Karen and David Householter.)

Nick Lundy also contributed early and seemed to be everywhere, adding 10 points. Trey Pearce ended with 7 and Dylan Black added 4 points, of which 2 came in crucial late free throws. Also scoring for Costa were Preston Ezewiro (1), Jacob DeArmas (2) and Eneasi Piuleini (3).

Montgomery began the game with a couple of 3-pointers, but soon focused on a driving offense, with high-scorer Xair Mendez frequently flying fearlessly toward the basket and making acrobatic moves on the way to collecting 19 points. JJ Sanchez added 11 for the visitors, also frequently driving the lane.

The heralded Montgomery 3-point attack mostly failed to materialize, as the long shots just wouldn't sink. The Aztecs finished with only 4 makes from behind the arc. 

When those shots wouldn't fall, it seemed Costa usually grabbed the rebound, as they did on the offensive side as well. Indeed, Costa helped themselves build that first-half lead on the strength of extra chances made possible by offensive rebounds, and by denying the same to the Aztecs.

Where Montgomery almost got the better of Costa was in their constant press on defense and aggressive traps, especially in the second half. The Mustangs had trouble bringing the ball up court and often struggled to run their offense, as ball handlers were surrounded and pushed to the edges of the court as the shot clock wound down. 

The close-knit group of Mustang seniors kept finding each other, however, minimizing turnovers and giving themselves a chance on most trips on offense. It was enough to help them hold onto the lead they had established early. 

On Tuesday night, the community turned out, big time, to see "the best team in the history of Manhattan Beach" at home. They got a great show.

Next up: Mira Costa, as expected, travels to Sherman Oaks to play top-seeded Notre Dame on Thursday night at 7pm. Notre Dame defeated #16 Fairfax 84-68 on Tuesday.

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