CONCORD -- The East Bay Athletic League may have a new boys basketball champion this year.

Monte Vista High earned a 49-46 road win over perennial champ and host De La Salle on Tuesday to break a tie for first in the league standings and sweep the teams' regular season series.

But the Mustangs are well aware that they still have several more road blocks to clear before claiming any titles, even though one of their biggest challenges is over.

"We have a long way to go, we're not even talking about that yet," Monte Vista coach Nick Jones said. "I just told the guys, in our league there's the gauntlet, and we have the top four teams all in a row. We have one stage down."

Grant Jackson put the Mustangs (22-1, 10-1 EBAL) ahead for good and Trevor John made some clutch free throws to seal the win over the Spartans, who have won at least a share of every EBAL title since joining the league for the 2008-2009 season.

Monte Vista never trailed in the fourth quarter, but the game was tied when De La Salle's Jordan Ratinho hit a 3-pointer with 2:05 left.

A Jackson free throw put the Mustangs up with 1:36 to play. Then, on De La Salle's next possession, the senior guard stepped in front of a pass and converted a transition layup for a 47-44 lead.

De La Salle's Justin Hill was fouled twice in the final minute, but only converted on two of four free throw attempts. He had a chance to tie the game at the line with the Spartans down two and 13.2 seconds left, but split the attempts.

John made a pair of free throws with 4.8 seconds left, and the Mustangs avoided overtime when Spencer Rust smothered Ratinho's 3-point attempt at the buzzer.

De La Salle (17-6, 9-2) shot 12 of 21 from the free throw line overall.

"It's a great accomplishment for our kids," Jones said. "If you want to be good in this area, you have to beat De La Salle. That's the bottom line."

Jackson led the Mustangs with 13 points. Rishi Satoor (11 points) and John (10 points) also reached double figures for the winners.

Patrick Marr's 13 points and eight rebounds paced De La Salle.

Monte Vista, which last won an EBAL title in 2008, has three more games to close out the regular season, including a date with rival San Ramon Valley in their EBAL finale on Feb. 21. The Wolves handed Monte Vista its only loss of the season in overtime.

"I told the guys, 'Enjoy it tonight, but we'll be ready for Amador tomorrow at 3:30 when practice starts,'" Jones said.