SAN ANSELMO -- Jesse Hunt scored 12 of his 25 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Sir Francis Drake boys basketball team to a 70-61 home win over No. 12 Miramonte on Tuesday in the CIF Division III Northern regional semifinals.

But Hunt was certainly not alone in helping Drake withstand a 30-point outburst from the Matadors' Drew Anderson, as the Pirates locked up its first NorCal final berth in 19 years and continue an improbable postseason run.

"This feels absolutely amazing. I am so proud of this team," said Drake coach Doug Donnellan, who coached the school's last NorCal champs in 1994. "When we lost to San Marin in the league playoffs, we had hit rock-bottom. We have come back in a big, big way and I am so proud of the way they're playing right now. I told these guys at the beginning of this tournament that they were good enough to win if they played loose and played aggressive."

For the ninth-seeded Pirates (25-7), who advance to face Riordan in Saturday night's 8 p.m. final at American Canyon High, there were plenty of aggressive performances to go around.

It started with Malik Huff, who dropped 14 of his 17 points and all four of his 3-pointers during a highlight reel-filled first half. The junior point guard expertly commanded a fast-paced Drake attack that ran at every opportunity, but it was his own scoring that gave that gave the team its biggest lift -- and continually electrified the home crowd. His first half included an emphatic put-back dunk and a buzzer-beating 3 that gave the Pirates a 39-29 at the break.


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"They gave me some good looks and I shot it," said Huff, who also tallied six boards, three blocks to go with his four assists. "I knew they'd be guarding Jesse after he scored 38 points (against Sacred Heart Cathedral), so I wanted to step up and shoot the ball."

Hunt certainly loved the effort.

"It was beautiful," said Hunt, who added eight rebounds and three blocks. "When (Malik) is aggressive and shoots like that, it makes this team 10 times better. He realized that and that's why he turned it on."

So, too, did Anderson, in trying to keep the upstart Matadors' own Cinderella run alive. He was an impressive 11-for-22 from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, to help No. 12 Miramonte (18-13) roar back from three different 10-point deficits. He sank a pair of free throws to pull the Matadors to within 60-56 with just under two minutes to play.

But just like the team's weekend upset of Sacred Heart Cathedral, though, Drake kept cool and delivered winning plays late.

Cade Yongue, who had 10 points and was 6-for-6 from the stripe, answered Anderson's bucket by hitting Hunt for a transition lay-up to set up a three-point play. And after Miramonte's Joey Goodreault (12 points) drilled a 3-pointer to make it a 63-59 game, Jasper Verduin tipped up a critical offensive rebound to Sam Dines that gave the Pirates an extra possession.

It resulted in a 65-59 lead on a bucket by Hunt, who also went 6-for-7 from the foul line in the last 2:10 and finished 10-for-13 in all at the stripe.

"We never stopped fighting, but Drake played a great game," Anderson said. "They played very well and had a lot of guys hit shots. I wish them the best."