SACRAMENTO -- Another team-wide lockdown defensive effort and a spectacular shooting performance from Trevor John helped the Monte Vista High boys basketball team cap its magical season in grand style.
John tied a CIF Division I state title game record with six 3-pointers and the Mustangs' defense closed out the 66-55 victory over Centennial-Corona on March 28 at Sleep Train Arena, giving Monte Vista its first state championship in any sport.
"I'm kind of in a daze but it's special," said second-year coach Nick Jones, a 1998 Monte Vista graduate. "The seniors set the tone in the offseason last year and the chemistry has been phenomenal... It's been a great group to be around and they did something historical for the school."
John, a Cal Poly commit, scored 23 points, with 18 coming in the first half of the wire-to-wire victory.
Grant Jackson added 12 points while leading the Mustangs (32-1) against Centennial's pressure defense. He also went 6 of 8 from the free throw line in the final 1:08 to help seal the win.
Centennial (29-4) was led by junior guard Sedrick Barefield, a Southern Methodist University commit, who had 16 points.
John got started on his record performance right away, connecting on his first five 3-point attempts and pouring in 15 first quarter points as the Mustangs took a 20-12 lead.
"John hitting those 3's early really settled everybody in," Jones said. "The nerves and the stage were behind us and then it just got down to basketball. Him coming out shooting like that was huge."
John hit his sixth 3-pointer early in the second quarter to tie Mater Dei's Katin Reinhardt for the Division I state title game record and give Monte Vista its biggest lead of the half, 26-13.
"Wherever you go, the hoops are still 10 feet, the free throw line is still 15 feet, the 3-point line is still the same," John said. "You just have to be able to block out your surroundings and just play the game."
John was blanketed by a defender the rest of the way, preventing him from making a run at Klay Thompson's record of seven 3-pointers in a state title game in any division.
Johns wasn't the only one to shoot well in the big NBA arena. The Mustangs were 11 of 16 from 3-point range as a team. Centennial, though, was just 2 of 18 from the same distance.
Monte Vista's defense, a huge key in the best season in school history, came up big again, holding Centennial to well under its season scoring average of 76 points and 28 percent shooting from the floor.
Centennial's pressure defense did bother Monte Vista at times, though, and helped create a surge that got the Huskies within 56-49 with 3:32 to play. But Monte Vista then scored on two straight possessions to push the lead back to 11 points with 2:25 left and the Mustangs led by at least nine the rest of the way.
Monte Vista's remarkable season also included a school record for wins. The Mustangs won East Bay Athletic League, North Coast Section and Northern California regional titles and their lone loss the entire year came on a buzzer beater on the home floor of their rival, San Ramon Valley, in overtime.
"I got to do it with all my best friends, that's what makes it that much more special," John said.