The Deer Valley High boys basketball team fought off foul trouble and De La Salle's patented lockdown defense to rally for a 51-48 victory in Wednesday's North Coast Section Division I boys basketball semifinal.
The No. 2 seed Wolverines (23-5) will now meet top-seeded San Leandro (25-3) in Friday's championship game at Saint Mary's College at 8:30 p.m.
"That's every kid's dream to play in a big-time game," Deer Valley senior guard Kendall Smith said. "A lot of fans are going to come out and we're going to feed off that and hopefully we get another victory."
The Wolverines' hopes looked bleak late in the third quarter. In a 14-second span, Marcus Lee, a 6-foot-10 McDonalds All-American bound for Kentucky, picked up two fouls to give him four for the game.
Fellow starter Nsimba Webster also picked up two in that same stretch and both sat with four fouls and De La Salle leading 36-30.
"We've been there before," Deer Valley coach LeChet Phillips said. "Our guys know how to fight for each other. Marcus gets in trouble, one of the other starters gets in trouble, the other guys on the bench are ready to go in."
The biggest moment off the bench came midway through the fourth quarter. With Lee still sitting and the Spartans' lead 42-41, Mario Goins' first shot attempt of the game was a 3-pointer that gave the Wolverines the lead with 3:51 left.
"He can shoot," Phillips said of Goins. "We've been telling him all year, 'When you
Less than a minute later, with Lee back in now, Webster drained a long 3 from the top of the key to make it 47-42.
Deer Valley led 51-44 with 46.7 seconds left after Smith hit two free throws.
Brian Rosselli made two free throws for De La Salle and then Arizona-bound Elliott Pitts hit two of three free throws with 8.7 seconds left to make it 51-48.
The Wolverines turned the ball over right away to give the Spartans a chance, but Mike Inman's 3-pointer at the buzzer was off to send Deer Valley to its second straight NCS title game.
Pitts led De La Salle with 15 points. The UNLV-bound Smith led the Wolverines with 18 points and Lee finished with 14 points and 16 rebounds.
San Leandro 55, Freedom 53: Dejon Burdreaux hit a baseline jumper at the buzzer as the Pirates advanced to the championship game for the first time in school history with a thrilling victory over the visiting Falcons in the NCS Division I semifinals.
The Pirates (23-5) will take on No. 2 Deer Valley in Friday's finals at Saint Mary's College. San Leandro owns a 67-62 win over Deer Valley back on Dec. 18.
Burdreaux's jumper capped a 9-2 run by San Leandro in the final three minutes while taking advantage of three Freedom turnovers during the run.
Trailing 53-50 with 49 seconds left, Burdreaux hit a three-pointer to knot the score at 53-all with 35 seconds left. The Falcons (19-9) turned the ball over with 8.1 seconds, giving the Pirates the ball under their own basket. Burdreaux, who finished with a game-high 22 points, took the inbounds pass and quickly moved down court before pulling up from the right baseline for the game-winner.
-- Tony Gonsalez, correspondent
Dublin 85, Mt. Eden 53: Second-seeded Dublin had far too much firepower in a NCS Division II semifinal win over visiting and No. 3 seed Mt. Eden (19-10).
The Gaels (24-5) advance to the championship game where they will face top-seeded Newark Memorial on Friday night at Washington at 7 p.m.
Dublin is 0-2 against the Cougars this year, suffering an 86-62 loss in the Gridley Invitational Basketball Tournament on Dec. 8 and a 70-57 nonleague loss on Dec. 22.
Dublin, which has scored 88 and 86 points in its first two NCS wins, was paced by point guard Cameron Moses, who scored 25 points. Teammate Jamir Andrews added 21 and hit a trio of 3-pointers. JoJo McGlaston scored 10 points. In all, nine players got into the scoring column.
The Gaels, who outscored Mt. Eden 23-9 in the second quarter, had a 40-28 lead at the half.
This came after Mt. Eden ended the first quarter with a 19-17 lead. Dublin blew the game open with a 31-point fourth quarter that included a stretch where it went on a 10-0 run to take a 68-44 lead with just over four minutes left.
-- Steve R. Waterhouse, correspondent
St. Joseph Notre Dame 63, Head-Royce 56: Temidayo Yussuf scored a game-high 21 points as the host and top-seeded Pilots (21-11) survived what proved to be a nail-biter in this NCS Division V boys semifinal.
Justin Brown added 14 points for the hosts and Lamont Banks finished with 12.
Ryan Diew, whose team trailed 43-41 with 22.7 seconds left in the third quarter, appeared to have tied the score with a nifty layup. A player control foul, however, negated the basket, and the No. 4 Jayhawks (24-5) never got closer.
-- Mike McGreehan, correspondent