Fans storm the floor as Capistrano Valley celebrates after defeating Mission Viejo 41-40 in a South Coast League boys basketball game in Mission Viejo on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)
PUBLISHED: January 8, 2020 at 9:50 pm | UPDATED: January 8, 2020 at 11:27 pm
Capistrano Valley’s Zach Roberts hits the game-winner over the Mission Viejo defense during their 41-40 victory over Mission Viejo in a South Coast League boys basketball game in Mission Viejo on Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2020. (Photo by Kevin Sullivan, Orange County Register/SCNG)
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MISSION VIEJO – South Coast League boys basketball games often go back and forth like windshield wipers.
One of those games happened Wednesday. Capistrano Valley had a big lead early, Mission Viejo rallied in the fourth quarter to take the lead and hold it for most of the fourth quarter, but Capistrano Valley won it 41-40 on Zach Roberts’ layup with 15 seconds left.
“A lot of times when Capo and Mission play each other,” said Capistrano Valley’s Brian Mulligan, who is in his 25th season as the team’s head coach, “stuff like this happens and then it gets really weird down the stretch. I’ve been involved in way too many 41-40s and 39-38s.”
It was the league opener for Capistrano Valley. The Cougars, No. 3 in the Orange County top 25, are 16-1 overall. No. 7 Mission Viejo (16-3) beat Trabuco Hills in its league opener Monday for its 10th win in a row.
Capistrano Valley had a 12-point lead in the third quarter. The Diablos scored 10 of the quarter’s final 12 points to trail the Cougars 36-33 going into the fourth quarter.
Mission Viejo took its first lead at 38-36 with 5:16 remaining on Jake Conerty’s two free throws. A free throw by the Diablos’ Griff Higgins made it 39-36.
Capistrano Valley’s Brody Sumner made a game-tying 3-pointer with 3:04 to go. Nathan Hewitt put Mission Viejo back on top 40-39 with a free throw with 1:14 left.
After a series of timeouts and missed shots by both teams, Capistrano Valley came up with a loose ball and got it to Roberts for the winning layup with 15 seconds remaining.
Mission Viejo’s following possession yielded a couple of make-able shots that did not fall as time expired.
Capistrano Valley senior guard Connor Gleason scored a game-high 14 points. Sumner finished with 11 points and three 3s and Langston Redfield, whose brother Max was a football and basketball standout at Mission Viejo, scored 10 points with 10 rebounds.
Higgins led Mission Viejo with 11 points. Conerty scored six points and had 12 rebounds.
Sumner opened the game with a 3 to give the Cougars a lead they would not relinquish until the fourth quarter. They had a 14-5 advantage at the end of the first quarter and were ahead 24-14 at halftime.
Capistrano Valley made 18 of 44 shots (41 percent) and took only two free throws, making one. Mission Viejo was 12 for 37 from the field (32 percent) and 11 for 20 at the free-throw line.
Capistrano Valley plays a league game at home Friday against San Clemente. Mission Viejo’s next game is a league game Wednesday, Jan. 15 at Aliso Niguel.