SAN DIEGO — It came down to two of the county's best players taking their best shots Saturday in the San Diego Section 2-A boys' basketball championship.
One made his; the other didn't.
Oceanside's Junior Seau, the county's second-leading scorer during the regular season, hit a short jump shot in the lane with 35 seconds remaining.
El Camino's Edmond Johnson, the county's leading scorer during the regular season, missed a lean-in jumper with two seconds left, and Oceanside had a 53-51 victory over cross-town rival El Camino in the Sports Arena.
"This was the kind of game you want to see in the finals," said Ray Johnson, El Camino coach. "I think even the people who were here waiting for the next game to start had to enjoy it."
In avenging last season's 61-35 loss to El Camino in the 2-A final, Oceanside is 23-7. It was the team's third section championship in four years. El Camino finished 23-4.
The Pirates, under their first-year coach, Don Montamble, took control of the game in the first quarter by using a play they had come up with only last week during practice.
"We ran an entry option (an option play designed to free a man underneath) that El Camino hadn't seen yet, and our kids executed it to perfection," Montamble said.
Oceanside scored seven baskets in the first quarter, all on layups off the entry option, to take a 17-8 lead after the first eight minutes.
Oceanside's matchup zone held El Camino without a field goal in the second quarter, and the Pirates took a 29-18 halftime lead.
Seau had 15 first-half points to lead the Pirates and forward Darrell Noble added seven points, all in the first quarter.
Johnson, meanwhile, was struggling. El Camino's point guard went just 1 for 7 from the floor and had two shots blocked.
In the second half, however, Johnson (19 points for the game) rallied his team.
"He showed a little of everything he can do," Ray Johnson said.
With Oceanside holding a 42-34 lead, Johnson scored on a three-point play and, on the next possession, passed inside to Lee Cobb, who hit a short jumper to make it 42-39 after three quarters.
Johnson had success in the second half penetrating the Oceanside defense and feeding inside to Cobb. With 5:29 to play, Cobb scored again off a Johnson assist, and the game was tied at 45.
At that point, Noble came up with a pair of inside field goals, but Johnson countered with two baskets.
Seau scored to put Oceanside ahead, but Johnson came back with a jumper to tie the game at 51 with one minute left.
Montamble called for a timeout to set up a play for Seau, who finished with a game-high 23 points.
Seau drove the lane but was met by two El Camino defenders. He pulled up and hit the short jumper to put Oceanside ahead.
After an El Camino turnover, Seau missed the front end of a one-and-one to give Johnson one last chance. He drove the length of the floor but missed a 15-footer.