If you ask Mission Prep boys basketball head coach Terrence Harris, Wednesday night’s upset win in the first round of the playoffs over St. Bernard was already written.
With Mission Prep down one point with just less than 30 seconds to go against the No. 1 seed in CIF-Southern Section Division 2A, Harris drew up one of his favorite plays.
“I told the boys I had a dream on Monday, let’s run it,” Harris said.
In his dream, Mission Prep senior Ander Villacana made a 3-pointer from the corner for the win. Harris told the team about it Tuesday.
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“It’s hard to believe when you hear something like that, but he has been through it so many times, you got to trust him. And we all trust him,” Mission Prep senior Kyle Colvin said.
Harris called his dream play, and Villacana made it come true. He hit the corner 3-pointer with 11 seconds left on the clock to put the Royals up by two points.
Then, Mission Prep defense — which allowed just five points to St. Bernard in the third quarter — got another crucial stop, and a pair of Sean Scarry free throws sealed the 54-50 upset win.
“I believed him,” Villacana said when he heard about Harris’ dream. “We couldn’t let it end like that.”
The shot was redemption for Villacana, who was benched halfway through the season.
“I took him out of the starting lineup for a game or two, and I told him, ‘I need more out of you,’ ” Harris said. “Gosh, he has responded.”
Villacana, who finished with five points, gave the Royals the lead, but it was Colvin who led the Royals to victory. The Royals’ leading scorer had eight of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter, doing it from in the paint and deep behind the 3-point line.
On the final play, Colvin drew the attention of all five St. Bernard players, setting up a bounce-pass assist to Villacana for the game-winning shot.
“This win was big,” Colvin said. “We were in a tough position playing the first seed in the first round, but we are ready and we want to prove that we are hands down the best team on the Central Coast.”
Mission Prep will have to prove itself again on the road Friday against Valencia.
A.G. wins on buzzer beater
Mission Prep wasn’t the only SLO County team to come away with a dramatic upset win Wednesday.
Arroyo Grande senior Bryan Smith scored with two seconds left in the game to lift the Eagles to a comeback win over Cabrillo in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3A playoffs, 47-46. It was the first loss for the Los Padres League champions since Dec. 30, 2017.
Smith finished the game with 11 points and helped spark comeback after Atascadero trailed by nine points at halftime. Sophomore Gage Gomez led Arroyo Grande with 15 points, and junior Caleb Whalen added 11 points.
The good news is Arroyo Grande will have a home game Friday. The bad news is that it’s against the top-ranked team in Division 3A, Notre Dame (Riverside).
SLO High cruises to playoff win
SLO High freshman Assani Berkeley scored 14 of his 17 points in the first half to give the Tigers a 73-52 win over Alhambra at home in the first round of the CIF-Southern Section Division 4AA playoffs.
Senior Addasson Wright was the leading scorer for SLO High with 18 points, and sophomore Carson Leedom added 16 points.
SLO High, who entered the playoffs as the No. 4 seed, will go on the road to play San Marino in the second round Friday.