DANVILLE -- Spencer Rust had the go-ahead bucket, then came up with the game-saving play to lift the Monte Vista High boys basketball team to a 41-38 East Bay Athletic League victory over De La Salle on Friday night.
The 6-foot-9 senior scored with 30 seconds left and blocked a shot on the other end with less than 10 seconds to play to keep the host Mustangs unbeaten on the season in their biggest challenge to date.
"Coach (Nick Jones) always says the game ahead of us is the biggest game but we've been looking forward to this game for a long time," said Rust, who finished with 14 points as Monte Vista improved to 16-0 overall and 4-0 in the EBAL. "We want to beat De La Salle more than anyone. They came in here last year and took a little bit of our pride away but we got it back tonight."
Rust's final layup, which was assisted by Brenden Pedley, came after De La Salle had rallied back from a 12-point halftime deficit. The Spartans (11-3, 3-1 EBAL) used a 10-0 run that started at the end of the third quarter to pull even early in the fourth.
The back-and-fourth final quarter ended when De La Salle turned the ball over after Trevor John had hit a pair of free throws with 5.5 seconds left to give Monte Vista a three-point cushion. Monte Vista's student section rushed the court moments later in celebration of their victory over the five-time defending EBAL champions.
"Defense is what we do," Rust said. "Our offense comes naturally but defense is what we really pride ourselves on. It's going to be our identity for the rest of the year and it's going to carry us far."
John finished with 15 points to lead Monte Vista.
Jordan Ratinho paced De La Salle with 11 points and played a key role in the Spartans' second half come back after they managed just four points in the second period.
Monte Vista 41, De La Salle 38
De La Salle (10-4, 3-1 EBAL)
Hill 1 3-4 6, Peters 4 0-0 8, Daul 1 0-0 3, Asiasi 2 1-4 5, Marr 1 3-4 5, Ratinho 4 2-2 11. Totals 13 9-14 38.
Monte Vista (16-0, 4-0)
John 5 3-4 15, Jackson 3 2-4 8, Mitu 1 0-0 3, Satoor 0 1-2 1, Rust 7 0-0 14. Totals 16 6-10 41.
DLS 7 4 15 12-- 38
Monte Vista 12 11 7 11-- 41
3-point goals: Hill, Ratinho, Daul, John 2, Mitu.