SAN JOSE -- Piedmont Hills stared at a substantial deficit with five minutes to play Saturday night and responded the way it normally does -- with a furious rally.
The host Pirates completed the comeback when J.J. Espanola buried a 3-pointer from the top of the key with 45 seconds left as they edged Leland 49-47 in a crucial Blossom Valley Athletic League Mount Hamilton Division game.
"I just wanted to hit this so we could get the win," said Espanola, who finished with 12 points.
Piedmont Hills moved a game ahead of Leigh, which lost to Willow Glen on Saturday, and two games ahead of Leland.
Leland was determined to stay in the hunt, answering a 13-0 run with a 13-0 run of its own at the end of the first half and the beginning of the second.
The Chargers led 21-20 at halftime and 38-31 entering the fourth. Their advantage widened to 43-34 with five minutes to play.
Everything seemed to be going Leland's way until Piedmont Hills started forcing turnovers and hitting big shots. Sophomore Rey Lowe made two of his five 3-pointers in the fourth quarter. Eros Mendoza drove twice down the stretch for layups, the second one pulling the Pirates to within 47-45 with two minutes left.
The score remained that way until Espanola got the ball on what Pirates coach Pete Simos calls a "Pick and Pop" play. The shot gave Piedmont Hills a 48-47 lead. Espanola added a free throw later, and the Pirates held off Leland in the closing seconds.
"We got lucky to escape with a win with these guys both times," Simos said. "They're incredibly tough. They're incredibly well-coached."
Piedmont Hills didn't get a point from standout Walter Bateast, who was the center of Leland's attention near the basket. So the Pirates instead relied on the long ball, finishing with nine 3-pointers.
Lowe, who led Piedmont Hills with 15 points, noted that he had been in a slump but added, "Tonight I felt my shot going in. I felt like I was finally playing up to my potential."
Serra 65, Archbishop Mitty 59: Archbishop Mitty's streak of 24 consecutive victories over West Catholic Athletic League opponents ended as Henry Caruso had 20 points and 10 rebounds to propel host Serra.
Jacqui Biggins and Andre Miller added 15 points apiece for the Padres, who still trail No. 1 Mitty by a game in the league standings with two to play. The loss was Mitty's first to a WCAL foe since Serra beat the visiting Monarchs 61-59 in January 2012.
Mitty's Aaron Gordon had 19 points and 21 rebounds.
Scotts Valley won the Central Coast Section girls wrestling title at Oak Grove High, finishing 25 points ahead of runner-up Terra Nova. Overfelt took third, followed by Gunn and South San Francisco.
Overfelt was the only school with two individual champs -- Jasmine Mendoza (138 pounds) and Crystal Soto (154).