Castro Valley High watched Oakland High boys basketball star Jabari Brown rally his team in the fourth quarter of Saturday's California Interscholastic Federation Division I Northern regional semifinal at Washington High.
But the Trojans stepped up at the right moment on defense to survive and beat the Wildcats 63-60, advancing to the NorCal championship game for the first time in school history.
Top-seeded Castro Valley (30-1) will face No. 2 De La Salle (27-5) next Saturday at Sacramento's Power Balance Pavilion (formerly Arco Arena) at 8 p.m. in a rematch of the North Coast Section final won by the Trojans.
"We've been waiting for this for four years," Castro Valley senior Juan Anderson said. "We've been knocked off every year, so this is real big for us."
No. 4 Oakland (19-9), which trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half, came up with a steal and called timeout with 9.5 seconds left trailing 63-60.
Brown, an Oregon-bound senior guard, took the inbound pass and looked to get off a shot. But he was doubled teamed by Anderson and Chris Read and passed to Jalen Headspeth. He had a look at a 3-pointer from the corner, but it went off the front of the rim and time expired as Castro Valley controlled the long rebound.
"We drew up a play to get the ball to Jabari," Oakland coach Orlando Watkins said. "If he got a look, he was supposed to take it. They doubled him, he trusted his teammate, and it just came up a little short."
The Trojans defense was swarming in the first half to help Castro Valley build a 41-28 lead. Oakland also trailed 59-46 with 3:19 to play before it roared back. Brown scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the fourth quarter.
"We really wanted to emphasize that defense is what's been getting us here," Trojans coach Nick Jones said. "And that last possession, our defense was very good. They did exactly what we told them in the huddle. They improvised a little on their own based on the situation, and Brown had to pass it. It worked out perfectly."
Marquette-bound Anderson finished with 23 points, 10 rebounds and five blocks. Roderick Bobbitt added 14 points and Alex Foster had 12 for Castro Valley.
Dominique Taplin scored 15 points and T.J. Taylor had 13 for Oakland.