MISSION VIEJO -- Michael Cramer scored 17 of his game-high 20 points in the second half for Mission Viejo and sparked a third-quarter surge to oust Crescenta Valley, 65-60, in the semifinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 1A playoffs on Tuesday night.
Cramer was instrumental in Mission Viejo’s little third-quarter run that separated the two teams in a closely contested game.
Mission Viejo (27-3), ranked No. 17 by ESPN Los Angeles, outscored Crescenta Valley, 8-0, early in the third quarter and turned a one-point, halftime lead into a seven-point advantage. Cramer scored six of his team’s eight points in that run and Mission Viejo built a lead it would not surrender.
Crescenta Valley (26-5) jumped out to the early lead, 22-15, in the first quarter. But Mission Viejo rallied to take a 29-26 lead near the end of the second period.
Dylan Kilgour hit a pair of 3-pointers just before halftime to give Crescenta Valley a one-point lead, 32-31. But Mission Viejo’s Max Redfield scored a basket at the end of the first half for a 33-32 lead.
“It’s a credit to our guys’ toughness and ability to play through adversity,” Crescenta Valley coach Shawn Zarganian said. “That’s what these guys are about.”
Crescenta Valley opened the second half with a 6-2 run to take a 38-35 lead. That’s when Mission Viejo started to break away.
Cramer converted two free throws to give his team a one-point lead, 39-38. Evan Zeller made it 41-38 with a basket. Then Cramer pushed the lead to 45-38 with a basket and a pair of free throws.
Mission Viejo led the rest of the way. Cramer was one of three players from Mission Viejo who scored in double figures. He was 9-for-10 from the free-throw line in the second half.
“We do what we can to get him to the foul line,” Mission Viejo coach Troy Roelen said.
Redfield finished with 14 points and Zeller had 11.
Davis Dragovich scored 13 points to lead Crescenta Valley. Kilgour scored 11 points and made three 3-pointers. Cole Currie scored eight points in the second half and finished with 10.
Top-seeded Mission Viejo plays Orange Lutheran in the Southern Section Division 1A championship game on Saturday night.
“All year, we’ve been playing with a chip on our shoulders,” Roelen said. “They’re looking forward to Saturday night.”