The No. 3-seeded Mustangs led from the start, so by the end of the first half, when guard and East Bay Athletic League MVP Ryan Whalen hit a three-pointer with just four seconds on the clock to bring the score to 31-22 in the Mustangs favor, it looked like the game was well in their control.
But De La Salle, the No. 1 seed and seven-time championship winners, wouldn't give up easily. In a 8-0 run in the last 45 seconds of the third quarter and first minute of the fourth, De La Salle pulled within four to 42-38.
Monte Vista regained its margin with a three-pointer from Cam Fenley with just over two minutes left on the clock. Throughout the night Fenley, who finished with six points and seven rebounds, was a force in the paint. Forward Drew McAllister scored a game-high 12 points and added seven rebounds to the team effort.
But within seconds of Fenley's three, De La Salle struck back with three of their own.
In the final minute and a half, Monte Vista was 0-for-3 from the free throw line and committed two turnovers in the final 1:50. De La Salle, unable to capitalize on the play, missed its last six shots and turned the ball over once at the end of the game.
The championship title is Monte Vista's first in boy's basketball, although the Mustangs have been close before. In 2006, the team lost in the semifinals. In 2005, they were ousted in the first round - both times by De La Salle.
Both Monte Vista and De La Salle advance to NorCal finals where they will compete against other section winners.
Girls basketball: Title eludes Mustang girls
Monte Vista girls mustered through a tight win over San Leandro on Thursday to win the bid to the finals, but Saturday the team couldn't find the strength it needed to beat 16-time champion Berkeley High.
The 2007 North Coast Section Championship title went to the Yellowjackets after a 61-42 game played in Berkeley.
Monte Vista held on through the first quarter but a 18-4 Yellowjacket run in the second put the half-time score at 35-15. Despite a team effort, the Mustangs never recovered the deficit. Stephanie Cornell led Monte Vista with 10 points.
Both Berkeley and Monte Vista advance to NorCal finals where they will compete against other section winners.