It has taken 18 years, but the Irvine Valley men's basketball team earned its first ever state championships berth.
The Lasers, seeded fourth defeated No. 5 Mt. San Antonio, 72-71, in overtime in a CCCAA Southern Regional Playoff Final Saturday night at IVC to advance.
The team will start play in the CCCAA State Championships Friday, March 12, at Cal Lutheran University in Thousand Oaks.
Official pairings for the state tournament will be listed on Sunday. But with No. 3 Riverside's loss to Saddleback in overtime in a regional final on Saturday, IVC will move up to the third seed and if pairings hold up should play the No. 2 team from Northern California on Friday at 1 p.m.
Saturday's game at Irvine Valley was back and forth throughout. There were nine lead changes and 11 ties in the contest.
And it went down to the wire in both regulation and overtime.
IVC freshman forward Joe Eberhard made a runner in the lane with 31 seconds left in regulation to tie it 65-65. Mt. SAC's Antonio Biglow missed a deep three-pointer at the end of regulation and the teams went to overtime.
Irvine Valley (26-4) scored the first four points of overtime and then barely held on to beat the Mounties (25-5).
The Lasers had a 72-69 lead with 19 seconds left after Eberhard made 1 of 2 free throws. Biglow got in the lane and scored on a lay-up with six seconds left to make it 72-71.
Mt. SAC called a timeout to set up its defense. And Irvine Valley sophomore forward Max Carrier got called for a 5-count on the ensuing in bounds play.
Biglow missed another deep three-pointer as time expired.
Biglow, who was averaging 20.9 points per game, finished with 28 points. He was 8 of 29 from the field and 3 of 12 from three-point range. Biglow added four assists and five steals in 40 minutes.
Laquenten Jones had 15 points and six steals for Mt. SAC.
IVC was led by freshman forward Travis Fulton with 22 points and 12 rebounds in 43 tough minutes and sophomore guard/forward Durrell Norman, who had 19 points and 10 rebounds. Norman did commit nine turnovers.
Eberhard added 16 points and seven rebounds.
The teams combined for 48 turnovers (28 for IVC) and 52 fouls in the game.
IVC shot 47.5 percent (29 of 61) as a team from the field, while Mt. SAC was 21 of 66 for 31.8 percent.
Mt. SAC was just 3 of 17 from three-point range (17.6 percent) and made 26 of 37 free throws (70.3 percent). IVC was just 2 of 15 from three-point range (13.3 percent) and 12 of 22 (54.5 percent) from the free throw line.
Irvine Valley out-scored Mt. SAC in the paint, 54-30.