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Rojas down, but not out

LE GRAND -- Noel Rojas re-entered the game to an explosion of applause and chants of "MVP" with 7:20 to play in the third quarter.

He then proceeded to play like one.

Apparently feeling no affects from the huge gash opened under his left eye, Rojas scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half.

The senior's double-pump layup with 40 seconds left put his team up for good and Le Grand brought Mariposa's 30-game Southern League winning streak to a halt with a 63-60 victory on Tuesday night.

"That was Willis Reed-like wasn't it?" Le Grand coach Raul Alvarez said. "For four years these kids have come up empty against Mariposa.

"These seniors wanted this win so badly, nothing was going to keep Noel out of the game."

There was a time when even Rojas wasn't sure that was going to be true.

The Le Grand guard opened the gash when he was fouled and knocked to the floor in the second quarter.

Rojas' head hit the court and he immediately went into the locker room for treatment.

"I just told the coaches to stitch it up, put some glue on it, whatever they had to do to get me back out there," Rojas said.

Though it won't show up in the stat sheet, LG girls basketball coach Danny Crosby gets an assist on the patch job.

Crosby provided the glue that held Rojas' wound in place long enough to finish out the game.

Rojas did the rest.

The senior came back firing, knocking down three of his four 3-pointers in the second half.

His biggest bucket, though, came in the game's waning seconds.

With the shot clock winding down and Le Grand (11-3 SL, 17-4) staked to a 60-58 lead, Rojas drove to the basket and somehow eluded the outstretched arm of Mariposa's Cody Wichmann for the layup.

"I knew if he didn't block it, it was going in," Rojas said. "I'm so excited right now.

"We've never beaten these guys in my four years here."

Mariposa (13-1 SL, 20-6) had a chance to force overtime.

Matt Chavez hit one of two free-throw attempts to make it 63-60 with 15 seconds to play.

Mariposa calmly ran its offense and Hank Northrop got a good look coming off of a screen, but his 3 caught the back of the iron and fell into Rojas' hands.

"It's so hard to beat a team three times in a season, much less a good team like Le Grand," Mariposa coach Trace DeSandres said. "We got a good look at the end and it's a shot that (Northrop) has knocked down for us many times."

Wichmann had a game-high 29 points to go along with 15 rebounds and Northrop added 13.

Lupe Diaz had a team-high 24 points and four steals for Le Grand.

At Le Grand

Mariposa 13 13 21 13 -- 60

Le Grand 12 17 17 17 -- 63

MARIPOSA -- Damon Wichas 6, Hank Northrop 13, Cassius Camus 5, Jarrett Miller 7, Cody Wichmann 29. Totals 23 13-17 60.

LE GRAND -- Lupe Diaz 24, Matt Chavez 3, Dannon Graham 4, Noel Rojas 20, Zach Moreno 4, Ian Thompson 4, Andres Zaragoza 1. Totals 23 10-17 63.

3-pointers: Mariposa 1 (Miller), Le Grand 7 (Diaz 3, Rojas 4); Total Fouls: Mariposa 16, Le Grand 13; Fouls Outs: Le Grand (Thompson).

Records: Mariposa 13-1 SL, 20-6; Le Grand 11-3 SL, 17-4.

JV -- Mariposa 62-53.