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Jay Paris: When Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon meet, the stars come out

The Florida State chant could be heard from outside Torrey Pines High’s gym.

You sure we got the right place?

Oh, it’s correct, and the packed stands proved it.

Torrey Pines and La Costa Canyon renewed their spirited basketball rivalry and why wouldn’t Florida State quarterback Jameis Winston be there?

Winston, in Carlsbad prepping for the NFL draft, was among the capacity crowd, which made Monday night more special.

“Is that really Winston?’’ one parent asked.

It was and for his sake, let’s hope he was cheering for the Falcons. Never mind it was the Maverick’s faithful that greeted him with the cheer Seminole boosters made famous.

To put it in jargon that Winston can embrace in how the game relates to the College Football Playoff semifinal: Torrey Pines was Oregon and La Costa Canyon was Florida State.

The Falcons shellacked the Mavericks, 68-42, and now we know why Winston switched sides at halftime.

Although he didn’t stay with the TP fans when the third quarter started.

But a tip of the helmet to the 2013 Heisman Trophy winner for making the cross-court trek for a selfie with his new, best friends.

The Winston sighting — although with ex-NBA players Jud Buechler (Poway High) and Chris Dudley (TP) — only added to a night that illustrated what makes North County basketball so special.

Sure Friday night lights and football dominates the prep sports scene.

But don’t discount a bustling gym with spectators sitting shoulder-to-shoulder no matter where you looked; or the sound of squeaky sneakers, boisterous student bodies and the fragrance of buttery popcorn, which tickles the senses.

We’re trying to make sense of co-No. 1 LCC getting pushed around by No. 3 TP.

The Falcons’ stifling defense was a riddle the Mavericks never did solve. That LCC star Brady Twombly had 13 points, but was the only Mustang to reach double figures, tells you much.

TP (17-2) proved why it was keen on Monday and why it’ll be a force moving forward.

It has a balanced attack, is hard-nosed on defense and if players don’t get the proper position for rebounds, the next voice they hear is from coach John Olive.

“You have to block out!’’ Olive stressed during a time out.

The Falcons’ avenged last year’s loss on LCC’s Tommy McCarthy’s late shot thanks to Dominic Hovasse and Marek Sullivan each scoring 14 points.

Jackson Strong added 12 points and to reveal the strength of TP’s depth, nine players scored.

That’s the on-court stuff and really only half the fun.

The cheers and jeers from the students were of the “A” caliber.

When a player made a turnover, he was greeted with: “You can’t do that!”

Of course a shot not touching rim got the “Air Ball” chant.

The Mavericks (12-6) were down by 13 points in the first half before cutting the deficit to four with two minutes left in the second quarter.

But the Falcons’ touch from deep was too much for LCC.

With nine 3-pointers, the Falcons had too much firepower for the Mavericks and here come the chants.

“This is our house!” the TP side hollered.

“We really fed off them,’’ Hovasse said.

They got their fill.

Before the night was over, they yelled about beating LCC in football and near the end, serenaded the Mavericks with “This is over!” and ‘‘Thanks for coming!”

But really this season is just starting.

TP begins Palomar League play with three road games, including Friday’s contest at Mt. Carmel.

LCC, which has lost two of its last three, revs up Avocado West League action at El Camino Friday.

Two more great Friday night match ups bring with them one question:

Think Winston will be at either one?

Contact Jay Paris at [email protected]. Follow him on Twitter at jparis_sports and at


This story has been corrected since its original posting.