In a Santa Fe League showdown for first place against fellow defending co-league champion Salesian of Los Angeles, the Stars would step up to the challenge from the Mustangs, and the Air Force-bound Octave would reach a rare milestone in a 56-49 victory that Mary Star (14-5 overall, 3-0 league) led from wire-to-wire to grab sole possession of first place.
With 4:29 remaining in the second quarter, Octave would work around the court without the ball before taking a pass from junior point guard Aaron Martinez and drilled a catch & shoot three-pointer to score his 2,500th (and 2,501st) career point to put Mary Star ahead, 24-14 on Salesian (15-4, 2-1), adding to his school career record and further establishing himself among the top scorers in all of CIF-Southern Section history.
The milestone was great for Octave, but he and the rest of the Stars were all business in protecting their home court in dismantling the Mustangs, who defeated the Stars the last time they visited the Taper Avenue campus in a low scoring battle in which Mary Star was without senior forward Jose Rocha, who sat out that week of action due to a concussion.
Once the third quarter began, Rocha would assert himself in the first two minutes, first with a driving layup amidst two defenders, then knocking down a three-pointer for Mary Star's biggest lead of the night at 35-22 with 6:04 to play in the period, then junior guard Adrian Alvarez would take charge with two big three-pointers to put the Stars ahead by double digits again at 41-29 with 3:29 to play.
Salesian narrowed their deficit to 44-39 with a 10-3 run to close the quarter, but the Stars remained focused and kept the pressure on by blanking the Mustangs with a relentless pressure defense in the first three minutes of the fourth quarter.
A floater from Martinez followed by a tough wing jumper from Octave would lead to the one moment of the contest that galvanized the Stars and energized the entire home crowd with 5:09 remaining in the game.
Alvarez would pull off a reverse fake spin crossover dribble to literally drop a Salesian defender on his back before finding Rocha in the corner. Rocha missed his three-point attempt but senior center Josh Fennessey was there for the offensive rebound put -back attempt. Fennessey would score while getting fouled for a 50-39 Mary Star lead but he missed the free throw.
Martinez, who along with Octave (now currently at 2,509 career points) would lead the Stars with 15 points each, would seal the deal with two fast break layups in the closing seconds, the second one coming with 44.9 seconds remaining for a 56-44 edge before the Mustangs scored the final five points.
It was another great team effort for Mary Star as Alvarez would score 14 points, and Rocha added 9 points, 6 rebounds and 5 assists as they next will face St. Monica of Santa Monica on the road Friday in another Santa Fe League game.