If there ever was a time Mira Costa was looking for a spark, the Mustangs desperately needed one Wednesday.
With their captain out and their quarterfinal slipping away, Mira Costa was looking for something to rally behind, anything to get excited about.
In stepped Lucy Codron.
Codron's 3-pointer at the start of the fourth quarter seemed to ignite Mira Costa, which rallied for a 44-39 victory over second-seeded Buena on Wednesday in the CIF Southern Section Division II-AA quarterfinals.
The shot looked good from the moment it left the hands of Codron, a rarely used guard who stepped up when senior captain Kali Hamilton went down with an anterior cruciate ligament injury in the first half.
Codron finished with six points - on two 3-pointers. But her fourth-quarter shot gave Mira Costa (23-7) the hope it needed to reach Saturday's semifinal at Edison.
"I'm so in shock," Codron admitted. "I came out there, knew the team was depending on me, and I didn't want to let them down.
"Throughout the whole year, I practice my 3s, and it paid off tonight. I was so fired up."
Codron averages 2.5 points per game and even missed the first two playoff games because she was on a school-sponsored Holocaust tour of Germany, the Czech Republic, Poland and the Netherlands.
Codron scored the only three points of Mira Costa's second quarter when the Mustangs saw their 11-4 lead turn into a 19-14 halftime deficit.
Buena eventually opened up a 10-point lead with 1:07 left in the third quarter.
But Mira Costa scored the final five points of the third quarter, then Codron's 3-pointer provided the necessary spark.
"Lucy came up big - that's what got us going," said guard Amanda Johnson, who had 16 points and three assists.
"I know we didn't want to go down tonight, not on our home court and not with our senior going down with an ACL surgery. It was not sitting well with us."
Hamilton's injury was eerily similar to Johnson's season-
ending ACL tear during last year's quarterfinal.
Mira Costa managed to rally together and advance to the CIF title game and the state final.
"I know the feeling of ACL injuries during quarterfinals," Johnson said. "We were all in shock about Kali. We (played) terribly in the second quarter - we were horrible.
"(Coach Don) Braunecker told us at halftime we had no heart in the first half. Even (assistant coach) Craig (Takahashi) came in and said the same thing, and he never says anything like that. We were not messing around after that. We wanted to get it done."
Kacie Sowell scored 13 points and Keani Albanez added nine for Buena (22-8).
Whitney Daniels had eight points, eight rebounds and four blocks for Mira Costa.
Jasmine Rutledge contributed seven points, nine rebounds and three assists.
Rutledge made some key plays late to keep Mira Costa in front.
When Johnson missed the front end of a one-and-one free-throw with Mira Costa clinging to a 41-39 lead, Rutledge tipped the rebound back to Johnson, who made one of two free throws.
After two misses by Buena, Rutledge made two free throws to ice the game.