Bryant Walton couldn't miss a shot Wednesday night--even when he wanted to. With six seconds left in the game and his Saddleback High School team trailing Newport Harbor by three points, 64-61, Walton went to the free-throw line on a one-and-one opportunity.
He wanted to make the first free throw and then miss the second shot with the hope of a Saddleback teammate getting the rebound and a game-tying field goal. Walton did make the first foul shot, but the second free throw--the one he wanted to miss--was good, too, and the host Roadrunners lost the Sea View League game, 64-63.
"He can't even miss when he wants to," said Saddleback Coach Pat Quinn of Walton after the defeat. The loss kept Saddleback (7-4 in league and 14-8 overall) in fourth place and jeopardized the Roadrunners chances of making the playoffs. The Sailors (10-1, 19-3) remained alone in first place with three games to go in the regular season.
Walton was shooting so well early that it seemed he was destined to win the game for Saddleback single-handedly. The 6-foot 4-inch junior scored 19 of his game-high 26 points in the first half. Walton also came close to demolishing his body. In the first half, he knocked over a cheerleader while diving for the ball and ended up face down in the stands. In the second half, he slipped on a wet spot on the floor, did the splits, and had to play the rest of the game with a heavily wrapped thigh.
"I told my guys at the half that is was going to be a shoot out at the O.K. corral," Newport Harbor Coach Jerry DeBusk said. "They have a talented team."
So does Newport Harbor. Alan Fraser, who scored 24 points, got baskets even in the heaviest traffic. Guard Chuck McGavran had 15 points for the Sailors and helped his team more by fending off persistent Saddleback defenders.
Saddleback had a one-point lead at the half but was outscored, 15-10, in the third quarter. Fraser hit a jumper with 50 seconds left to give the Sailors a one-point lead. He then made two free throws to give Newport Harbor a 64-61 lead before Walton's two free throws.
NEWPORT HARBOR (64)--Beech 1, Fraser 24, James 2, M. Lee 2, Mase 12, McGavran 15, Sorensen 8.
SADDLEBACK (63)--Jones 2, Peterson 21, B. Walton 26, M. Walton 8, Cook 2, Deal 2.
In other Sea View League action:
Corona del Mar 63, Woodbridge 48--Guard Jeff Fryer scored 37 points, 24 in the first half, to lead the Sea Kings (8-3, 16-6) past the host Warriors (2-9, 4-13). Fryer made 15 of 20 field-goal tries and also added 7 rebounds. Woodbridge shot poorly most of the game and was held to only four points in the third period.
CORONA DEL MAR (63)--Fryer 37, Morris 7, Zimmer 6, Turner 2, Strauss 2, Smirl 3, Christiansen 4, Green 2.
WOODBRIDGE (48)--Murphy 7, Lyon 3, Townsend 4, Sullivan 14, Cryer 2, Keese 11, York 2, Phillips 5.
Estancia 71, Laguna Beach 62--The Eagles (9-2, 21-3) made 11 of 12 free-throw attempts and went on the defeat the Artists (4-7, 7-13) at Laguna Beach. Forward Scott Clements led Estancia with 20 points and teammate Rich Stamps added 17.
LAGUNA BEACH (62)--Naess 13, Jordan 10, Watford 6, Elfsten 5, McGrath 2, Herdman 25, Fortune 1.
ESTANCIA (71)--Lockwood 15, Mooney 13, Clements 20, Stamps 17, Covey 4, Furin 2.
Costa Mesa 62, University 49--Mitch Pelichowski's 21 points led Costa Mesa (4-7, 9-12) to a victory at home. Brad Arnold had 22 for University. The game was ended with 40 seconds by the officials as fans and players engaged in a shoving match.
UNIVERSITY (49)--Paulson 5, Warren 2, Arnold 22, Winslow 2, Stolzoff 13, Glassen 2, Pitchess 3.
COSTA MESA (62)--Pelichowski 21, Kimme 10, Judd 17, Louden 4, Carlson 6, Rodriguez 4.