SAN DIEGO — For two minutes and 45 seconds, the CIF semifinal playoff game at Mira Mesa High, belonged to Poway's Jud Buechler.
And when Buechler was through, the Poway boys basketball team was on its way to the San Diego Sports Arena to defend its San Diego Section 3-A Conference title.
Poway beat Sweetwater, 70-64 , on Saturday before an overflow crowd of 3,100. Poway (23-1) will play Morse (15-6) in the title game Feb. 27 in the Sports Arena. Sweetwater finished the season 24-4.
Poway led, 49-42, with 2:45 left in the third quarter, when Buechler got hot. He hit two consecutive 18-footers to put Poway up by 11 and after Sweetwater came back to 55-46, Buechler made the game breaker.
Poway had the ball with 21 seconds and were playing for the final shot of the quarter. Poway lost the ball in the Sweetwater end with eight seconds left. Buechler scrambled for the loose ball, but his shot was short. He outmuscled Mahlon Williams for the rebound in layed the ball in at the buzzer.
Sweetwater never recovered.
"In the third quarter, Andy (Byrne) kept hitting me with passes," Buechler said. "I felt very comfortable with my shot."
Buechler, who finished with 17 points, did not think the convincing victory was Poway's best of the season, however.
"We did not play as well as we did against Bonita Vista," he said, alluding to Poway's 106-52 win in the first round of the playoffs.
Poway's win negated Sweetwater's hopes of avenging Poway's win over Sweetwater in last season's playoffs.
"They're extremely tough on the boards," Buechler said. "Everyone of those guys crashes the boards. When Mahlon (Williams) got his fourth foul (in the third quarter), Johnny (Colborne) took over."
Colborne finished with a game-high 17 rebounds and 15 points. Dominick Johnson scored 23 points and had 10 rebounds. Larry Willson led Sweetwater with 14 points.
Johnson was very strong in the opening minutes of the game. He scored 14 points in the first quarter to help Poway take early leads of 17-8 and 20-12. Johnson continally worked his way open under the basket for lobs from guards Byrne and Dave Anderson.
Sweetwater closed to 20-17 in the first quarter, however( much on the inside play of Williams who had four points in the quarter and nine in the game.
Poway opened up the game in the second quarter. Colborne, who had eight rebounds in the first half, put Poway up, 34-27, with a layup before halftime. Poway led, 34-27, at intermission.