Edison High School basketball Coach Jon Borchert's team posted four 10s on the scoreboard, but Estancia's Joe Reid countered with an ace-in-the-hole in guard Mike Baker, giving Estancia a hard-fought 42-40 victory Friday.
Baker's off-balance, 20-foot jump shot at the buzzer broke a 40-40 tie and helped the Eagles advance to today's semifinals of the Coast Christmas Classic in the Estancia gym.
As for another last-second victory for the Eagles, one spectator at the game said, "Typical finish for Estancia. I've seen that somewhere before."
That spectator was former Estancia guard Adam Lockwood, who now plays for Chapman College. Lockwood's comments were appropriate, considering how often the Eagles pulled out the close ones through the years.
The result was something of a surprise if only because Reid had been crying before the game that his guys didn't even belong on the same court with Edison, largely because of the Eagles' inexperience.
That Riverboat Joe. Never tips his hand until he's called.
But with any Estancia team, we're assured that it will have great guard play and that, not coincidentally, is the position that usually decides many of the close games in high school.
With Estancia, especially, the guards all seem the same every year: good dribblers, good outside shooters, they hit their free throws, ball hawk on defense and are especially adept passers.
Friday, at least, the Estancia guard corps--Baker, Kyle Mooney, and Rich Rusick--went 4 for 5 in those categories.
The shooting was fine; it was the passing that was suspect. The game was very ragged, with both sides making enough turnovers to last company throughout the holidays.
For that reason, Reid made sure that the last play of the game was a one-man show--he didn't want to risk any more mistakes with the game tied.
With four seconds remaining and the score tied at 40, the Eagles inbounded the ball from backcourt sidelines, and Baker's mad dash carried him to just left of the Edison free-throw line, where he pulled up and popped the off-balance shot to win the game.
"We told him to just dribble it as far as you can and then shoot it," Reid said. "If it works, you look like a million bucks. We didn't want to go into overtime with those guys."
Edison forward Ken Ammann and guard Mike Henderson kept the Chargers in the game after they fell behind, 39-34, late in the fourth quarter.
Ammann scored on a layup with 2:49 to play to cut the lead to 39-36, and Henderson would score the Chargers' next two baskets, the latter with just six seconds left, to tie the game at 40.
Reid suffered something of an indignity after the game when he got a big hug from his young son, who asked, "Did you lose again, daddy?"
"No," the elder Reid replied, "Not this time."
Edison fell to 7-3 while Estancia improved its record to 6-3.
In other Coast Christmas Tournament action:
Santa Ana Valley 55, Rosemead 53--The Falcons, behind 27 points from senior center Alonza Jamison moved into the consolation semifinals. Santa Ana Valley had to withstand a late Panther rally for the win. Jamison scored 12 points in the third quarter as the Falcons built a 43-35 lead going into the final period. Santa Ana Valley plays Warren today.
Iolani 70, Laguna Hills 54--Led by 16 and 14 points from Eddie Kealoha and Tyler Turvold, respectively, Iolana easily defeated the Hawks. Joe Maravick paced Laguna Hills with 18 points.
Irvine 71, Hoover 61--The Vaqueros got 17 points from Gerald Peterson and 16 from Scott Tamura as they advanced into the consolation semifinals. Irvine will play Iolani at 10:30 today.
Mission Viejo 77, Cypress 48--The Diablos advanced into the championship semifinals as they coasted past the Centurions.
Dominguez 95, California 52--The Dons moved into the championship semifinals against host Estancia with an easy victory over the Condors behind Marlon Vaughn's 22 points.
Warren 70, Long Beach Jordan 56--The Bears overwhelmed the Panthers behind a game-high 27 points from guard Steve Fendry.