The Rancho Alamitos High School basketball team went to the Bolsa Grande gym Wednesday in search of the Garden Grove league title.
The Vaqueros got it, but not without a struggle, as the Matadors extended the Vaqueros into overtime before eventually losing, 83-79.
The Matadors could have won in regulation. Leading, 75-73, with 12 seconds to play, Bolsa Grande played sound defense as Rancho Alamitos set up its last shot.
A long-range jumper by the Vaqueros missed, but the Matadors failed to block Mark Flores off the boards.
That mistake would eventually cost them the game.
Flores rebounded the ball with three seconds left and put it back up for a basket to tie the score and force the extra period.
Rancho Alamitos then outscored Bolsa Grande, 9-4, in overtime to pull out the victory and league championship.
Bolsa Grande fell behind, 20-8, in the first period, but the Matadors closed the gap to five points at halftime before eventually taking the lead late in the third quarter. The teams then essentially traded baskets until overtime.
Bolsa Grande forward Joe Small led all scorers with 29 points, but it wasn't enough to help offset the balance of Rancho Alamitos, which received double-figure scoring from all five starters.
Roger Carter led the Vaqueros with 28 points, followed by Randy Morales with 19 and Mark Flores with 12.
Rancho Alamitos prefers a half-court offense--so it can toss the ball inside to 7-foot 1-inch center Lee Velasquez, let Carter shoot from the outside or use Morales to penetrate the middle.
All three tactics worked fairly well Wednesday night, with Morales particularly effective in picking his spots to drive for the layup or pass the ball off to Velasquez or Carter for the score.
Rancho Alamitos improved to 8-2 in league and 14-8 overall. Second-place Bolsa Grande fell to 6-3 and 13-8.
RANCHO ALAMITOS (83)--Carter 28, Morales 19, Velasquez 11, Paquette 11, Flores 12, Rambayon 2.
BOLSA GRANDE (79)--Cao 7, Brown 9, Afdahl 16, Small 29, Nguyen 18.
Garden Grove 47, Los Amigos 40--The Argonauts (5-4, 14-9) remained tied with La Quinta for third place with the win. Henry Fournier paced Garden Grove with 20 points. Gene Altamarano was the only Lobo to reach double figures, leading his team with 12 points.
LOS AMIGOS (40)--Anderson 2, Howard 9, Davis 9, Altamarano 12, Hyatt 2, Garcia 2, Skipps 2, Lacy 2.
GARDEN GROVE (47)--Contreras 2, Kanegae 6, Kiefer 7, Finch 6, Fournier 20, Woodward 6.
La Quinta 46, Santiago 44--Bart Recktenwald sank two free throws and Mike Whitcomb sank another to help the Aztecs hold off the Cavaliers in the final 32 seconds of play at Santiago High. The Cavaliers (0-8, 3-17) have now lost six of their eight league games by a total of 12 points. La Quinta improved to 5-4 and 8-10.
LA QUINTA (46)--Ramsey 7, Whitcomb 10, Recktenwald 6, Bennett 11, Buford 6, Joe 2, Lee 4.
SANTIAGO (44)--Dinh 4, Avila 12, Hank 2, Klungreseter 8, Burns 18.