SAN DIEGO — Led by Jud Buechler's 31 points, Poway High defeated Pasadena Muir, 77-74, Tuesday night in the first round of the State Regional Basketball Playoffs in Peterson Gym on the San Diego State campus.
Buechler helped seal Poway's first-ever victory in State Tournament play by hitting 15 for 15 from the free-throw line, 11 of those points coming in the fourth quarter.
In the first quarter, Buechler put on a one-man show for two minutes to help the Titans gain an advantage they would never lose.
With his team trailing, 8-6, Buechler scored on two layins and two slam dunks. Then, moments later, he drew the defense to him and bounced a pass to Dominick Johnson, who scored a layup to put Poway ahead, 16-10.
"He was exceptional as usual," Poway Coach Neville Saner said. "We had some trouble with their pressure, but he always found a way to deal with it."
In the second half, Buechler was tied up offensively by Muir's quick defense. So Poway went inside to Johnson, who responded with 11 second-half points and 24 overall.
Muir forward Stacey Augmon, too, showed moments of brilliance, but he was unable to stop Poway's inside duo, partly because he was suffering from the flu.
"I just wish you all could have seen the real Stacey Augmon," Muir Coach Mike O'Connor said. "Poway has a fine team, but I don't think they would have got the kind of inside stuff they got if Stacey was 100%."
Augmon still finished with 14 points before fouling out midway through the fourth quarter.
Even with Augmon out of the game, Muir made it interesting in the final moments, however.
Poway led, 70-60, with 1:40 remaining when the Mustangs started forcing some turnovers with their full-court press.
A jumper by Derek Brown closed the gap to 74-72 with 19 seconds remaining, but Muir could get no closer. Brown was whistled for a technical for fouling Andy Byrne as he attempted to take the ball in, and Buechler hit the free throw to make it 75-72.
Buechler then hit two more from the line with 15 seconds left to seal the win.