Brea-Olinda High School put up a fight but couldn't put away powerful Rolling Hills in the Southern Section 3-A playoffs Tuesday night.
For a victorious coach, Rolling Hills' Cliff Warren didn't look very happy. His Titans' 60-56 second-round victory at Sonora was anything but easy.
"It doesn't get any tougher than this," Warren said after the game, smiling for the first time in two hours. "We had to play our best offensive shooting game of the year to win it.
"And we got lucky too. You have to be lucky."
Perhaps it was luck that helped Rolling Hills improve its record to 24-3, but a tough defense, along with clutch free throws from Trent Warren down the stretch, didn't hurt.
Neither team led by more than five points. Brea-Olinda took a 54-50 lead on a baseline jump shot by Alan Reyes with 4:37 left in the game, but the Wildcats scored only one basket the rest of the way.
The Wildcats still clung to the lead, 56-55, with two minutes remaining, but forward Greg Gehr put the Titans ahead to stay, 57-56, on a basket with 1:39 left.
Brea-Olinda tried to regain the lead on its next possession, but Reyes threw an air ball that Gehr rebounded for Rolling Hills. The Titans held the ball for almost a minute before Reyes intentionally fouled Cam Terry with 17 seconds remaining.
Terry made one of two free throws to make it 58-56, and Rolling Hills retained possession because of the intentional foul. Ron Thomas was forced to foul Warren, who sank both free throws to give the Titans a 60-56 lead with 10 seconds left.
"It was a very hard-fought game," said Rick Jones of Brea-Olinda (18-9). "I really don't think we could have played a better game. We had a chance to win it, but we just couldn't get it done."
Etiwanda 79, Bolsa Grande 76--Bolsa Grande led for most of the game and had a 65-59 advantage with 6:35 left. However, Etiwanda (25-3) outscored Bolsa Grande by 13-1 over the next five minutes to go ahead by 72-66 with 1:35 left.
Etiwanda's Dion Tolbert went 8 for 8 from the foul line in the last six minutes. Barry Howard led Etiwanda with 22 points and Martel Willis had 19.
For Bolsa Grande (16-7), Nam Cao led all scorers with 25 points. Joe Small had 22 points before he fouled out with 3:52 left in the game.