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THE PREPS : Tournament of Champions : Needing 2 Big Plays, El Toro Gets 1, Loses

December 20, 1987|ELLIOTT TEAFORD | Times Staff Writer

Twice was too much to ask for El Toro High School in Saturday night's Tournament of Champions final against Westchester at Cal Poly Pomona.

Bret Johnson, El Toro guard, made a three-point jumper with 6 seconds left to send the game into overtime. But in the overtime period, guard Mike Van Riette missed a three-pointer from the same spot, and Westchester held on for a 74-72 win.

The play ended a wild championship game and ended El Toro's hopes of becoming the only Orange County school other than Mater Dei to win this tournament.

Mater Dei won consecutive titles from 1983-85.

In overtime, Westchester guard Sam Crawford, the tournament's most valuable player, hit a three-pointer to put the Comets (7-0) ahead, 72-69. Johnson made a driving layup and was fouled, hit the free throw, and El Toro pulled even with 1:28 left in overtime.

Crawford, who had 24 points, then stole the ball from Eric Speaker and made a layup to put Westchester ahead, 74-72 with 15 seconds left.

El Toro hurried the ball upcourt. Johnson had the ball on the left side, spun as if he were going to take the shot, then passed instead to Van Riette.

Van Riette was standing unguarded along the left baseline.

"Mike should not feel guilty about missing that shot," El Toro Coach Tim Travers said. "In a one-point game, one shot doesn't make that much difference.

"What can you say when it comes down to a last shot like that? Anything can happen. It was a whoever-had-the-ball-last-type of thing."

Johnson, who led El Toro with 22 points, didn't miss the end of regulation, though. The Chargers (6-2) trailed, 69-66, and hadn't made a point since 4:24 left in regulation.

But after Crawford made a rare turnover with 20 seconds left, the Chargers worked it to Johnson, who swished the shot to tie it at 69-69.

There were still six seconds left, however, and Crawford made the most of them. He took the inbounds pass and sped upcourt, his eyes riveted to the clock. Just in front of the three-point line on the right side, he pulled up for a shot.

It was straight, but rimmed out as the buzzer sounded.

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