For three quarters, Sonora High School used some accurate free-throw shooting to stay even with Buena Park in the opening round of the Freeway League Tournament.
Sonora was 13 of 18 at the free-throw line going into the last quarter, but with the game on the line, the Raiders lost their touch and the game, 59-57, Monday night at Buena Park.
Buena Park (12-9) advances to the second round of the six-team tournament to determine the league's representatives in the Southern Section 3-A playoffs. The Coyotes will play league champion Sunny Hills (18-3) at 8 tonight. Sonora ended the season with a 9-13 record.
Sonora held a 45-44 lead going into the final quarter, and the outcome was in doubt until two seconds remained. Buena Park held a 56-53 lead with 2:19 remaining after forward Kevin Graddy scored on a drive through the lane.
Both teams had problems making free throws in the next two minutes, but the Raiders were hurt the most, missing the front end of three, one-and-one opportunities. Finally, Buena Park guard Gary Hunter made two free throws with 38 seconds remaining to give the Coyotes the victory.
"Monday night games are always ugly, you just hope you're not as ugly as your opponent," said Ken Bell, Buena Park coach. "We'll take it.
"The first time we played them, they made a ton of free throws, and we were down by 14 points with seven minutes to play. Then, they stopped hitting and we ended up winning the game."
In the other Freeway League Tournament game:
Troy 51, La Habra 47--Scott Bailey made two free throws with four seconds left to give host Troy (15-7) the victory. La Habra (5-16) led by as many as nine points in the third quarter.
In the Express League:
Claremont 79, South Bay Christian 57--Tom Patraw scored 31 points and had 17 rebounds, as Claremont (15-5, 12-1) clinched a tie for the league championship at the First Baptist Church in Torrance.