For three quarters of its second-round Southern Section 3-A boys' basketball playoff game Tuesday night, Saddleback High School could not shake Brea-Olinda.
But once the fourth quarter started, Saddleback shifted into a gear Brea did not have. Saddleback defeated Brea, 62-45, by outscoring the Wildcats, 26-13, in the fourth quarter at Sonora High.
Saddleback (24-4) plays Kennedy, a 58-55 winner over Antelope Valley, in the quarterfinal round on Friday. Brea finishes its season 14-11.
Until the fourth quarter, however, Saddleback looked as if it were an upset victim in waiting.
The brother combination of Malru and Gylan Dottin had totaled four points, and the Roadrunner fast break moved at a snail's pace through three periods. And worse, Saddleback led by only four (36-32).
This was just what Rick Jones, Brea coach, had hoped would happen.
"We thought if we could keep (their score) under 50 points, we would have a good chance to win," Jones said.
But when Saddleback finally jump-started its offense, the Roadrunners put the game away in swift fashion.
Saddleback built its lead to 42-34 on a jumper by Craig Marshall, but Brea scrambled back into contention and cut it to 46-41 on a basket by reserve guard David Hole with just more than 2 minutes left.
Moments later, Gylan Dottin made a pair of baskets inside, Marshall drove for two more points and Eric Jones added another drive for good measure.
By then Saddleback led, 54-43, and only 55 seconds remained.
"Maybe we just wore them down a little," Saddleback Coach Pat Quinn said.
Said Jones: "I'm happy we played hard. We just lost our concentration at the end. They're a good team. They ought to go a long way (in the playoffs)."
Saddleback can thank Marshall for keeping the Roadrunners in the game for the first three quarters.
Marshall, a 6-foot 2-inch junior swingman, had 16 of his game-high 24 points in the first half as the Roadrunners led, 24-20. He had all 10 of Saddleback's second-quarter points.
"We played the worst first half we had all season and we were still ahead," Quinn said.
Gylan Dottin picked up his third foul of the game with 2:04 left in the first quarter and sat out the rest of the first half. He did not score in the half, but finished with 12.
Malru Dottin, who Quinn said was ill, had just 2 at halftime and just 6 for the game. But he had 12 rebounds.
"He probably should not have played," Quinn said.
Brea created much of Saddleback's offensive woes early in the game. The Wildcats' pressure defense disrupted the Roadrunner offense.
A pair of underclassmen led Brea. Keith Walker, a 6-4 sophomore, led Brea with 16 points, most coming on short-range jumpers. Matt Chamberlin, a 6-5 junior, added 9 points and a team-high 7 rebounds.