Guard Pete Bach made a free throw with 4 seconds remaining to give Fullerton High School a 74-73 victory over Western Thursday night in the championship game of the fifth Fullerton Holiday basketball tournament.
Bach scored 17 of his 19 points in the second half and was named the most valuable player of the 8-team tournament. Teammate Rene Arias led all scorers with 23 points, making 7 of 12 attempts from behind the 3-point line.
Fullerton's victory avenged an 80-71 loss to Western in the Garden Grove tournament and was the Indians' sixth in a row. Fullerton (6-3) opened the season with three losses as three starters joined the team late because of the football playoffs.
"The last time we played them, we didn't have Curtis Morris and he was the difference tonight," said Chris Burton, Fullerton's 23-year-old rookie coach. "We also made some adjustments to get Pete open in the second half because Western was doing such a great job of denying him the ball."
Western (6-2) did a fine job of shooting and pressuring Fullerton's ballhandlers most the game, but the swift pace ultimately wore down the Pioneers.
Western pressured Fullerton into 33 turnovers, including 12 in the final quarter. But the Pioneers' shooting suffered significantly; they hit only 9 of 34 attempts in the second half.
While Western cooled off, Bach got hot. The 6-foot 4-inch senior made seven consecutive shots at one point and scored 13 points in the third quarter when Fullerton trimmed a 10-point halftime deficit to 61-59.
"Sometimes Pete sees himself as our only player, and when the others start hitting, then it opens things up for him," Burton said. "He's the guy we want with the ball in his hands when the game is on the line."
Forwards Joe Romero and Sam Sabbara led Western with 19 and 17 points, but Sabbara failed on the front ends of two consecutive 1-and-1 free throw opportunities in the final minutes.
In the third-place game:
Servite 75, Cerritos 68--Forward Steve Marusich scored 7 of his 11 points in overtime to lead Servite (6-4). The Friars overcame a 16-point halftime deficit as guard Chris Johnson led a third-quarter rally with 8 of his 13 points.
Cerritos forward Robert Hinds sent the game into overtime, tying the score, 66-66, on a short bank shot with 11 seconds remaining. Marusich completed a 3-point play to begin the overtime period.
In the consolation championship:
Sonora 69, Garden Grove 36--Center Matt Rechtenwald scored 15 points and Greg Farlow added 13 points to lead Sonora (5-5).