NEWBURY PARK — With two seconds to go in a tie game on Wednesday night, Brian Bobik of the Newbury Park High boys' basketball team kept his emotions under control enough to hit two free throws.
But after the final buzzer had sounded in the Panthers' 73-71 come-from-behind victory over archrival Simi Valley in a Marmonte League game at Newbury Park, Bobik could no longer maintain his composure.
Tears of joy streamed down his cheeks as the 6-foot-3 junior accepted congratulatory hugs from teammates and fans alike.
"It was unbelievable," Bobik said of his two foul shots that bounced around the rim before falling through. "It was hard to shoot them because I was so excited that I felt like I might pass out."
Luckily for Newbury Park (14-4, 5-0 in league), Bobik didn't.
And when Branduinn Fullove of Simi Valley (15-3, 4-1) narrowly missed a three-point shot as time expired, the Panthers had sole possession of first place in the league standings.
The victory was the seventh in the past eight games for Newbury Park and avenged a 72-54 loss to Simi Valley in the semifinals of the Simi Valley tournament last month. It was also the Panthers' fourth win in their past five league games against the Pioneers, the No. 1-ranked team in the region by The Times.
"We knew we had a chance to put them away," said Simi Valley forward Brett Michel, who scored 16 points. "But they hit some big shots down the stretch."
The Pioneers took a 61-50 lead with 7:02 left in the game on a Michel shot in the lane, but No. 5-ranked Newbury Park went on a 6-0 run to cut its deficit to 61-56 with 5:36 remaining.
Simi Valley took a 70-65 lead on a basket by Fullove with 2:26 left, but Newbury Park called a timeout after he missed a free throw that would have given the Pioneers a six-point advantage.
Daniel Bobik, Brian's better known 6-6 Brigham Young-bound brother, followed the timeout with a three-pointer to cut Newbury Park's deficit to 70-68 with 2:05 left.
The Panthers trailed, 71-68, with 34 seconds remaining after Ian Boys hit one of two free throws for the Pioneers, but Newbury Park tied the score, 71-71, when Luther Staine drilled a three-pointer from the right corner with 17 seconds left.
"I think that might have been the biggest shot of the game," Newbury Park Coach Steve Johnson said. "Emotionally and psychologically, it really gave us a lift. We weren't tired anymore."
What followed after that left some of the Simi Valley faithful shaking their heads.
First, Rafael Berumen was called for a double dribble violation with 10 seconds left and then Michel was whistled for a foul on Brian Bobik with two seconds to play.
Berumen, a 6-9 junior center and The Times' Ventura County player of the year last season, scored 24 points, but none in the fourth quarter after Newbury Park switched to a trapping defense.
Daniel Bobik had 24 points for the Panthers, followed by Staine with 14 and Robert Congelliere with 13. Brian Bobik scored six of his nine points in the last 5 1/2 minutes of the game.
"If anyone deserved to be shooting those free throws, it was him," Johnson said. "He struggled early, but he hung in there and played well in the final quarter."