Mark Trakh, Brea-Olinda High School girls' basketball coach, was remarkably relaxed before his team's semifinal game Saturday in the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions.
The Wildcats were to play Christ the King of Queens, N.Y., which has two All-American guards, a 6-foot 3-inch center and the No. 1 ranking in the nation.
So what's to worry?
"We're just going to run and shoot it up," Trakh said.
And gee, wouldn't you know that's just the way the game was won.
Unfortunately for Trakh, it was Christ the King's Jill Cook who ran down a ball, shot it up--with her back to the basket and three seconds remaining in overtime--to give the Monarchs a 63-62 win.
The shot came after Brea-Olinda's Charlene Schuessler made two free throws with 33 seconds left to put the Wildcats ahead by a point.
Cook chased down the rebound of a missed shot by Monarch forward Jean-Marie Tolke. When she gained possession of the ball she was five feet from the basket and moving away. She stopped herself and flipped the ball over her head.
"I just saw the ball go off the rim and went after it," Cook said. "When I got there I just threw it up. It was lucky."
Lucky or not, the shot put Christ the King in the final against Pasadena Muir Monday.
For Brea the shot meant the third place game against Point Loma, but Trakh said it may have provided his team with a boost of confidence.
"Everyone thought that we would be intimidated by a big team from New York," Trakh said. "But they were the ones who were intimidated. Except for one lucky shot, we win this game. I think the game showed the girls they can play, and beat, anyone."
The Wildcats had led from the opening tip, until forward Denise Dreuer made two free throws to tie the score at 49-49 with 3:03 remaining in the fourth quarter. Cook made two outside shots to give the Monarchs a 53-49 lead with 2:08 left.
The fourth quarter became a personal battle between Cook and Brea-Olinda guard Carrie Egan. Cook scored 12 points in the quarter and Egan had 10.
It was Egan who made a baseline jumpshot with one second remaining in the fourth quarter to tie the score at 57-57 and put it into overtime.
"I really didn't have control of the ball," Egan said. "I put it up as quick as I could."
Egan ended the game with 22 points. Cook finished with 26.
"I wanted the ball toward the end of the game," Cook said. "I was one for 10 shooting in our first round game. I thought I had something to prove."
In other Tournament of Champions games:
Pasadena Muir 62, Point Loma 43--The Pointers' 63-game winning streak came to an end shortly after star forward Terri Mann fouled out midway through the third quarter. Mann left the game with just eight points. Muir center Pauline Jordan led all scorers with 28. Muir will play New York's Christ the King Monday.
Chino 45, Santa Barbara 35--Guard Candida Echevarria scored 15 points and Stephanie Dykstra added 11 points to lead the Cowgirls to the win. Santa Barbara was led in scoring by Kate Connell, who had 12 points. Chino will play Louisville in the fifth-place game Monday.
Louisville 49, Oakland Tech 47--The Royals shot only 32% but forced 18 Oakland Tech turnovers to pull out the win. Andrea Knapp had 17 points for Louisville, which advanced to the fifth-place game.