Center Dennis Burbank made two free throws with 14 seconds remaining to clinch Valencia High School's 61-57 victory over Brea-Olinda Wednesday night in Orange League play at Placentia.
The loss knocked the Wildcats out of a first-place tie with Magnolia and dropped them into a second-place tie with Valencia at 7-2. Magnolia (8-1) plays host to Brea Friday night and a victory will give the Sentinels the league title.
If Brea wins, the three teams will likely tie for the league title and a coin flip will determine the order of league's playoff representatives.
The victory was the first for Valencia over Brea in four years, snapping an eight-game losing streak. But it wasn't easy.
The Tigers held a 50-39 lead with 4:28 remaining following a tip-in by Burbank. But Brea utilized an effective, full-court press that produced seven turnovers in the final four minutes and enabled the Wildcats to rally.
When Alan Reyes stole an inbound pass and scored on a layup with 1:02 remaining, Brea trailed, 58-55. The Wildcats cut the deficit to one point only 19 seconds later after Bob Terry scored, but the Tigers made four free throws in the final seconds.
"It's been four years since we've beaten Brea and we talked about that at halftime," said Valencia Coach Ray Rodriguez. "I told our kids at the beginning of the year that an 8-2 record would be good enough to win the league.
"If Brea can beat Magnolia, all three of us will have split home and home. I'm going to enjoy this one. Our only loss at home this year was to Mater Dei, so I felt pretty good about winning this game."
Magnolia 66, Western 55--The Sentinels led, 45-43, entering the final period but outscored the Pioneers, 21-12, in the fourth quarter to gain sole possession of first place at Magnolia.
Mark Lyon scored 22 points and Victor Banuelos added 20, including eight in the fourth quarter, for the Sentinels (8-1, 18-4). The Pioneers are 0-9, 8-14.
Savanna 45, Anaheim 29--Bob Rivera and Bobby Booker each scored 10 points to help the Rebels (4-5, 6-15) defeat the Colonists (1-8, 4-17) at Anaheim. Keith Liufau scored a game-high 18 points for Anaheim.