If you're looking for the biggest fans of the new Freeway League Tournament, look no further than Buena Park High School.
"We really like this tournament," said Buena Park Coach Ken Bell, minutes after his Coyotes won a spot in the Southern Section 3-A playoffs with a 75-69 second-round victory over Fullerton Wednesday night at Fullerton.
Buena Park (13-10), which finished in a three-way tie for third with a 4-6 league record, advances to the tournament final against Troy Friday night at Fullerton.
The tournament's top three finishers will represent the league in the playoffs.
Fullerton (13-7), which won the league title with a 9-1 record, must beat Sonora in the consolation game Friday night to make the playoffs.
"We knew going in we'd have to win at least one to make the playoffs," said Fullerton Coach Randy Forgette. "But I told the guys we're league champs, and nobody can take that away."
The Indians (13-7) played without center Alan Lewis, who was ill.
Gary Hunter and Kevin Graddy led the Coyotes with 25 points each.
Fullerton trailed by nine early in the fourth quarter, but cut the lead to three for the third time with 2:07 to play when Greg Wilber, who led all scorers with 27, scored to make it, 72-69.
Fullerton nearly got the ball back with 36 seconds remaining when David Sawyer forced a loose ball. But Fullerton's Brian Massey was called for a foul in the scramble, and Shane Smith (14 points) made the front end of a one-and-one, giving the Coyotes a four-point lead with 14 seconds to play.
Buena Park had a nine-point lead early in the second quarter, but Fullerton made 10 of 16 shots in the quarter to tie the score at halftime, 33-33. The Coyotes took an eight-point lead early in the third quarter with a 10-2 stretch in which Smith had two baskets and Hunter two assists.
Troy 55, Sonora 47--Brad DeLoof scored 18 points and Mark Rudometkin added 13 points and 8 rebounds as Troy advanced to the tournament final. Sonora (9-14) plays host to Fullerton for third place.