Moments before his team took the court against Buena High School Tuesday night at Ventura College, Tim Travers, El Toro coach, predicted that both teams would score in the 80s and the team possessing the ball at the end of the game would win.
Travers came up short on both predictions, and so did his team as Buena outscored the Chargers, 95-90, and won in overtime in front of 2,000.
Buena scored 11 points in a three-minute overtime with guard Mike Sandoval making six free throws to clinch the win. The Bulldogs (23-2) advance to the quarterfinals on Friday against Santa Ana at Rancho Santiago College.
El Toro (20-6) sent the game into overtime when forward Eric Speaker hit a three-point shot from the top of the key with five seconds remaining. Buena had an opportunity to win the game in regulation, but Sandoval's halfcourt shot was off target.
The pace was blistering from start to finish with neither team paying much attention to defense. El Toro used some accurate three-point shooting by Speaker and Bret Johnson to stay even with Shawn Kirkeby, Buena's bulky 6-foot 10-inch center.
Kirkeby led Buena with 28 points, including 12 points in the last quarter when he failed to miss a shot. Each time El Toro scored, it seemed Kirkeby would answer with a high-percentage bank shot as El Toro insisted on covering him with only one defender.
"They have such good outside shooters that we had to defend him one on one," Travers said. "He's really tough."
Buena made 34 of 62 field goal attempts by spreading El Toro's man-to-man defense and either driving for easy shots or passing the ball along the perimeter to an open shooter. If that didn't work, Kirkeby had no trouble getting open in the post against Cory Wayland.
"I felt I could score anytime I wanted to," Kirkeby said. "I wasn't sure at first, but when they stopped doubling me early in the game, I knew I was going to score."
El Toro countered with the three-point shot, making 12 of 25. Johnson made five three-pointers before missing one late in the fourth quarter. He led all scorers with 33 points, including six three-pointers.
Speaker, who complained of a fever before warmups, scored 27 points, including the final shot in regulation play.
El Toro did get the lead once in overtime, 87-86, when Speaker scored on a three-point shot with 2:22 remaining, but then the Chargers failed to score again until two seconds remained when Bret Johnson hit another three-pointer.
But between three-pointers, Buena scored nine unanswered points.