Alex Estrada's temper got the better of him Wednesday night, and when it did it enabled Pasadena Poly High to get the better of Faith Baptist.
Estrada, Faith Baptist's freshman guard, had guided the Contenders from an eight-point halftime deficit to a four-point lead with 2:23 to play in regulation in the Southern Section 1-A Division quarterfinal at Pasadena Poly.
But Estrada's fifth foul and ensuing technical for slamming the ball to the floor not only cost the Contenders two crucial points, it may have swung momentum over to the Panthers, the state's top-ranked team in Division V. Pasadena Poly registered a 69-67 win in overtime and advances to Friday's semifinals against Mission College Prep.
"We had them, and we gave it away," Faith Baptist Coach Dean Lobdell said. "The technical cost us. That's what happens when you have a freshman. He played a great game, other than what happened at the end."
After missing his first seven shots, Estrada, scoring 17 points in only his second start this season, made his next six, four of them three-point baskets, to lead the Contenders (19-6) back from a 36-28 halftime deficit. His fourth three-point basket of the third period gave Faith Baptist a 51-48 lead, and the Contenders settled for a 51-51 tie after three quarters.
But when Estrada fouled Ryan McKee with 2:23 to play and the Contenders nursing a 62-58 lead, he slammed the ball high into the air as he exited with his fifth foul. The officials slapped him with a technical, and McKee, who scored a career-high 39 points and grabbed 10 rebounds, made two of three free throws to pull the Panthers (24-0) within two points at 62-60.
Two free throws by Tim Erwing (12 points and five rebounds) and one by 6-10 center Jason Henderson (18 points, 15 rebounds, 6 blocks) put the Contenders ahead, 65-60, but the Panthers' David Thomas made a three-point shot and McKee hit a jump shot over Henderson with 10 seconds left to send the game into overtime.