In a battle matching size and quickness, Whittier Christian’s height advantage proved to be the difference as the Heralds won their first Southern Section championship by defeating Banning, 69-67, in overtime, to gain the 2-AA title Saturday at the Sports Arena.
Senior Scott Ferguson, a 6-foot-7 center, scored the winning basket for Whittier Christian when he followed his own miss with a layin with 58 seconds left in the overtime period. The Heralds started three players taller than 6-foot-3.
Banning, which did not have a starter over 6-2, had three opportunities to tie the score after Ferguson’s basket.
With 38 seconds remaining, center Derrick Paige missed a layup. With seven seconds left, David Gray missed an open jumper from the free-throw line. The Broncos, who won the 2-A title last season, had one more chance, but junior Don Leary’s last-second shot fell short.
“We worked hard in preparing to break their press,” Whittier Christian Coach Bob Brown said. “We had to keep the ball off the floor because they were so quick in coming from behind and creating turnovers.”
The Heralds (22-6) had 21 turnovers, but their front line combination of Ferguson (18 points) and Paul McKinley (21 points) hurt the Broncos inside.
Banning (21-5) was led by senior Donnell Henderson, who scored 19 points, and Leary, who had 14.