Buena High had tradition, plenty of past playoff experience, a large part of a capacity crowd of 1,400 and, last but not least, Kelly Greathouse.
It all proved too much for Royal to overcome and the Bulldogs won, 58-48, in a girls' basketball Southern Section Division I-A quarterfinal game Saturday night at Buena.
"Oh, you saw all those people," Royal's Jessica Sanders said. "It was a lot of people, a lot of pressure. But I think we did OK, considering."
Considering, that is, that Buena (26-2) will make its 13th consecutive trip to the semifinals Tuesday against Huntington Beach Marina, and that the Bulldogs are bidding for their third consecutive I-A championship and fifth in six years.
And considering that Marmonte League-champion Royal (25-4) was making its first appearance in a quarterfinal in 16 years.
"It was a great season. We tried hard," said Sanders, who finished with 15 points and four assists.
Try as they did, the Highlanders were unable to stop Greathouse once she got going inside. The 6-foot-2 freshman center finished with a game-high 18 points and 11 rebounds. She helped spark a 9-0 run in the closing seconds of the second quarter and early in the third quarter that turned a four-point Buena edge into a 33-22 advantage.
Greathouse, who posted up repeatedly for close-range hooks and turn-around jumpers, also hit the basket that gave Buena its largest lead, 46-31, with 6:23 to play.
"I think we could have played better, but it did the job," Greathouse said.
Others doing the job for the Bulldogs included Amrit Chima, Karen McAleney, Krystal McFarland and Melissa Flores.
Chima scored eight points, and McAleney finished with five points and five rebounds.
McFarland played much of the second quarter in place of Renae Hofmann, who was in foul trouble, and finished with eight points, three rebounds and four steals.
Flores saw plenty of time in place of starting guard Kelly Murray, one of several Bulldogs fighting a cold. Flores made a pair of three-point baskets. Murray finished with 11 points and seven rebounds and Hofmann had five points.
"We got a good effort from some kids coming off the bench, and that really helped," Buena Coach Joe Vaughan said.
"We've just got to get our kids well."
The Highlanders were not about to feel too badly, even if they never got closer than within 50-43 with 3:10 to play.
"Wow, we were 25-4. That's not bad," Sanders said. "I'm proud of our team and proud of what we accomplished."
Both teams seemed uptight and neither accomplished much in the first few minutes.
Buena did not score until the 4:17 mark of the first quarter. The Bulldogs made only two of 11 shots and committed eight turnovers in the quarter.
Royal made only three of 11 shots but led, 8-4, after one quarter.
In the second quarter, Buena started to control the boards and erased a 13-11 deficit with a 17-9 run.
The Bulldogs made 10 of 23 field-goal attempts. Royal made only two of three, but made eight of 10 free throws in the quarter to trail, 23-20, at halftime.
Royal finished with 17 of 24 free throws and Buena was nine of 12.