IRVINE — Los Alamitos rallied from a three-goal deficit in the final 5:49 of regulation to force overtime, then earn a 10-9 victory in the championship game of the S&R Sport Cup boys' water polo tournament Saturday at Irvine High.
After the Griffins (12-4) pulled even, 7-7, with 1:17 left in regulation, Newport Harbor junior Farrel South drove past his defender after taking a pass from Davey Jorth and whistled a shot through the arms of the goalie to give the Sailors (11-2), a one-goal lead with 59 seconds remaining.
But a defensive breakdown on Los Al's final possession of regulation allowed senior Austin Ringheim to convert a wide-open skip shot with three seconds left to force a pair of three-minute overtime periods.
The Griffins scored first in overtime, when Joe Ferretti caromed a shot off the bottom of the crossbar 47 seconds into the first overtime.
South, who led the Sailors with six goals, answered with 35 seconds left in the first overtime, with an assist from Curtis Fink, but Ringheim had an answer of his own with nine seconds left in the first overtime to finalize the scoring.
The first Newport Harbor shot in the second overtime bounced off a goal post and the second, from long distance, was saved easily by senior goalie Andrew Patterson with 18 seconds left.
Los Al ran out the clock to claim the crown.
Newport Harbor senior goalie Chris Whitelegge stood out for the Sailors, recording 19 saves.
He forced Griffins shooters to try a change of pace, which amounted to either attempting to lob the ball into an upper corner, or skipping the ball off the water.
Ryan Fowler, Fink and Daniel Stevens added single goals for Newport Harbor, which advanced to the title game by virtue of an 11-6 trouncing of Long Beach Wilson in the semifinal earlier Saturday.
The two teams traded goals in the first half as the score was tied 1-1, 2-2, 3-3 and 4-4.
Fink's goal, on an assist from South, opened the second-half scoring with 2:47 left in the third quarter and Stevens doubled the lead by converting an assist from Fowler with 1:16 left in the third period.
South scored from set to convert a Fink assist 71 seconds into the fourth quarter and it appeared as if Coach Jason Lynch's Tars had assumed command.
But the Griffins chipped away and persevered to defeat their Sunset League rivals.
The two teams are scheduled to meet in league play Oct. 20 at Newport Harbor.
Los Alamitos defeated CdM in the semifinals, and the Sea Kings went on to lose the third-place game, 12-11, to Long Beach Wilson.
Chase Watson led the Sea Kings with five goals against Long Beach Wilson, while Emery Molnar and Chris Robertson chipped in two apiece.
In Newport Harbor's semifinal win, South had six goals, two assists and one steal. Whitelegge added 11 saves.
Andrew Silvers, Jorth, Fink, Preston Lee and Fowler added single goals for the Tars against the Bruins.