By Ted Apodaca
Buena Park boys basketball needed a rally in the second half and more precisely in the closing minutes to get a 79-77 win over Orange Lutheran in the opening pool play game of the Westminster High Charlie Wilkins Memorial Tournament on Monday at Westminster High.
Cameron Dashiell drew a foul on a three-point attempt at the buzzer and hit two of the shots to provide the final margin. Dashiell also provided six points after the Lancers took a 77-71 lead with 1:25 left in the game. Dashiell grabbed an offensive rebound and scored to cut the lead to 77-73 with 1:12 left.
On the ensuing possession, Dashiell made a steal and break for a layup. After a defensive stop, Dashiell again drove the lane for a shot off the glass that tied the game at 77-77 with 22 seconds left. Orange Lutheran had a chance to get the last shot, but the Coyotes drew a charging foul with 7 seconds left to set up the final play.
Buena Park had also rallied from a slow start of the second half. Orange Lutheran led 38-36 at halftime, but opened up the third quarter with a 13-3 lead to push their lead to 51-39, forcing a Buena Park time out. Buena Park Head Coach Damian Farmer said his players showed a lot of mental toughness after getting caught flat-footed a couple of times.
“I thought we pulled ourselves together very well … they really showed toughness and grit,” Farmer said.
Dashiell finished with 28 points, six rebounds, seven assists and five steals. Elijah Jones-Church had a team high 29 points and 10 rebounds. Dominic Pritchett had 12 points.
Buena Park improved to 5-2 with the win. The Coyotes are looking to improve upon a second place finish in the Freeway League from last year. The Coyotes were ranked in the top five of the CIF-SS Division 2AA rankings at the start of the season. Orange Lutheran opened ranked in the middle of Division 1.
Farmer said he likes the versatility of his team’s offense. He said if they are moving the ball around they can be tough to hold down.
“When we’re unselfish, we’ve got the pieces that can drive and shoot and open up gaps,” Farmer said.
While Farmer said his team showed defensive grit, he also noted that when they have had to switch defensive schemes, they have had trouble holding on to that focus. He said they are looking to improve those transitions, but is very optimistic of their potential.