El Dorado's Miranda Martinez, left, embraces Brooke Salas while looking at the scoreboard during overtime of the CIF-SS Division 3AA championship girls basketball game at Azusa Pacific University.

El Dorado's euphoria turns to heartbreak in OT


AZUSA - The fourth quarter was pure exhiliration and jubilation.

But the end result was utter heartbreak.

After making a last-second basket to force overtime, El Dorado couldn’t escape postseason sorrow for the second straight season, falling to top-seeded North Torrance, 50-49, in the CIF-SS Division 3AA girls basketball championship game at Azusa Pacific University.

The Golden Hawks (24-8), who also lost in last season’s sectional final, will learn their regional tournament fate when the CIF announces selections today.

“It’s always heartbreaking to lose a game,” said El Dorado coach Wayne Carlson. “You work so hard for something, and you don’t get it, it hurts a lot.”

The Golden Hawks led, 27-18, at halftime, but witnessed its third-quarter advantage evaporate when North Torrance (27-2) scored 10 consecutive points to end the period.

El Dorado was outscored 12-4 in the quarter.

“To be honest, I had a feeling in the second half we were going to come out and the pressure was going to take toll on El Dorado,” North Torrance coach Lauren Kamiyama said. “That’s our MO.”

The lead changed hands seven times in the fourth quarter, and El Dorado had opportunities to move ahead. Trailing, 44-43, with 27.3 seconds left, El Dorado missed a pair of free throws. Following an intentional foul, North connected on one of two free throws with six seconds remaining.

On the miss, Jaylin Jones controlled the rebound, dribbled down the length of the court and converted an uncontested layup as time expired to send the game into overtime.

Jones, a San Francisco-bound senior, scored 20 points and grabbed nine rebounds, and Brooke Salas, who will play at New Mexico State next season, added 16 points, 15 rebounds and four steals.

“They’ve been solid for us all year,” Carlson said. “Between them, they’ve probably played over 120 high school varsity games. They’ve meant an awful lot to us.”

El Dorado had the ball and a chance to win the game in overtime, but Salas was called for a three-second violation with 3.9 seconds remaining in the extra frame. Salas had the ball in the paint and was frantically searching for an open teammate.

“I don’t know why they called three seconds,” Carlson said. “They haven’t called it all game, and they all of sudden he (the referee) decides to call it. He was away from the play, but it’s alright.”

Brittany McPherson scored 13 points for North Torrance, and teammate Daylene Taualii added 12 points.

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