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Buena Park earns 'special win' over Esperanza
BUENA PARK – Buena Park’s boys basketball team felt it had a pretty good year.
So when the Coyotes received the 13th seed in the CIF-SS Division 3AA playoffs, the team grabbed ahold of the “chip-on-the-shoulder” mentality that so often leads to great things.
Such things happened Friday night.
Cameron Dashiell delivered in the clutch, making a contested layup for a three-point play with 1.4 seconds remaining, as the Coyotes upset fifth-ranked Esperanza, 48-45, in a second-round game at Buena Park High.
“We felt that we were slighted to be ranked 13th in this division and see Esperanza in the second round. We thought that matchup was unfair,” Coyotes coach Aaron Riekenberg said. “The both of us should have been meeting later on in this tournament.
“This is a special win. Esperanza is an amazing team.”
Buena Park (22-7) returns to the third round of the playoffs, where its season ended last year. The Coyotes will be at Colony of Ontario for a quarterfinal Tuesday at 7 p.m. Colony defeated Victor Valley, 69-48, Friday.
For five weeks, the Coyotes had thirsted for the team’s first league title since 1992. Sonora snatched that goal away on the final day of the regular season, but Buena Park has greater achievements it wants to pursue.
“Even though we couldn’t win league, it was a good loss for us,” Dashiell said. “That loss helped us get this win. This is what we want. We want CIF.”
Esperanza guard Kezie Okpala had 24 points, including eight of the 11 points scored by the Aztecs (20-9) in the fourth quarter.
While the Coyotes couldn’t stop Okpala from creating his own shot, Dashiell got a hand on Okpala’s attempt at a 3-pointer as time expired.
Galvan and Nelson each pulled down 10 rebounds, and Cameron Dashiell had six steals.
“We have so many weapons on this team,” Galvan said. “If one guy is getting shut down, we have (others) stepping up. I feel that we really played as a team to get this win.”