Wednesday, Feb. 15, 2012 | 11:12 p.m.
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Las Vegas Sun reporters Case Keefer and Ray Brewer discuss the high school basketball playoffs, disagreeing on both brackets. Case likes Canyon Springs to win the Sunrise Regional; Ray think they lose in the first round.
It was tough to tell Cameron Burton was a freshman playing in his first playoff game.
Burton calmly drained a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter Wednesday, helping the host Valley High basketball team overcome a seven-point fourth-quarter deficit in a 72-66 victory against Coronado in the Sunrise Regional quarterfinals.
Valley, which led 13-4 in the first quarter before squandering the lead, turned up its intensity late in limiting Coronado to just seven points and one field goal in the final eight minutes.
Burton did the rest.
His nine points — all on nothing-but-net 3-pointers — came within a three-minute spurt, giving Valley the boost it needed to advance to Thursday’s semifinals against Green Valley High.
“I was actually probably more nervous than him,” Valley coach Brian Farnsworth said. “The kid has been playing all year for us. He’s been one of our first subs at guard all year. I had no problems putting him in because he has been great all year. Yes, it was a big game, a playoff game. But it was just another game and he made big shots, and we rode him to the finish.”
While Burton helped Valley get back into the game, senior post player Caleb Carter, one of the region’s top players, sealed the victory. His 3-point play with 46.9 seconds remaining gave Valley the lead for good.
Carter added a pair of free throws with 28 seconds left to finish with 19 points. Ryan Johnson led Valley with 20 points.
“We just picked it up and got it back together mentally,” Carter said of the comeback. “It just shows we have to keep together and keep playing as a team. If we keep doing that, we will win it all.”
Keanu Peters scored six points in the initial 6:12 of the game to give Valley an early 13-4 advantage.
But Coronado, despite losing starting point guard Teyshawn Campbell to a leg injury, outscored Valley 23-14 in the second quarter to take a six-point halftime lead.
Senior Michael Louder, who finished with a game-high 26 points, had nine points in the rally. Justice Augmon, the son of UNLV assistant coach Stacey Augmon, had a 3-pointer in the quarter and provided solid minutes off the bench. Coronado just couldn’t sustain the effort.
“Losing our point guard really hurt us. Our guys were a little tired,” Coronado coach Jeff Kaufman said. “(Valley) did what they had to do to get back in the game.”
Coronado built its lead to nine points in the third quarter and appeared in the driver’s seat. And Valley wasn’t playing like the Northeast Division champions, committing several uncharacteristic errors and showing signs of breaking under pressure.
Then, a player in his first postseason game stole the show. Burton didn’t seem to realize the magnitude of the situation.
“At first, I was nervous because it was my first playoff game as a freshman,” Burton said. “But once I got into a flow and got going, it was just like another game and I was feeling it.”
The final two rounds of the tournament will be hosted at Foothill. At 4:40 p.m. Thursday, Foothill plays Canyon Springs. The Valley-Green Valley semifinal follows at 8. The winners meet at 8 p.m. Friday in the championship game.