Rancho Buena Vista High School is the new San Diego County Academic League Champion, topping defending champ Southwest High 79-66 in a closely fought match televised regionally by ITV Ch. 16.
The victory capped an undefeated, 11-0 season for RBV, with the finale at the San Diego County Office of Education witnessed by a strong contingent of parents and teachers from the North County campus.
Replays of the title match can be seen on ITV Ch. 16 April 28 at 11 pm and April 30 at 2:00 and 8:00 p.m.
"I'm elated," said Jim Hagar, RBV's walk-on coach for the last 10 years. "To be honest, I can't tell you this team is any smarter than the other teams we've had, or that it knows more than other teams. But this team is extremely quick. The whole year, they were faster than any team we played."
And in the toss-up question/immediate answer format of Academic League, quickness is critical, as RBV proved in shocking the defending champs from Southwest. RBV pulled out to a 35-12 lead ten minutes into the thirty-minute match, only to see Southwest fight back to take the lead 47-45 with nine minutes remaining.
The next six minutes were a back-and-forth battle worthy of any sport or competition, before RBV broke a 51-51 tie by earning the full eight points on mathematics toss-up and bonus questions.
Soon after, RBV's Kristin Smith was quick on the buzzer to answer a literature toss-up question and give her teammates a chance for five more points. The Longhorns took full advantage and had a more comfortable 79-54 advantage with 1:12 left.
Southwest, champion of the South County, gave a valiant effort in the final minute of play to narrow the gap, but the Longhorns came away with the 79-66 victory and returned the county academic league championship trophy to the North for the second time in three years.
It was Rancho Buena Vista's first time qualifying for the county playoffs.
In the earlier semifinal matches, Rancho Buena Vista pulled out to a 34-12 lead over City League champion La Jolla in the first ten minutes of the match, and never looked back, coming away with a 100-49 win. Southwest followed with a 98-25 win over East County champion Santana to set up the championship match.
Rancho Buena Vista championship roster is comprised of Andrew Austin, Jonathan Hawley, Ian Lutack, Chad McCoy, Ryan McCue, Kristin Smith, and Joey Sturges. The team's advisor is RBV English teacher Jennifer Hall.