FRESNO — Getting in an early hole was too much to overcome for the third-seeded Righetti High boys water polo team.
And playing with a man down in the first period is a tough task, too, and that's what happened Saturday in a 13-5 loss to No. 1 Clovis Buchanan in the Central Section Division I championship at the Fresno State Aquatics Center.
"Ejections hurt us." Righetti coach Ryan Shaffer said. "A lot of ejections, especially in the first quarter, and we maybe had six ejections in that first quarter and they scored four or five out of it. That kind of set the tone."
Buchanan took a 6-2 lead after the first quarter and cruised from there, something Righetti senior Ryan Lucas never thought he would imagine happening.
"It's not a game where you want to end your high school career like this," said Lucas, who finished with two assists. "But I'm happy we got here. It's emotional and hopefully we do better next year.
Buchanan coach Dave Pickford credited the Warriors on how they played after beating the Bears' Tri-River Athletic Conference foe, Clovis North, in the semifinals on Wednesday.
"Righetti is a good team," he said. "When they beat Clovis North, that took the familiarity of an opponent out. We only scrimmaged Righetti at the beginning of the year. We knew that they were good and well coached, but that actually worked to our advantage. These guys were new and unknown and we rose to the occasion.
Still, Shaffer was pleased how his players finished the game under early adversity.
"Our guys played hard," said Shaffer, whose Warriors finished the season 21-12. "It was tough to overcome and you saw the results and they were able to convert on us."
CIF Cross Country
RIVERSIDE — Lompoc High School senior Gregory Wuitschick qualified for the CIF state cross country championships after finishing in 13th place at Saturday’s Division 4 qualifiers with a time of 16:03 in Riverside.
The state finals will be held next Saturday on the same Riverside course.