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Controversial finish
When Oakdale High varsity girls basketball standout Cassandra Clark's contested 3-pointer sailed well right of the basket at the buzzer, Central Valley head coach Jesse Padilla breathed a sigh of relief.

"I stood up," he said. "I thought we won."

Then controversy ensued.

The game official furthest away from the desperation play ruled a foul had occurred. Clark calmly swished all three of her free throws to force overtime, and the Mustangs outlasted the Hawks 44-43 in Valley Oak League play on Tuesday, Feb. 2 in Oakdale.

"The girls are heartbroken," Padilla said. "I don't understand how the referee could make that call. She (Cassandra) stepped through and chucked it. If anything, it should have been traveling."

Padilla kept his cool while talking to his players after the game.

Central Valley fans were furious.

The two game officials exited the gymnasium in a hurry.

Until the frantic final minutes, the Hawks appeared to have the game won.

Central Valley held a comfortable 17-point lead with a little over seven minutes to play.

Oakdale responded with a 16-1 burst to cut the deficit to two with 1:14 left in regulation.

"I knew they'd make a run," Padilla said. "Clark's a good player."

Lizette Covarrubias' three-point play at the 1:03 mark put the Hawks ahead by five.

Covarrubias and Valerie Olide both missed the front end of one-and-one chances from the free-throw line down the stretch.

Olide missed a game-tying foul shot with 14 seconds remaining in overtime.

Oakdale also benefitted from home-court, time-keeping. The clock didn't start several times.

"We should have won," Padilla said.

Central Valley didn't help its own cause by committing 10 turnovers and missing key free throws in the fourth quarter.

The Hawks had a similar collapse the previous week against Weston Ranch. The Cougars rallied from a 14-point, second-quarter deficit.

"We panicked again," Padilla said. "Turnovers killed us."

Olide scored a team-high 13 points for the Hawks. Myra Naranjo, Covarrubias and Phylicia Martinez added nine, eight and six points, respectively. Alyssa Long and Vivien Fermil contributed two points apiece. Eva Noorzai had one point.

Clark tallied all 19 of her points after intermission. Carley Barton chipped in 12 points.