Santa Barbara cruises into second round of playoffs with convincing win at home
San Gabriel did its best to slow things down against the Santa Barbara High boys basketball team on Friday night.
In the end, though, all it did was prolong the inevitable.
Behind 13 points and nine rebounds from center Bryce Warrecker, and a 13-point effort from guard Aiden Douglas, the top-seeded Dons shredded the Monarchs, 70-41, in a CIF-Southern Section Division 3A first-round playoff game at J.R. Richards Gym.
Although it turned out to be a lopsided result for Santa Barbara (26-3), it wasn’t so much the case at the 5:42 mark of the third quarter, when San Gabriel went on a 9-0 run to cut a 17-point deficit down to eight.
“I was concerned,” Dons coach Dave Bregante said of that point in the game.
“I called timeout and let them know that I was concerned. They understand when I’m not happy, and they picked it up (during the timeout).”
Santa Barbara also picked it up when it returned to the floor after hearing it from Bregante.
Sophomore guard Jasper Johnson buried a 3-pointer and made a layup on the next possession to ignite a Dons’ 17-2 run to end the quarter, and allow their coach to breathe a little easier with a 56-31 lead heading into the fourth.
Senior forward Jackson Hamilton also contributed in the run with five points, while Warrecker had four. It was something that Johnson even played in the game.
He missed the week of school with an illness, and Bregante wasn’t so sure he should have even been on the floor.
But Johnson delivered, finishing with eight points while turning in a solid defensive effort with the rest of his teammates.
“He didn’t practice all week, he’s been really sick,” Bregante said.
“I was very impressed with Jasper tonight. It took a lot of guts coming out and playing like he did. He probably shouldn’t have even been playing because he wasn’t feeling well at all.
“I thought he made some big plays for us.”
Bregante was also pleased with the effort of Douglas, who hit three 3-pointers in the game, including two to end the second quarter, giving Santa Barbara a 35-20 lead at the break.
“It was nice to see Aiden knock down some shots,” the Dons coach said. “We’ve been struggling all year with 3-point shots, but tonight was the best shooting night we’ve had in at least a month.
San Gabriel was a scrappy team that did most of its scoring from the perimeter.
The Monarchs had no size inside to contend with the Dons 6-foot-7 physical center.
Still, Warrecker had to work hard for everything he got, as San Gabriel used double- and triple-teams against him all game.
“They did well trying to stop me,” Warrecker said.
“I think their plan was to try to load the paint and get us to shoot a little bit more from the outside.
“We started to hit some shots, and that took some of the pressure off inside. I missed a couple of chippy shots, but I just kept going and kept playing.”
Johnson credited the Monarchs for putting up a tough fight when asked if he was concerned when they cut the Dons’ lead to eight in the third.
“I think we let them hang around too long,” Johnson said. “I think we should have put them away quicker. We put them away, eventually, but a credit to them for hanging tough.”
It was Santa Barbara’s ninth consecutive victory. The Dons go for number 10 when they travel to St. Bonaventure in Ventura for a second-round game on Tuesday night.