When the San Marcos High boys basketball team opened Channel League play at Lompoc in mid-December, it did so with a bang, winning a laugher.
When the two got together again on Friday night at San Marcos, it was no laughing matter for the host Royals. San Marcos won, 65-55, but it didn’t come without some tense moments in the second half — something that was not the case in the Royals’ 59-33 rout of the Braves on Dec. 18.
Tommy Condon scored eight of his 12 points in the fourth for San Marcos, while point guard Isaiah Hicks poured in seven of his nine points in the final period to help the Royals finally put away the pesky Braves, and get to 5-1 in the Channel League.
“As long as I’ve been around Lompoc, whatever their talent is, they’re going to be feisty,” San Marcos coach Jelani Hicks said. “We kind of knew that going in.”
If, at any point, the Royals forgot that during Friday’s game at the Thunderhut, the Braves were more than happy to remind them, especially in the third quarter, when Lompoc went on a 10-2 run to get to within 38-36.
“We understand that we’re pretty much going to get the other team’s best effort every night,” Hicks said. “That’s kind of what we want, because it’s more fun that way, and it’s competitive. That’s the way it was tonight.
“Lompoc is always going to be tough.”
San Marcos senior guard Beau Allen led all scorers with 16 points. But like the Royals’ previous game at Santa Barbara High, nothing came easy for the talented high jumper who’s headed to Duke on a track and field scholarship.
Allen finished the game with a breakaway dunk just before time expired. It was one of the very few times all night that he didn’t have two or three defenders tracking his every move. Lompoc’s defensive effort limited Allen to four field goals, which included a 3-pointer in the first quarter. On Wednesday night at Santa Barbara, the Dons held him to just two baskets.
While Allen is getting to the free-throw line a lot because of his ability to drive to the rim and get up over defenders, it has become increasingly difficult for him to score. It wasn’t like that for Allen during the first half of the Channel League season, when he averaged almost 25 points per game.
He had four points on two layups in the second half of Friday’s game.
“Everyone feels like he’s the head of our monster, in a sense,” Hicks said, “and they feel if they can stop him or contain him, they have a good shot at winning.”
That might have been the case for the upset-minded Braves after they did a solid job defending Allen in the second half, but Condon and Isaiah Hicks made sure it didn’t happen. The two combined to score 15 of the Royals’ 21 points in the fourth.
Condon put San Marcos up 50-42 with a crowd-pleasing reverse layup at the 5:21 mark of the final quarter. He then gave the Royals their biggest lead of the game at 54-42 with a rebound and putback at the 4:16 mark.
“Tommy has been great for us,” coach Hicks said. “His intensity on the offensive end and just being relentless on the attack is crucial for us.”
Jeroe Bidlow also had a solid game for San Marcos with 10 points.
The Braves, who fell to 1-5 in the Channel League, were led by 6-foot-7 junior center Collin Oestereich, who had 12 points.
Lompoc coach Paul Terrones was pleased that his team stayed competitive all game, something the Braves failed to do in the second half of their Dec. 18 game against the Royals.
“If we can play with that kind of intensity, the shots will start to fall, and we can win some games in this league,” he said. “Hopefully that will carry over. I’m super proud of the effort.”