The Carpinteria High boys basketball team was able to find its offensive rhythm in a big way Friday night, as the Warriors outlasted Foothill Tech 83-65 in their opening game of the Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic.
Dylan O’Neil scored a team-high 26 points and was one of three Warriors to score in double digits in what was their third matchup the past 10 days against the Dragons (3-8). On Dec. 10, Foothill Tech was victorious by a score of 64-43. Two days later, Carpinteria (4-4) won 69-59 in the Fillmore Tournament. The difference on Friday night for Carpinteria was the team’s ball movement. They were able to attack the Foothill zone defense both inside and out, using crisp passes and smart play to secure the win.
“We felt like this was a game that determines who is the better team,” O’Neil said. “The first couple of times that we played them our ball movement wasn’t good. This game I think we trusted our teammates and knocked down our shots.”
Ten different Warriors registered a basket in Friday’s victory and the team was able to get out and run the fast break early and often. It was a welcoming change for coach Scott Sorich, who said in the past week or so his team has started to put things together with its spacing and passing. They have also adjusted to the speed of the game and started playing at a much faster tempo.
“It wasn’t a matter of doing things differently, it was just a matter of doing things better and our guys really made that adjustment the last time we played them and again tonight,” Sorich said.
The Warriors took a 22-15 lead after the first following a three pointer by Luke Nakasone at the buzzer. O’Neil splashed a pair of three pointers in the second quarter to put Carpinteria in front 32-19. Foothill’s Bodhi McDonald kept his team in the game, scoring 16 of his game-high 28 in the first half. O’Neil scored on a layup and was fouled, converted the foul shot and added two more from the charity stripe before Nakasone again hit from deep to give Carpinteria a 16-point lead. Foothill’s Cooper Mecham knocked in a three of his own to make it 41-28 Warriors at the half.
McDonald would get into foul trouble early in the third and Carpinteria was able to push its lead to 51-32 with five minutes left in the period. Coming out of a timeout, Foothill’s Brian Holloway knocked in three consecutive three pointers to cut the deficit to 10 with 3:20 to go. Carpinteria senior Ian Reed answered back with a three of his own, but he admitted that watching Holloway get on a roll made him a bit nervous.
“I was scared,” he said with a laugh. “We’re going into the timeout and they’re all hyped and we’re like ‘oh no, oh no,’ but he’s a great player. He’s draining and he can shoot, but we shut him down after that.”
Carpinteria led 57-48 after three quarters and was able to push its lead to 17 with just over five minutes left in the game following back-to-back baskets by senior Gabriel Medel. The two teams went back and forth over the next several minutes before a three-point basket by Reed gave the Warriors an 81-61 lead with a minute remaining.
Reed, who was a key member of the Carpinteria team that reached the CIF-SS Division 5A semifinals last season, said his focus this season has been ensuring his teammates believe in themselves.
“If somebody makes (a shot) it’s not the end of the world,” he said. “The guys are young but they’re very good. I’m already excited to come back next year and watch them be even better.”
Carpinteria will be back in action today, with an 11:30 a.m. tipoff against Santa Maria and a 7 p.m. matchup against Thacher.
Cardinals fall to Greyhounds
Bishop Diego was able to put together a couple of second-half runs against Atascadero, but the Greyhounds were able to come away with several offensive rebounds late and convert at the foul line on their way to a 62-50 victory over the Cardinals Friday night.
Atascadero led 32-23 at the break after Drew Ardouin, who had a team-high 12, nailed a three pointer with four seconds left in the half.
Back-to-back layups by Bishop’s Matthew Cunningham and Bryan Trejo to open the third made it a five point game, and a three by Daniel Mora with 1:28 left made it 43-38. Atascadero’s Mitchell Carpenter made a layup and was fouled and after converting the foul shot pushed the Greyhounds’ lead back to eight, 46-38, heading into the fourth.
Cunningham, who didn’t play in the first half, drilled a pair of three pointers in the fourth and scored on an offensive rebound to again bring the deficit to five, 51-46, with around five minutes to go, though Atascadero was able to pull away after securing a number of offensive rebounds and converting its foul shots down the stretch.
“The good thing is we didn’t stop fighting,” Bishop coach James Coronado said after the game. “I thought we played hard all the way to the end, but I think we’re still trying to get more in tune with the team in terms of some rhythm.
“We had some costly turnovers and when we clawed back into it we turned the ball over and what shrunk to a three- or five-point lead bumped back up to nine of 10.”
Coronado was encouraged by the second-half play by Cunningham, who has missed the last few games due to personal reasons. Coronado said the junior should be back in the rotation again soon.
The Cardinals have only one senior, Austin Zeil, on this year’s roster, and Coronado said the team is still looking to find its mental edge as the season continues.
“We’ve got to get over that hump, and I think when we do you’re going to see us sky rocket,” Coronado said. “We’re very close.”
In earlier action Friday, Hueneme defeated Grace Brethren 61-48 and Santa Maria scored in the final seconds to defeat Thacher by a score of 79-76. Tournament action will continue today.