It was a common sight at a Santa Barbara High boys basketball game: Jack Baker blocking a shot at one end of the court and Noah Burke racing up the other end and feeding a trailing Baker for a layup or a dunk.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYERS
The two seniors had a great connection, and it rubbed off on their teammates. Santa Barbara High’s competency at sharing the basketball was one of the reasons it went 12-0 in the Channel League, 26-4 overall and advanced to the CIF 3A Division semifinals.
Baker and Burke were the primary forces behind the Dons’ uptempo, wide-open style of play.
Presidio Sports is pleased to name Baker and Burke as Co-Players of the Year on the All-City Boys Basketball Team.
Baker and Burke did it all for the Dons. The 6-foot-6 Baker led the team in scoring (12.3 ppg), rebounding (16.4), blocked shots (4.6) and assists.
Burke, the team’s point guard, averaged 10.4 points, 3.8 rebounds, 3.7 assists and 2.1 steals.
“Noah knew this year that he and Jack would have to play well for us to be successful,” Santa Barbara assistant coach Andy Gil said.
Gil said Burke’s confidence and leadership skyrocketed after he made a halfcourt shot at the buzzer to beat San Marcos during his junior year.
“He came off the bench last year and was a great defender, but this year he learned to really score. He’s a tough matchup because he can go inside and outside and, for being so small, is a tremendous rebounder.”
Baker was a force at both ends of the court. Defensively, he had an uncanny ability to block shots and not commit fouls. He ran the court, handled the ball and attacked the basket.
“He is very difficult to match up with because he is a 6-6 slasher that really gets up and down the court, and can dribble and pass much like Magic Johnson,” said Gil. “Jack had huge games last year as a junior, but this year he was phenomenal on the defensive end with almost five blocks a game.”
Gil said Baker told the coaching staff before the season that he wanted “to be the man this year. And he was.”
Based upon on-court performance and team leadership, each All-City selection will receive a special award certificate and be recognized online at PresidioSports.com and in print in the Santa Barbara Sentinel. The entire All-City Basketball Team will be recognized at the Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon at Harry’s Cafe on April 21.
PRESIDIO SPORTS’ ALL-CITY BASKETBALL TEAM
Isaiah Tapia, Senior, Santa Barbara: His is nickname is “Rat,” but “Dagger” would be more fitting because his long-distance 3-point shots were like sticking a dagger in opposing teams. He averaged 13 points a game.
Omar Miranda, Junior, Carpinteria: He was the fearless floor general in uptempo attack for the Frontier League-champion Warriors, averaging 13 points and five assists. His quick hands and feet also made him a good defender. He averaged three steals a game.
Elijah Johnson, Senior, San Marcos: His quickness and athleticism made him a handful for opponents. He led the Royals in scoring at 15.3 ppg, including a season-high 31-point outburst in a win over Buena. The Royals were 6-0 when Johnson scored 20 or more.
Bryce Ridenour, Senior, San Marcos: Although he missed some Channel League games after suffering a concussion, Ridenour’s body of work was noteworthy “He had a tough Channel League but was great before and after; he was our best in the two CIF playoff games,” said coach Dave Odell. For the season, he averaged 14 points, 5 rebounds and 3 assists and 2 steals per game.
Grant Sexton, Senior, Bishop Diego: He contributed in several areas for the Cardinals, who advanced to the CIF 5AA semifinals. “Grant became an overall basketball player this year, contributing with assists and rebound,” coacn Dean Prophet said. He led the team in scoring at 9.8 ppg.
Spenser Wyatt, Junior, Laguna Blanca: Wyatt was “one of the best pure shooters Laguna Blanca has had in the last seven years,” said his coach Sal Rodriguez. “He won several games for us with his 3-point shooting and was a great floor leader. He averaged 11 points and three assists. The Owls reached the CIF Division-6 semifinals.