Santa Barbara High led by as many as 39 points on the way to a 72-40 victory over visiting Sierra on Wednesday in the opening round of the CIF State D2 Tournament.
In an otherwise undramatic contest, Amber Melgoza scored 16 points to break 1,000 points in a single season (1,004 points in 30 games). The prolific scoring guard from Santa Barbara is just the fourth player in CIF Southern Section history to accomplish the feat. Melgoza joins Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame member Cheryl Miller (twice, 1,197 & 1,050), El Toro’s Guiliana Mendiola (1,031) and La Quinta’s Amy Jalewalia (1,023).
Melgoza was well beneath her season average after facing double and triple teams throughout the game. The Chieftains knew what Melgoza could do first hand, having lost to the Dons in December when Melgoza scored 47 points. This time they were more physical with the Santa Barbara player and Melgoza took at least one elbow square on the jaw.
“She elbowed me and my whole jaw like shifted so like right now it’s pretty irritated,” Melgoza said.
The Dons received plenty of help from Melgoza’s supporting cast. Jada Howard added 15 points, five rebounds and four assists. Jocelin Petatan had 14 points and a team-high eight rebounds.
“They were being physcial and that’s part of the game but I thought we spread the ball around and took pretty good shot selection,” said Dons head coach Andrew Butcher.
Butcher was pleased with his team’s defensive performance in the first half as the Dons limited Sierra to 11 points through the first two quarters. The Dons led 48-11 at halftime and their biggest lead came in the third quarter at 57-19.
“We’ve been really focused in what we’ve been doing,” Melgoza said. “We’re doing the little things now and that’s what’s going to make us get to the next level that we want to be in State.”
Santa Barbara, the No. 6 seed, advances to Saturday’s second round to face No. 3 Mira Costa. The Dons (24-6) must travel to meet the Mustangs (25-7) in Manhattan Beach.
Sierra, a Central Section school from outside of Fresno, finishes its season with a 24-5 record.