Elijah Brown scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds on Saturday night, guiding Ventura to an 80-71 win over SBCC and the championship of the 43rd annual SBCC Classic.
Brown was named MVP of the three-day tourney. The Vaqueros (4-7) enjoyed early leads of 7-2 and 21-16 but the Pirates (7-5) hit three straight 3-pointers, including two Jalon Wilson, to ignite a 16-5 run that gave them a 29-23 advantage with 5:20 to go in the first half.
Ventura collected 13 offensive rebounds and made just one turnover in the opening half. They finished on an 8-2 run that stretched the halftime lead to 41-31.
Tejon Williams hit 8-16 from the field and scored a game-high 22 points with five assists and four rebounds to pace the Vaqueros. Robert Hutchins nailed 4-7 from downtown and tallied 20 points. Martin Pedersen added nine points and Evan Tillman had eight points and seven rebounds.
“We had too many defensive lapses,” said Williams. “We just couldn’t get out there and contest shots in time. We have to do a better job of that. We gave up too many offensive rebounds by not boxing out and those are the kinds of things that make you lose games like this.”
Williams and Hutchins made the all-tournament team, along with Brown and Steven Bush of Ventura, William Brown of College of the Desert and Javan Perry of San Diego Miramar.
Desert beat Canada 99-89 in the third-place game and Miramar took the consolation title with a last-second basket by Perry that lifted the Jets over Palomar 75-74.
Ventura opened the second half on a 15-8 surge, extending the lead to 17 points at 56-39 on a triple by 6-7 forward Josh Watterson. SBCC put together a 10-2 run and closed within seven, 72-65, on a 3-pointer by Pedersen with 1:15 to play but couldn’t get any closer.
“The big difference in the ballgame were the offensive rebounds in the first half (Ventura had 13, the Vaqueros had 6) and that really helped their run at the end of the first half,” said SBCC coach Morris Hodges. “We were defending the initial shot like we wanted to, we just couldn’t secure the defensive boards. The second-half penetration hurt us, then we went to a zone with about four minutes left and that was effective.
“I was proud of the way our guys battled. We got better in each game of the tourney. We had some good balanced scoring and we grew a lot as a team. We still have some defensive things that we need to clean up and we’ll focus on that going forward.”
The stats were nearly identical with Ventura shooting 41.2 percent and the Vaqueros 40 percent. Each team hit nine 3-pointers with the Pirates needing 30 attempts and the Vaqueros 19. They both took care of the ball with Ventura committing just seven turnovers and SBCC eight.
Santa Barbara opens play in the Glendale Tournament on Wednesday against the host team at 5 p.m.