Dodson, Royals hold off Dons in rivalry matchup

Rivalries always seem to level the playing field.

San Marcos was 12-3 heading into Tuesday night’s Channel League-opening boys basketball showdown against Santa Barbara. The Dons, meanwhile, were 1-15.

No, there was no big upset, but it was closer than many would have thought. J.P. Dodson scored 19 points for the Royals, who won 51-39 in front of a vocal crowd at the SBCC Sports Pavilion.

“They played great defense and made it hard for us to run some of the plays that we’re used to,” said San Marcos guard Johnny Manzo, who had 12 points. “I think that at the tournament over Christmas break they got to scout us a little bit and that was beneficial to them. Chris (Hantgin) is a really smart coach, and I think he was able to read some of our traps and make adjustments.”


Manzo hit San Marcos’ only 3-pointer to account for the opening points of the game. The shortage of outside shooting was one of the factors for the tightness of the contest, according to San Marcos coach Jarrod Bradley.

San Marcos' Johnny Manzo

“They did a good job taking the inside away, and we weren’t shooting a lot of threes. We weren’t hitting threes very well, and that’s why I think the game was close all the way through,” he said.

Dodson, however stayed poised en route to his 19.

“He’s always on balance. You never see him off-balance,” said Bradley. “Good things happen to guys that know their game, and he displayed that.”

Manzo’s 3-pointer was soon followed by a nice post move inside from the versatile Dodson. Josh Guild than nabbed a steal and fed Manzo for a lay-up which made it 7-2. San Marcos ended up taking a 13-8 lead into the second quarter.

Santa Barbara’s Enrique Madrigal hit a shot from beyond the arc that pulled the Dons within a basket at 15-13 with 6:30 left in the half, but the Royals made a surge before heading into the locker room. A big swat by Bennie Kirkwood helped pick up some extra momentum in the final minutes.

Daniel Marshall, who led the Dons with 15 points, hit a couple of jumpers and had six points in the third quarter as each team scored 14 points in the period. But Dodson had two lay-ups and Guild added another as San Marcos opened the fourth quarter on a 6-0 run. That put the Royals up 14, and their advantage stayed in double-digits the rest of the way.

The opposing student-sections got into a war of chants across the gym late in the game. Although Bradley said that many of his players hadn’t played in front of such a crowd before, his team was steady at the charity stripe in the contest with a 22-for-30 performance.

Hantgin liked his underdog team’s effort.

“San Marcos did a great job making free throws. Our effort was there, but we just need to do a little better job of executing on offense. Maybe we’re closer than we think,” he said.

San Marcos (13-3, 1-0) plays at Buena on Thursday, while the Dons (1-16, 0-1) will stay in town to face Dos Pueblos.


SANTA BARBARA — Mikles 3, Aronson 5, Madrigal 4, Hedden 3, Anderson 2, Marshall 15, Adams 5, Martinez 2. Totals 14 5-11 39.

SAN MARCOS — Manzo 12, Guild 3, Mkpado 4, Ridenour 8, Dodson 19, Welsh 3, White 2. Totals 13 22-30 51.

Santa Barbara…8  8  14  9 — 51

San Marcos…13  11  14  13 — 39

3-point goals — SB 2 (Madrigal, Marshall), SM 1 (Manzo). Total fouls — SB 22, SM 12. Fouled out — Aronson, Hedden).


  1. Correction: Manzo scored 12 points

  2. Correction: Manzo scored 12 points