Dons move forward, Royals back

Friday night’s Channel League Santa Barbara-San Marcos girls basketball game was a matchup of teams going in opposite directions.

The 63-44 final score rang true as the Dons, winners of three straight, dominated the Royals, losers of eight straight, at the Sports Pavilion.

Tess Emerson leaps a little higher than Desiree Porter-Ray for a rebound on Friday night.

The result was decidedly different than the two teams’ previous matchup, when the Royals challenged the Dons in a 53-50 nail-biter just three weeks ago.

“I think we didn’t have that fire in us to come out hard but this game we did from the very beginning,” explained Do guard Rebecca Griffin.

The Dons are definitely on fire, having won six of their last seven since the first meeting while the Royals  have fallen off.

“The bottom line is we’re playing better basketball. The kids have been having great practices,” said Dons head coach Andrew Butcher.

Tess Emerson has been a big part of Santa Barbara’s recent success, averaging 19.3 points per game in the Dons’ last three. On Friday, Emerson had a career-high 20 points and Griffin added 14.

San Marcos also had two players in double figures, led by Kimmy Sanchez’s 14. Marissa Unzueta recorded 11 points and Desiree Porter-Ray tallied nine more.

“It just felt like Santa Barbara showed up ready to go and we were still figuring it out.,” said Royals head coach Kristyn Miller, whose team fell into a 13-0 hole to start the game.  “I just continue to see (Santa Barbara) improve and we unfortunately haven’t.”



The Dons featured six different scorers in the first period, led by Griffin’s six. Emerson went to work in the second quarter, scoring 8 of her 20 in the period.

The first quarter ended with the score 19-6 and Santa Barbara extended that lead to 17 points by halftime. The Dons put to rest any thoughts about a comeback by outscoring the Royals 22-15 in the third quarter to build a 56-32 advantage to start the final period.

“We didn’t give them any easy shots. We didn’t give them open shots,” Butcher said, crediting improved defense and rebounding as the reason for Santa Barbara’s surge.

Jackie Kearns led the Dons with 10 rebounds and Emerson pulled down nine. Kearns added 10 points for the double-double.

San Marcos found some success over the last eight minutes of play, outscoring Santa Barbara 12-7 to close out the game.

Kimmy Sanchez tallied four of her team-high 14 points in the fourth and Emily Dietz drained a three-point attempt, followed by a layup from Marissa Unzueta that cut the Dons’ lead to 17.

“Offensively, we just looked to score in any way possible and just let the girls have fun,” Miller said of the fourth quarter.

San Marcos meets Buena in its next league game on Tuesday while Santa Barbara clashes with Dos Pueblos the same night.


SAN MARCOS – Unzueta 11, Sanchez 14, Sandoval 3, Porter-Ray 9, Dietz 3, Ball 2, Curiel 2.
SANTA BARBARA – Emerson 20, Griffin 13, Pererya 4, Hoover 6, Gil 3, Lloyd 2, Kearns 10, Echternacht 4
Santa Barbara 19 15 22 7 – 63
San Marcos 6 11 15  12 – 44