Ocean View survives Dons’ challenge for Holiday Classic title

Emilio Gonzalez was named all-tournament for the Dons.

Ocean View made Thursday’s championship game of the Santa Barbara Holiday Classic by outscoring its opponents by the average margin of 15 points.

Earlier on Thursday, two of the teams that the Sea Hawks beat won by twice the amount than Santa Barbara High did against the same opponent.

Still, the Dons were right there with Ocean View on Thursday before falling 61-57 in the championship game of their annual tournament in J.R. Richards Gym.

“They beat San Marcos pretty big this week. To hang with them like that is really big for us going into our league,” said Dons senior Sam Cohen.

It was Ocean View’s first tournament win of the season in the Sea Hawks third trip to a title game. Ocean View is 11-3.

“I think it was our best game of the year,” said Dons head coach David Bregante. “I told the kids I was really proud; we went out and competed.”

Ocean View took the lead for good in the third quarter but the Dons hung around and were constantly within striking distance. Cristian Rivera strung together six of his game-high 24 points in a 90-second span in the fourth quarter that gave the Sea Hawks their biggest lead of the game at 53-46.

Teon West attempts a shot with an Ocean View defender’s hand in his face.

Two quick baskets from Santa Barbara made it a 3-point game but Kendall Small’s 3-point play gave Ocean View its cushion back.

“First and foremost, Santa Barbara did a lot of things that make things very difficult for us,” said Sea Hawks head coach Tim Walsh. “It was clear they had scouted us all week.”

The Dons trimmed the lead to four on two free throws by Sam Cohen with a minute remaining. Santa Barbara nearly came up with a steal, but Rivera gained control and had a clear lane to the basket. A basket-saving foul gave Rivera two free throws and the ball for an intentional foul called on the Dons.

“We never got the lead and they made their free throws down the stretch,” Cohen said.

Conor Clifford collected 15 points for the Sea Hawks and was named Tournament MVP. Clifford and Clovis West’s Charlie Thompson shared the single-game high-scoring mark in the tournament with 27.

“We told our guys coming in, ‘they’re gonna protect their home floor,’ and they did tonight,” Walsh said.

Ocean View’s Rivera and Santa Barbara’s Emilio Gonzalez were selected to the All-Tournament team.

Cohen led the Dons in scoring in Thursday’s title game with 15. Andy Busch and Angel Lopez added 13 each.

The Dons’ next game is next Wednesday against San Marcos at Santa Barbara City College.


Ocean View – Clifford 15, Small 9, Rivera 24, Weaver 4, Mishler 4, Reizo 5.

Santa Barbara – Wagonhurst 4, Fay 6, Busch 13, Lopez 13, Gonzalez 6, Cohen 15.

OV 13 14 17 17 – 61

SB 12 14 15 16 – 57