Busch, Cohen help Dons lock down Chargers

Brendan Fay finds an open lane to the basket in the first half. Fay couldn't convert the basket but nailed a big three-pointer in the second half.

The first game between Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos was decided by one point. The second Channel League clash between the two schools turned out to be far more one-sided in a 51-36 win for the Dons on Friday night.

Andy Busch and Sam Cohen each had 14 points in front of a near-capacity crowd at J.R. Richards Gym.

“We lost that last one by one – it was a tough game. We definitely didn’t want to lose to them again,” Cohen said. “We think we’re the better team.”

Cohen’s one-handed dunk in the second quarter stoked the Dons’ cheering section and helped create momentum at the start of a 24-3 run for Santa Barbara. The Dons led by as many as 22 in the fourth quarter.

The Dons made a strong effort to take a win from Dos Pueblos, which had beaten Santa Barbara 41-40 in the two teams’ previous meeting. The Dons wanted this one more and it showed.

“They played with a lot of intensity,” said Chargers head coach Joe Zamora. “I really wanted our guys to go above that intensity; we didn’t even match their intensity tonight I felt. I gotta give it to Santa Barbara, they played well for 32 minutes.”

The Chargers struggled to find a rhythm throughout the game, never scoring more than 13 points in a quarter. Dos Pueblos did play well enough in the first half to hold a 20-17 lead in the second quarter.

Then Daniel Stevens made a free throw followed by two more from Angel Lopez. At 20-20, Cohen stole the ball at mid-court and came in for the breakaway dunk.

“It definitely gets everyone on the team going,” explained Cohen. “It gets the crowd really into it; it really, really energizes everything in the game.

Dos Pueblos' Daniel Vickers was the Chargers' leading scorer.

“It’s also really demorolizing for the other team.”

After that, late into the third, the Chargers still had only 23 points and the Dons held a 41-23 advantage.

“I think tonight was an effort win,” said Dons head coach David Bregante. “We played really hard.”

Dos Pueblos was led in scoring by Daniel Vickers with eight points. Mansai Conner and Cruz Mertens, who have led the Chargers in scoring this season, combined for eight points or a little under a third of their normal scoring output.

“I think our defense was really good. I don’t think they got a lot of easy looks,” Bregante said.

Busch added 11 rebounds to go with his 14 points.

In league, the Dons remain in second place with a 4-2 record. Dos Pueblos fell to 2-4 with the loss.

SANTA BARBARA 51, DOS PUEBLOS 36

Dos Pueblos – Wopat 4, Conner 2, Perez 5, Magner 2, Richman 2, Blake 1, Mertens 6, Vickers 8, Williams 6. Totals 11 fg, 12-21 FTs
Santa Barbara – West 4, Fay 3, Busch 14, Wagonhurst 2, Ramos 2, Cohen 14, Gonzalez 11, Lopez 4, Stevens 1. Totals 21 fg, 7-20 FTs

3-pointers – DP 2 (Mertens, Perez), SB 2 (Gonzalez, Fay) Total Fouls – DP 19, SB 18

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