Dons shock Ventura to take second in Channel League

The Santa Barbara boys basketball team defeated Ventura 59-56 at home on Thursday to hand the Cougars their first league loss in two years. The Dons took second place in the Channel League with the victory while Ventura finished first.

“It’s the best way to finish the season,” assistant coach Andrew Gil said.

Ventura, the defending CIF Division 2AA champions, was unable to distance itself from the Dons and each quarter ended with a margin of two or less separating the two teams.

With the game still close late in fourth, the Santa Barbara defense clamped down and came up with two big stops. The offense took advantage and Emilio Gonzalez hit a three-pointer to put the Dons up by five points.

Gonzalez led the team with 22 points while Sam Cohen had 10 and Andy Busch added eight more.

The result was still in doubt until the very last second, when a three-pointer by the Cougars (that would have tied the game) rimmed out.

Santa Barbara finished the season with an overall record of 13-11 and went 7-5 in league. The victory ensured a spot in the CIF Division 3AA playoffs and the brackets will be released Sunday at 1:30 p.m.