O’Neal puts up 26 in Breakers debut

In their best offensive performance of the season, the Santa Barbara Breakers annihilated the High Desert Spartans 142-100 on Saturday in the Thunderhut at San Marcos High School.

With the victory, the Breakers improve to 3-1 while the Spartans drop to 0-4.

For Santa Barbara, eight of its nine players finished in double figures. Newcomer Derrick O’Neal led the way with 26 points, 10 rebounds and eight assists. Stan Fletcher also finished with 21 points while Greg Somogyi tallied a double-double with 12 rebounds and 11 blocks, the blocks being a new WCBL and Breakers record, breaking the 10 recorded by Breakers Keith Closs and Rashid Byrd.

“I knew what Derrick could bring,” Head Coach Curt Pickering said. “He played with us last November and December and that led him to a job with the Bakersfield Jam in the [NBA Development League.] They got knocked out of the playoffs and here he is.”

The first quarter resembled both a track meet and a shooting contest. Although the Spartans took a lead to begin the game, the Breakers ended the period on a 22-11 run and took a nine point lead into the second quarter.
“We were just trying to play hard and more aggressively than they were on the defensive end first, which then turned into offense,” Arvette Hollins said.

Despite simply sustaining the lead in the second period, Santa Barbara blew the game open after halftime thanks to a 41 point quarter. Five threes aided the Breakers in reaching the 100 point plateau with more than 12 minutes left to play.

“They had a little bit of confidence because the margin wasn’t that big…like 10 points,” Hollins said. “We wanted to come out and just stop them and take that confidence away.”

While the game was already in the bag entering the final period at 101-75, Santa Barbara continued to press. Hollins came up big in the fourth for the second consecutive game, scoring 11 of his 21 points.

“I’ve always been a second half player,” Hollins said. “The first half I’m always feeling people out and the second half I make adjustments.”

For the Spartans, Anthony Shackelfor led the team offensively with 21 points and kept his team in the game during the first half.

“Shackleford shot the three well, hit midrange jumpers, and was a solid scorer for them,” Pickering said.
Santa Barbara is back in action next Saturday against the Santa Monica Jump.