Breakers pull out fourth WCBL title

One quarter remaining, down by three, with the championship on the line. It’s time to see what this team is made of.

The Santa Barbara Breakers survived to win their fourth West Coast Pro Basketball League Championship. Santa Barbara overcame a five-point deficit entering the final quarter of play to beat the Santa Monica Jump 118-109 to take home the trophy.

“[The championship is] a big accomplishment,” Breakers forward Stan Fletcher said. “We put together a good team and everybody was gelling. We came together to play, so it’s big for the Breakers and the whole organization.”

It was Santa Barbara’s fourth WCBL championship in five years, but Santa Monica put the pressure on in crunch time. The Jump ended the third quarter and began the fourth quarter on an 8-0 run, putting Santa Barbara in a seven-point hole early in the final period.

With the game on the line, Fletcher stepped up and tallied five consecutive points to get his team back into the game. Fletcher finished with 17 points on 7-9 shooting, with 10 points in the fourth quarter.

“Stan had an amazing performance off the bench,” Breakers coach Curt Pickering said. “He’s the glue. He does all the little things and then he’ll do some big things, like hit 3s.”

Just minutes later, Breakers guard Tim Taylor knocked down a 3 to tie the game at 92. Fletcher followed up with a basket to give Santa Barbara its first lead of the final quarter.

“[It was about] picking my spots,” Fletcher said. “We’ve got a couple scorers on the team plus a seven-footer, so we have a lot of options on offense. It’s about picking the right time to take your shot, shooting the open shots, and when you have a chance to create – take advantage of it.”

But Santa Monica wasn’t going down easily. With just six minutes remaining, forward Tyquan Brown completed a three point play to retake the lead, 101-100.

The Jump’s lead was short-lived, though, as Breakers point guard Chris Reeves and Fletcher hit back to back 3s.
Reeves, who was playing in his first game with Santa Barbara this season, then completed a three-point play with two minutes remaining to put the Breakers up 111-104 and ensure victory. Santa Barbara finished the season with a 9-1 record.

“[Center Greg Somogyi] got the ball in the post and my man doubled,” Reeves said. “So I faded to the wing and let it fly.”

Reeves led all scorers with 33 points, but balanced scoring was actually the key for the Breakers. Besides Reeves and Fletcher, Somogyi tallied a double-double with 17 points, 11 rebounds and 8 blocks, forward Jerry Dupree scored 14 points and Taylor added 16 on 4-of-9 shooting from behind the arc.
Santa Barbara also had a big lift, especially in the waning seconds, from guard Arnette Hollis, who tallied 37 points in the first match-up two weeks ago. He finished with 16 points, six boards and three steals.

“We moved the ball really, really well,” Taylor said. “We had people hitting shots and people driving to the basket. We started going inside-out and once we did that, it opened up a lot of shots.”

Guard D’Andre Bell led the Jump offensively with 24 points and four assists. Brown finished with 22 points, six boards and three blocks.

“[Bell] was able to do whatever he wanted to,” Pickering said. “He was hitting 3s, driving for the score, getting offensive rebounds and he had some blocked shots on defense. He was Mr. everything out there.”

Yet in the fourth quarter, Santa Barbara stepped up their defense, holding Santa Monica to just 22 points. Bell and Brown were held to a combined eight points in the final period.

“One great move was that Chris Reeves wanted to guard Bell,” Pickering said. “Bell is 6-foot-6 or 6-7 and Chris is only 6-1 or 6-2 at the most. [Reeves] wanted to get in his grill and he did and he limited Bell in the fourth quarter. That was a big factor in the fourth quarter.”

After it’s all said and done, Santa Barbara walks away with the trophy looking ahead to future tournaments, next season and possibly some professional careers for several of the Breakers players.