BBK: Dons rely on defense to beat DP in league opener

On a night when both Santa Barbara and Dos Pueblos struggled with their shooting, the Dons made things happen with their defense, did a nice job moving the basketball and came away with a 58-37 victory in the Channel League opener Wednesday night at Sovine Gym.

Jack Baker recorded a double-double with 10 points and 12 rebounds, and he swatted five Dos Pueblos shots in the paint to lead a balanced Santa Barbara (7-1) attack. Isaiah Tapia and Bolden Brace each had nine points, Eli Hale chipped in seven off the bench and David Trujillo and Noah Burke added six points.

Dos Pueblos (2-5) got 9 points from Matt Sessler and seven from Nate Johnson, including a breakaway dunk in the fourth quarter.

The Chargers couldn?t get much scoring inside as the Santa Barbara defense formed a fence around the key. If they did get the ball in the paint, Baker was there to deny a clear shot at the basket.

“The thing that carried us was defense, and Jack anchors that defense,” Santa Barbara coach David Bregante said. “To hold a team under 40 points is pretty good.”

Santa Barbara opened up a 24-12 lead midway through the second period behind good defense and ball distribution. Tapia fed Chris Wagonhurst for a basket, Eli Hale converted a steal into a layup and Burke dished off to Brace for an easy bucket before DP answered with a 3-pointer by Dayne Gardiner.

“Our team loves to share the ball. We really don’t have any selfish players on this team,” said Burke. “We didn’t shoot the best particularly but we still got the victory.”

Burke made a dazzling play at the end of the quarter, driving hard to the basket and switching the ball from his right to his left hand for a layup. That gave the Dons a 28-19 lead.

The lead blew up to 19 points (44-25) in the third quarter following some crowd-pleasing plays for Santa Barbara fans. On the first one, the Dons executed a perfect inbound play with Burke feeding Baker for a layup. The hustle of Trujillo created the next play. He scrambled on the floor for a loose ball and fed it to Tapia, who buried a 3-pointer. Burke scored inside, Brace put in an offense rebound and Burke hit two free throws to cap an 11-0 run.

Normally a good 3-point shooting team, the Dons made just 4 of 29 shots from behind the arc and hit 18 of 40 on two-point shots. Dos Pueblos wasn’t much better, making 15 of 50 from the floor and 5 of 28 on 3-pointers.

“They had really good defense and we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” DP coach Joe Zamora said.

The DP coach felt Santa Barbara was hungrier than his squad.

“They got a lot more 50-50 balls than we did and it looked like they wanted the ball more than we did,” he said. When you put those things together, you’re not going to have a very successful night.”

Noah Burke of Santa Barbara drives past  DP's Dayne Gardiner during Wednesday's Channel League opener.

Noah Burke of Santa Barbara drives past DP’s Dayne Gardiner during Wednesday’s Channel League opener.