BBK: Dons run all over Firebaugh in CIF 3A opener


After three rounds of league play, Santa Barbara High’s boys basketball team was glad to play a new opponent in the CIF 3A Division playoffs.

The top-seeded Dons came out frisky and fired up and ran Firebaugh out of J.R. Richards Gym, 92-38, in a first-round game on Wednesday night.

Seniors Jack Baker and Noah Burke put an exclamation point on the victory on the first possession of the second half, with Burke throwing a long lob pass for a Baker dunk.

Isaiah Tapia knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 19 points in Santa Barbara's win.

Isaiah Tapia knocked down three 3-pointers and scored 19 points in Santa Barbara’s win.

“We didn’t know anything about them,” Santa Barbara coach David Bregante said about Firebaugh. “We knew they had 16 wins. The score that scared me was they played Price and Price beat them by 20. But Price also beat Sierra Canyon (an Open Division team that beat the Dons early in the season). That score scared me because Sierra Canyon is a really good team.”

Bregante liked what he saw from his team in the playoff opener.

“We played pretty well,” he said. “They weren’t too strong,”

He noted it was the school’s first CIF playoff win in quite awhile. The Dons last won a playoff game in 2009.

Baker was a force against the smaller Falcons. The 6-5 senior finished with 23 points, 11 rebounds, four blocked shots and four assists. Isaiah Tapia scored 19 points, knocking down 3 of 6 three-pointers; Andrew Fay was a dead-eye shooter, making all four of his two-point field goals and hitting a trey for 11 points, and Bolden Brace scored 10 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

The Dons (24-2) advance to a second-round game against  Shadow Hills on Friday night. The game will be at J.R. Richards Gym.

Firebaugh (16-10) made the mistake of trying to run with the Dons. The Falcons quickly found themselves getting beat in transition and falling behind 14-2 in the first three minutes.

The lead blew up to 29-13 by the end of the second quarter and 60-20 by halftime.

Fay was nails in the second quarter, dropping in 12- to 18-foot jumpers and burying his 3-pointer at the end of the period.

“He plays like that in practice; I think a lot of it is practice,” Bregante said. “I think he needed a game like this. I think it was his best game of the year, actually.”

Bregante said he could tell from practice on Tuesday that his team was ready for the postseason.

“The kids have been pretty focused all year long,” he noted. “Our goal was to make a good showing today. Last year, we lost to Beverly Hills in the first game. That was on our minds. I could see yesterday we were ready to play. It was good.”