BBK: High-flying Dons soar into CIF 3A quarterfinals

There were two long lines to get into J.R. Richards Gym on Friday night.

The Santa Barbara High boys basketball team has created quite a stir in the community with its fast-paced, bombs-away offense. It’s reminiscent of the Showtime L.A. Lakers of the 1980s.


The top-seeded Dons treated their fans to another night of dazzling plays in rolling past Indio’s Shadow Hills, 79-56, in a CIF 3A Division second-round game Friday night.

Santa Barbara (24-2) takes its show on the road for the quarterfinals, playing at Bishop Amat on Tuesday.

The Dons executed a Showtime-like play for their first basket of the game. Noah Burke threw a Magic Johnson-type bounce pass to a streaking Jack Baker for a slam dunk.

“That was great,” Baker said. “I warmed up, I felt good, I felt like I could jump and he hit me early. It was a good play and great pass.”

Burke and his teammates kept the tempo at a torrid pace and roared to a 24-12 advantage by the end of the first quarter. When he wasn’t flying to the hoop, Burke soared on the boards and scored a pair of baskets on offensive rebounds. He finished the quarter with a slick pass to Ben Clay for a basket.

“Noah does everything for us, he’s one of our catalysts,” Santa Barbara coach David Bregante said. “He’s one of the guys we depend on to do a lot of things. Especially in the second half of the season, he’s become a pretty darn good rebounder for a guy that’s 5-8. He’s a key to what we do.”

Baker played another tremendous game with 18 points, 12 rebounds and eight blocked shots. He did all that in three quarters.

If that wasn’t enough to demoralize Shadow Hills (15-10), there was Isaiah Tapia. He buried 6 of 11 three-pointers for 18 points. His third bomb of the first half gave the Dons a 28-point lead (45-17) midway through the second quarter.

The lead got as high as 40 points (67-27) after a 14-1 run to start the third quarter. Burke, Baker and Tapia had a part in the last three baskets of the run: Baker scoring off a lob from Burke, Tapia burying a three-pointer and a Baker dunk.

Bregante said the team is playing its best basketball right now, although he was quick to note that he wasn’t pleased with some of the play in the second half.

“I thought we had a big letdown in the second half; a lot of that was because of a lot of substitutions,” he said. “I told the kids that tomorrow we’ll practice, and we got to pick up our intensity and we got to make improvements on some of the things we did poorly tonight.”