BBK: Brace’s shooting sparks Dons to 66-49 state tourney win

Bolden Brace knocked down three straight 3-pointers in the fourth quarter, allowing Santa Barbara High’s boys basketball team to pull away to a 66-49 win at Eagle Rock in a first round game of the CIF State Division 3 Regionals on Wednesday night.

Brace, a sophomore, finished with 19 points, while senior Jack Baker led the Dons (26-3) with 20 points against the L.A. City Section Division champions.

Santa Barbara (26-3) advances to a second round game on Saturday at top-seeded Chaminade.

The Dons were up 26-24 at halftime and came out on fire in the third quarter. The seniors, Noah Burke and Baker, led the charge. Baker scored 10 points in the quarter and Burke had eight of his 12 as the Dons got their up-tempo attack going.

They opened up a 48-35 advantage by the end of the quarter.

Then Brace caught fire and knocked down his long-range shots to boost the lead to 59-45 midway through the fourth quarter.

“We played really well in the second half and contained (Eagle Rock’s top player) Stewart Ramirez after he scored 14 in the first half,” Santa Barbara assistant coach Andy Gil said.

Gil noted the hustle plays and toughness of Bubby Vernon off the bench.

Santa Barbara shot 51 percent on two-points, making 24 of 47. The Dons outrebounded Eagle Rock 46-38 and had 17 assists as a team..

Santa Barbara was playing their first game after being eliminated in the CIF 3A Division semifinals two weeks ago.

“The was a great team win,” Gil said. “We feel ecstatic to have new life. We feel like we gave up a Southern Section title when we lost to Oak Park. We are excited.”