GBK: Melgoza burns Centennial with 37 points; Dons win 54-36

Santa Barbara High's Amber Melgoza led all scorers with 37 points on Thursday.

Santa Barbara High’s Amber Melgoza led all scorers with 37 points on Thursday.


Centennial of Bakersfield provided a stiff challenge for the Santa Barbara High girls basketball team and its top player Amber Melgoza.

Melgoza got bumped around by the stronger and more physical Red Hawks, but that only made her more determined to score. Melgoza took it to Centennial, pouring in 37 points to lead the Dons to a 54-36 win in the second round of the Gold Coast Classic at the San Marcos Thunderhut.

“I thought Amber did a really good job, and the kids were able to find her,” Santa Barbara coach Andrew Butcher said. (The Red Hawks) were very aggressive with her and I thought she kept her composure.”

Melgoza was on the move all game long to get herself open for shots. And she knocked them down, from 3-point range, mid-range, in the key and made layups off turnovers created by the Santa Barbara press.

“If you can get a couple of easy baskets against a good team, it’s like gold. And we got a couple of those, and it makes a difference,” said Butcher. “You got to play to your strengths. They were a lot bigger and stronger than us, so we had to get something off the press.”

Thanks to the press and Melgoza’s 11 straight points to the start the second quarter, the Dons went from a 14-10 lead at end of the first quarter to a 25-13 advantage with 5 minutes left in the second quarter. Melgoza added a free throw to account for all of Santa Barbara’s scoring in the quarter.

Two free throws by Jocelin Petatan to start the third quarter ended Melgoza’s scoring run. Those were Petatan’s only points on the night, but she contributed with her passing and defense.

“Her scoring is going to come and go,” Butcher said. “She does a lot of good things for us; she’s our best defender. She played a lot of minutes yesterday because Jada didn’t play, so she was kind of out of gas today.”

Kimberly Gebhardt showed that can she can be a bigger contributor in the scoring column. She knocked down some 15-foot shots and finished with eight points. Howard added seven points for the 5-0 Dons.

The Dons did a good job protecting the basketball as they committed just seven turnovers.

Taylor Madden, a strong, physical post player, scored 14 points and quick point guard Alyssa Gonzales added 10 for Centennial (4-2), which was coming off a opening-round win against Buena.

Kimberly Gebhardt takes a shot over a Bakersfield defender.

Kimberly Gebhardt takes a shot over Bakersfield defender Ally Folsom.