BBK: Dons handle physical Chargers for 69-47 road victory

Santa Barbara's Bolden Brace makes a mid-air pass around Dos Pueblos defender Diego Riker

Santa Barbara’s Bolden Brace makes a mid-air pass around Dos Pueblos defender Diego Riker. (Presidio Sports photos)

Santa Barbara High didn’t fill up the basket with a bunch of 3-pointers on Friday night at Dos Pueblos like it usually does.

Against the physical, hard-nosed Chargers, the Dons made just five treys. They instead attacked the basket and got to the free-throw line, knocking down 28 of 43 from the line en route to a 69-47 Channel League boys basketball win before a full house at Sovine Gym.

Bolden Brace, who usually buries five or more 3-pointers a game, made only two against the Chargers. Instead, he took advantage of his size and quickness and drew several fouls on drives to the basket. He scored nine of his game-high 19 points on free throws. He also did a nice job setting up teammates for scores and forcing turnovers.

“He really showed a lot of leadership,” Santa Barbara coach David Bregante said of the 6-5 junior. “He was encouraging guys out there, he’s telling guys where to be, he’s telling them what we’re running. For the first time really, he showed really good leadership. We need that from him.”

Santa Barbara High's Nick Busch gets to the rim for a basket.

Santa Barbara High’s Nick Busch gets to the rim for a basket.

Brace helped the Dons break out to a 20-11 lead in the first quarter. He sank two free throws and followed with an assist to Nick Busch to put them up 12-4. He closed out the quarter with a pair of steals, which resulted in a three-point play and a 3-point bomb.

“The key for us was to keep Bolden out of the game, but he’s a great player and he’s going to find his shots,” said DP coach Joe Zamora. “Colby Hill just shook his head when he one from 25 feet out.”

Santa Barbara’s lead got up to 29-16 before DP put a 6-0 run together and pulled to within five, 30-25, with 3:12 to go in the half.

The Dons closed out the quarter with a 6-0 run of their own. Brace assisted on two of the baskets, feeding Chris Wagonhurst and Busch.

“That was one of the things against San Marcos, we settled for too many jump shots,” Bregante said of Wednesday’s 10-point loss. “We got to get to the basket and we got to get to the free-throw line.”

The Dons (17-4, 1-1) scored 20 points from the charity stripe in the second half.

Busch and Ben Clay bounced back from tough games at San Marcos. Clay scored 16 points and Busch had 12.

Bregante was pleased how his team handled DP’s physical play.

“We kept our poise,” he said. “With all the pushing and shoving and grabbing that was going on out there, our kids really kept their poise and kept their focus on the game.”

Zamora said Santa Barbara’s size advantage prompted the Chargers to play physical. They were whistled for 28 fouls.

Dos Pueblos' Eli Wopat reaches to block the shot of Santa Barbara's Bolden Brace.

Dos Pueblos’ Eli Wopat reaches to block the shot of Santa Barbara’s Bolden Brace.

“We did a get a lot of fouls; we played physical tonight,” he said. “We knew we had to because they’re a big team. I thought there were a lot of fouls both ways but that’s just part of the game. “

The Chargers suffered a blow early in the game when starting forward Nick Ditmeijer suffered an apparent knee injury on a drive to the basket. He didn’t return to the game.

“I think losing Nick early in the game really put us on our heels and then we had to go to some guys that don’t have as much (playing) time or experience,” Zamora said. “You got to give it to Santa Barbara, they came out and hit some shots. We followed our game plan. We just couldn’t execute at times at the offensive end and we had some turnovers that hurt us.”

Marcellus Gossett and Anthony Trujillo each scored nine points to lead DP (3-13, 0-2).