GBK: Melgoza scores 41; Dons edge Harvard Westlake

Amber Melgoza scored 41 points, and Santa Barbara High’s girls basketball team overcame 28 turnovers and withstood the physical play of Harvard Westlake for a 54-49 win Saturday at the Ventura Showcase.

“They were the most physical team we played this year,” Santa Barbara assistant Jess Martinez said of Harvard Westlake, the No. 3-ranked team in the state in Division 4.

He added that the Wolverines matched them in team speed. “When Amber took off on the fast break, they had two players running with her.”

Melgoza’s points and the Dons’ defense made the difference for Santa Barbara.

“We shut down their big girl who was averaging 14 points. She scored nine,” said Martinez.

Melgoza grabbed 12 rebounds to go with fifth 40-point performance of the season. Jada Howard had 10 points and 7 rebounds and Cassandra Gordon scored three points.

The Dons led 28-26 at halftime and 45-40 after three quarters. Howard made two clutch free throws late in the fourth quarter to give the Dons a one-point lead and Melgoza knocked down free throws to seal the win.

Santa Barbara improves to 18-4 while Harvard Westlake is 16-10.