BBK: Dons comeback falls short at Redlands East Valley, 61-58

Santa Barbara High’s boys basketball team stormed back from a big deficit at Redlands East Valley. But the Dons missed three 3-point shots in the last 10 seconds and came out on the short end of a 61-58 decision in a CIF Division 2A semifinal game Tuesday night.

The second-seeded Dons trailed the entire game but made a great comeback in the fourth quarter and pulled to within one, 59-58, with 25 seconds left. East Valley made a pair of free throw to lead by three. Santa Barbara tried to make a game-tying 3-pointer. Bolden Brace, Chris Wagonhurst and Max Henderson all put up shots in the last 10 seconds but they wouldn’t fall.

Brace led the Dons with 32 points. He made eight 3-pointers. No other Don scored in double figures.

Kim Aiken had 17 points and 13 rebounds, Julian Sinegal had 14 points, four assists and four rebounds and Alex Ziska had 11 points, making three 3-pointers, to lead the sixth-seeded Wildcats.

Redlands East Valley came out hot in the first half, opening up 25-15 lead in the first quarter and a 35-23 advantage at halftime. East Valley did a good job denying the 3-pointer.

“We really had trouble stopping them from scoring the first quarter,” assistant coach Joseph Bregante said. “It just seemed like they couldn’t miss.

Santa Barbara (28-5) attacked the basket more in the third quarter and pulled to within 10, 37-27.

But East Valley got hot again. It expanded its lead to 46-31 in the third quarter as guard Julian Sinegal kept making shots.

Santa Barbara trailed 54-39 at the end of three quarters.

Chris Givens opened the fourth quarter with a 3-pointer and the Dons got momentum. Ben Clay scored inside, Brace started hitting shots and Santa Barbara pulled to within three, 59-56, with 4:01 left in the fourth quarter.

The Dons got it to one, 59-58, with 25 seconds remaining in regulation.

East Valley made two free throws to go up 61-58.

“We are really proud of our kids in the way they kept competing and came back,” Bregante said. “This is a special group of kids and expect to continue playing in the state playoffs.”