GBK: Conditions were right for Melgoza’s big scoring night

Amber Melgoza pumped in 50 points in a CIF quarterfinal game.

Amber Melgoza pumped in 50 points in a CIF quarterfinal game. Melgoza and the Dons will be home Tuesday for a 2AA semifinal game against top-seeded Redondo.


Andrew Butcher cautioned his Santa Barbara High girls basketball team before Saturday’s CIF Division 2AA quarterfinal game that Summit was going try to disrupt its game with an aggressive, in-your-face defense.

That didn’t faze Dons leading scorer Amber Melgoza one bit. Her mindset was: “Bring it on.”

Melgoza destroyed Summit’s defensive tactics, scorching the SkyHawks for 50 points in a 89-76 victory in Fontana.

“Funny thing, she was only 1 of 5 on threes,” Butcher said on Sunday. “If she hit a couple more threes and made a couple more free throws, she might have had 60. It was crazy.”

The fourth-seeded Dons will host No. 1 Redondo in a 2AA semifinal on Wednesday night. [EDITOR NOTE: Game rescheduled from Tuesday to Wednesday night at 7 p.m.]

Melgoza tore up Summit for 30 points in the first half, and the Dons led 49-44 at halftime. It was 74-63 at the end of the third quarter.

Butcher said the conditions were right for Melgoza to have a big scoring night.

“They were a super in-your-face pressure team and Amber kind of thrives in that,” Butcher said. “I told my wife before I left that ‘Amber might get 50 for 60 tonight.’ My wife kind of laughed. But I was serious. They are so in your face that, if you can handle the initial pressure, the basket is vulnerable. I told the girls: ‘If we make good decisions, we’ll be in good position to get some points tonight.’ Most teams fold against that pressure. We didn’t.”

He praised freshman point guard Cassandra Gordon for her composure against the pressure.

“They were really quick and really physical, and really good. But it kind of all came together for us,” Butcher said.

He noted a key for Melgoza’s scoring success was staying balanced when she drew contact while shooting.

“Amber has been working a lot on being a lot more balanced when she attacks the basket. She’d drive and fake and fake and they’d land on her, and she’d put the ball up and get a three-point play.

“I always tell them that referees reward for balance and control,” Butcher continued. “So now she’s figured out once she gets in there, she’s balanced and controlled, they’ll give you the calls. If you just throw something up, they’re not going to give you the call.”

Summit tried containing Melgoza with a triangle-and-two defense, but the defenders kept fouling. She went to the free-throw line 22 times and made 17.

With two players trying to stop Melgoza, Jocelin Petatan capitalized and scored 19 points.

“There was always one girl open,” Butcher said.

He praised Jada Howard, who played a lot of minutes at point guard. The Dons also got a big contribution in the second half from Alejandra Mejia. She came in when starter Kimberly Gebhardt picked up her fourth foul and played solid defense. Summit drove on her but she held her ground and disrupted shots.

“They must have run into her eight times and the ref wouldn’t call it,” Butcher said.

Butcher wasn’t surprised the game was so high scoring. Summit averaged 66 points a game.

“They can flat-out score,” he said. “They crash the boards and run. Our only chance was to have a crazy night.”