BWP: Dons can’t be beat, win Pal Memorial Tournament

Sawyer Rhodes and the Dons are the 2015 Steve Pal Memorial Tournament champions.

Sawyer Rhodes and the Dons are the 2015 Steve Pal Memorial Tournament champions.

The Dons are still streaking after the Steve Pal Memorial Tournament, running their winning streak to 19 games after winning the tournament championship, 8-7, over Righetti on Saturday.

Santa Barbara High, currently ranked No. 3 in CIF Division 2, registered three-straight one-goal victories on Saturday to reach the winner’s circle. The Dons edged Villa Park 7-6, then an 11-10 overtime win over Damien in the semifinals, followed by the triumph over Righetti.

Adam Gross delivered the game-winning goal for the Dons in the championship match with under a minute to play in regulation. Sawyer Rhodes led Santa Barbara in scoring with five goals while Connor O’Keefe played a important role with an assist and two steals.

The semifinal victory needed a goal from Rhodes in the final seconds of the fourth quarter to make it a possibility. The Dons didn’t waste the opportunity as Gross netted another game-winner on their first possession of overtime for a sudden-death decision. Jack Rottman had a big game, collecting two goals, two assists and four drawn ejections.

Justyn Barrios came through with the clutch play in the quarterfinal victory over Villa Park. The Dons goalie blocked a point-blank shot in the final minute to preserve Santa Barbara’s precarious one-goal advantage.

Santa Barbara, 23-4 overall, returns to Channel League play next week. The Dons, entering the final week of the regular season, travel to Buena on Tuesday and host San Marcos on Thursday.