Santa Barbara High’s first trip to the CIF State basketball championship game ended in disappointment Friday afternoon. Modesto Christian went on a 16-3 run to take a 15-point lead early in the fourth quarter and held off the Dons in the girls Division III final at Sleep Train Arena in Sacramento, 64-55.

It was the Crusaders’ first victory in three title-game appearances.

Amber Melgoza led the Dons with 30 points, and she did it the hard way. Modesto Christian contested every shot she took. The sophomore made only five field goals but sank 20 free throws in 28 attempts at the line. Both free-throw numbers were state championship records.

Santa Barbara had an 11-game winning streak snapped and ended the season with a 30-6 record. Modesto Christian went 27-8 and won 24 of its last 25 games.


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