After a slow start the Santa Barbara High boys basketball team staged a furious comeback to defeat visiting Mary Star of the Sea 77-69 in the CIF-SS Division 3A quarterfinals on Thursday night at J.R. Richards Gymnasium.
The first ten minutes of the game couldn’t have been any worse for Santa Barbara, as the Dons had their hands full with the Stars’ 6’ 3” senior Joseph Octave and failed to rise to the intensity of the game.
Santa Barbara fell behind 29-11with just under five minutes remaining in the second quarter before gaining its footing.
“We had to make some adjustments obviously. Our game plan wasn’t very good. We were getting killed,” said Santa Barbara coach David Bregante with a laugh. “We made some changes both defensively and offensively and they started to work.”
Octave caught fire early and scored 21 of his game-high 36 points in the first half. However, the Dons closed the first half on a 15-5 run, capped off by a Stephen Davis step-back jumper just before the buzzer sounded, which cut the deficit to 34-26 going into the break.
“We knew we weren’t playing our game in the first half. Once we started playing our game they couldn’t play with us,” Davis said. “We believed in ourselves and that was the key.”
The Dons outscored Mary Star of the Sea 23-8 in the third quarter, which was punctuated by another difficult jumper off the dribble by Davis as time expired, increasing the Santa Barbara lead to 49-42.
The fourth quarter was choppy as the visiting Stars repeatedly sent Santa Barbara to the free throw line in an effort to extend the game. The Dons converted 25-of-28 free-throw attempts in the game, including 19-of-20 in the fourth quarter.
Davis and Bryce Warrercker scored 20 points apiece to lead Santa Barbara. Sophomore Jasper Johnson chipped in 14 points.
Santa Barbara will host Palm Springs in a semifinal game on Saturday at 7 p.m.