Despite a strong first half, the Santa Barbara High girls’ basketball team had no answer for UCLA-bound senior Gabriela Jaquez and dropped their Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions opener to undefeated Camarillo 71-52 on Tuesday night.

Jaquez poured in a game-high 38 points, including 25 in the second half. The Dons led 27-26 at halftime before the Scorpions broke open the game by out-scoring Santa Barbara 24-11 in the third quarter.

“In the first half, we did a good job in transition, and [Jaquez] didn’t just go coast-to-coast,” said Santa Barbara coach Andrew Butcher. “In the second half, she did, and offensive rebounds killed us.”

#24 Caia Trimble attacks the Camarillo defense. | Credit: Gary Kim

Santa Barbara’s strong start was spearheaded by senior Caia Trimble and freshman Elle Stone, who finished with 17 and 15 points respectively.

A three-pointer by Stone gave Santa Barbara a 10-9 lead with 1:41 remaining in the first quarter. However, Camarillo responded with a 9-3 run and increased its lead to 18-13 on an Anika Carey corner three-pointer midway through the second quarter.

The two teams continued to go back and forth in the latter stages of the first half as another three-pointer by Carey put Camarillo ahead 24-18 with just over three minutes remaining in the second quarter, but that was followed immediately by a 9-0 Santa Barbara run capped off by two Trimble free-throws that increased the Santa Barbara lead to 27-24 with 1:05 remaining in the first half.

Jaquez grabbed an offensive rebound and finished inside to cut the Camarillo deficit to 27-26 just before the halftime buzzer sounded.

Camarillo (12-0) opened the second half with back-to-back offensive rebounds and put-backs by Jezzmyn Collins to take a 30-27 lead and never looked back, surging to a 50-38 lead going into the fourth quarter.

“We had a good game plan. We wanted to take away their two scorers. We wanted to take away their transition, and we wanted to rebound,” Butcher said. “The bottom line is that [Camarillo] is a quality team and when you make mistakes, they make you pay.”

Santa Barbara (5-6) will face-off against Ventura on Wednesday, beginning at 2:30 p.m. on the second day of the TOC.

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Orange Lutheran 50 San Marcos 42

#12 Carly Nielson drives to the rim. | Credit: Gary Kim

The Royals came into the game on a seven-game winning streak and led 28-24 at halftime, but they could not hold off the visiting Lancers, who improved to 11-1 on the season with the victory.

San Marcos was led by Ellie Monson and Mia Martinez-Tomatis, who finished with 12 and 11 points respectively.

“On any given night, anything can happen, and I think tonight we weren’t into the game mentally,” said San Marcos High coach Tiffany Simms. 

Orange Lutheran boasted a significant size advantage and overpowered San Marcos on the interior, especially in the second half led by Taliyah McFerson, who led the way with a game-high 19 points.

“Changing into a 2-3 zone really helped us out. It stopped their shooters a little bit and also stopped the drive,” said Orange Lutheran coach Lindsay Charity. “Offensively, the adjustments we made were to slow down and stop playing chaotic. We stopped playing at their pace and started playing our own.”

San Marcos will host Newbury Park Wednesday in the Santa Barbara TOC Green Division, beginning at 4 p.m.

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