Luke Zuffellato attacks the rim. | Credit: ENTENZA

Sophomores Luke Zuffellato and Carter Battle combined to score 37 points as the Santa Barbara High boys basketball team pulled away for a 76-51 victory over St. Bonaventure on Tuesday night at J.R. Richards Gymnasium. 

The visiting Seraphs came into the game with a perfect 4-0 record and had not allowed more than 33 points to any opponent, but found themselves in a fast-paced game that seemed to favor Santa Barbara.

“You see our size, if we try to play in the halfcourt against a team that big we’re going to be in trouble,” said Santa Barbara coach Corey Adam. “We want to get teams running. We’ve got a lot of quick guards and guys that are tough defensively.”

The Dons were intent on slowing down St. Bonaventure 6’7” forward Dylan Benner, who is a Division I prospect. Constant double-teams produced the desired outcome as Benner only scored five points.

St. Bonaventure jumped out to a 6-2 lead to start the game after back-to-back baskets inside by senior forward Nate Loomis. However, Santa Barbara evened the score at 6-6 midway through the first quarter on a turnaround jumper by Zuffellato.

A steal and layup by Battle with ten seconds remaining in the first quarter gave Santa Barbara a 13-11 lead. 

The Dons outscored St. Bonaventure 19-8 in the second quarter relying heavily on defensive pressure to create easy opportunities on offense. A three-pointer by Waylon Finkle increased the Santa Barbara lead to 32-17 lead with 22 seconds remaining in the first half.

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A Loomis layup with eight seconds remaining before halftime cut the Seraphs’ deficit to 32-19.

In the third quarter, junior guard Jerermy Goodcase started to heat up. His back-to-back three-pointers cut the St. Bonaventure deficit to 37-29 with 5:10 remaining in the quarter.

That’s when Santa Barbara hit the accelerator and ripped off a 16-0 run that began with a Zuffelato three-point play and concluded with a driving layup by Finkle that increased the Santa Barbara lead to 53-29.

“Scoring the rock in the paint, I was more of a shooter last year, but getting in the weight room and working on my finishing all around the baskets has helped me overall,” said Zueffellato on improvements he made from his freshman to his sophomore season. He finished with a game-high 22 points.

The fourth quarter was wide open as both teams emptied their benches. Ten of eleven Santa Barbara players scored in the game.

Santa Barbara will host Trinity League powerhouse St. John Bosco on Friday, beginning at 6 p.m.

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