Luke Zuffelato led all scorers with 20 points. | Credit: Victor Bryant

A fast pace and some hot shooting lifted the Santa Barbara High boys’ basketball team out of an early season slump.

The Dons snapped a four-game losing streak with a 79-60 victory over rival Dos Pueblos in a Channel League contest on Friday night at JR Richards gymnasium.

“We had a rough week last week, but it really says a lot about their character the way they bounced back,” said Santa Barbara coach Corey Adam. “You lose some tough games in a row, we just kind of got out-physicaled last week. We talked about it in practice, worked on it in practice about how we’re not going to let somebody do that to us again.”

The bright side for Santa Barbara is that all of their losses have come in non-league contests as the Dons (5-7 overall) improved to 2-0 in Channel League play with the victory over Dos Pueblos. 

As for the Chargers, the loss has extra sting after they dropped a nail-biter to Rio Mesa in overtime to open Channel League play.

Dos Pueblos (1-5 overall, 0-2 Channel League) has been without its two top big-men, Grant Hughes and Micah Goss for much of the season. The duo was in the lineup tonight, but rust was a significant factor. 

“We’re learning how to play together other than practice, not being in condition with fine motor skills, fundamentals, X’s and O’s, but as you saw it was a tough shooting night for us all across the board,” said Dos Pueblos coach Joe Zamora. “When you don’t shoot the ball well, you allow them to get into the paint and you don’t play defense the way we normally do. It’s hard.”

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The game was tight early as a three-pointer by Dos Pueblos junior Matthew Zamora cut the Chargers’ deficit to 14-12 with 3:30 remaining in the first quarter.

However, Santa Barbara responded with an 8-2 run to end the first quarter capped off by a DJ Wilson three-pointer.

The Dons built on that momentum opening the second quarter on a 9-2 surge as a Luke Zuffelato three-pointer increased the lead to 31-16 with five minutes remaining before halftime.

Zuffelato finished with a game-high 20 points, but it was hardly a one-man show as five Dons scored in double figures.

Waylon Finkle starred for Santa Barbara in the second half with 14 points after the break, including two third quarter three-pointers. 

“Our gameplan on defense was to disrupt and we did that, then got out in transition and ran well,” Finkle said, “We made the extra pass and then we knocked down shots tonight.”

Dos Pueblos was led offensively by Hughes and Joe Talerico, who finished with 19 and 15 points respectively. 

The Chargers will take on Capistrano Valley in a non-league contest on Saturday, beginning at 4 p.m.

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