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San Marcos Bounces Buena, 62-47

Brian Pearson puts on shooting clinic, hitting eight three-pointers to tie Royals record.

How quickly things change in high school sports.

The San Marcos boys’ basketball team was a despondent group after dropping its first two Channel League games to rivals Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara. But the Royals rebounded with a little fire, taking care of Ventura on Wednesday night and finishing the first round of league play with a 62-47 victory at Buena on Friday night.

San Marcos (15-6, 2-2) also started the season with two straight losses before turning things around, winning 11 straight games, including two tournament titles. Along the way the Royals went to the top of the county in three-point shooting. On Friday, senior Brian Pearson put on a shooting clinic himself to muzzle the Bulldogs (9-9, 0-4).

Pearson hit eight long-range jump shots for 24 points, keeping Royals fans on the edge of their seats and making history by tying a San Marcos record for three-pointers.

Royals head coach Jarrod Bradley said his squad rallied around the hot hand of their sharpshooter.

“Everyone knows what he (Pearson) is capable of doing,” Bradley said. “When he starts hitting, everyone looks for him and the team takes pride in that.”

Pearson hit his first shot in the opening minutes of the game, but Buena built a 28-24 halftime lead behind some physical defense and inside play. Bradley’s game plan for the second half seemed like a simple one, and the Royals executed it to perfection.

“I told them we’ve got to match their physical-ness on defense and we have to go inside out,” he said.

The San Marcos defense turned it up in the third quarter, giving up only two free throws to the Bulldogs and, while the Buena defense swarmed center Frank Nordin in the post, the Royals found Pearson repeatedly on the outside. By the time the period was over, Pearson had 15 points and the Royals held a 47-30 advantage.

Pearson opened the fourth quarter with yet another three-point shot and then hit his final one to cap the Royals’ scoring at 62. Buena star Marquis Johnson had been averaging 13 points per game, but Scott Moll held him scoreless in the second half, and Nordin cleaned up all the misses, finishing with 15 rebounds.

The San Marcos junior varsity team also had a run of its own in the second half, but it was not enough as Buena won, 51-43.

Buena turned an eight-point first-quarter lead into a 16-point lead in the third quarter. But the Royals responded with a 14-0 run, highlighted by a pair of three-pointers from Shane Moore, to cut the lead to two. That was as close as the game would get, however, as Buena made its free throws down the stretch to hold on for the win.

Moore finished with 15 points and Neil Greene scored 14 for San Marcos.

The Royals’ frosh/soph team had a big first quarter, but then fell victim to foul trouble, dropping its game, 65-52, to Buena.

San Marcos had a 22-11 advantage entering the second period, but found most of its posts on the bench with three fouls. With the big bodies out of the game, Buena found some easy buckets from offensive rebounds to come all the way back. J.P. Dodson led the Royals with 12 points.

Channel League play with resume for San Marcos on Jan. 30 at home against Dos Pueblos. Meanwhile, the Royals have one more nonleague contest when they host Oak Park on Wednesday.

Alex Sheldon coaches San Marcos’ junior varsity girl’s basketball team.

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