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Friday, January 18 , 2019, 2:24 am | Fair 54º

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Boys Basketball

Santa Barbara Hits Century Mark in State Tournament Opener

Nick Busch scores in 31 points, Bolden Brace has six dunks in 102-68 rout of Selma

Bolden Brace goes up for one of his six slam dunks in Santa Barbara’s win over Selma in the Division 3 State Regional Tournament.
Bolden Brace goes up for one of his six slam dunks in Santa Barbara’s win over Selma in the Division 3 State Regional Tournament. (Javier Delarosa / Noozhawk photo)

It was a swish-and-jam party at Santa Barbara High’s J.R. Richards Gym, and the Dons basketball team was having fun pleasing the full house.

The newly crowned CIF-Southern Section 2A Division champions went on a scoring explosion and blew out Selma of the Central Section, 102-68, on Wednesday night in a first-round game of the CIF Divison 3 State Regional Tournament.

That’s right, 102 points. It was another amazing accomplishment in a season full of great accomplishments by the now 32-1 Dons, who will host Bonita in a quarterfinal game on Saturday at 6 p.m. Bonita beat La Jolla Country Day, 52-48.

[Scroll down for video highlights]

Morgan Peus knocked down a 3-pointer with 1:27 left in the fourth quarter to put Santa Barbara at the century mark.  Daniel Chung made it 102 with a layup.

“It’s not so much scoring 100 points, it’s the kids moving the ball and being successful shooting the ball,” said Santa Barbara coach Dave Bregante.

Ben Brown of the Dons drives in for two of his 12 points. Click to view larger
Ben Brown of the Dons drives in for two of his 12 points. (Javier Delarosa / Noozhawk photo)

Nick Busch had a big night shooting ball, knocking down five 3-pointers en route to a game-high 31 points.

“He’s been struggling but he got it going tonight,” Bregante said. “He’s got the potential to be a great, great player. You know that. He’s got Division 1 talent. It’s just a matter of getting it going.”

Said Busch: “It was nice to finally knock some down. We worked on a lot of shooting in practice and that definitely helped.”

Busch scored back-to-back buckets to ignite a 12-0 run that blew the game open in the third quarter. The Dons extended their lead to 67-43.

On scoring 100 points, “I’ve never seen that in a high school game in Santa Barbara,” he said. “It’s pretty nice. It’s nice to get to do that.”

Busch also had a couple of dunks, but it was Bolden Brace who claimed the dunk title on Wednesday, throwing down six.  He had four in the second quarter, with Busch starting one of the plays with a blocked shot. On another in the quarter, he was hit with a technical for hanging on the rim.

He best dunk came in the fourth quarter after Selma’s 6-6 sophomore Tiveon Stroud threw one down. Brace came back with a hard drive to the basket and slammed home his last points of the night. He finished with 26 points.

“That was a fun one,” he said of his answer to Tiveon’s dunk.

“Anything after this is kind of gravy,” Brace said of the state tournament games. “Now that we finally won CIF and got that off our chest, we’re finally out here just having fun. Everyone is having fun, everyone is looking forward to our games and cherishing our last moments as Dons.”

Ben Brown hit a pair of 3-pointers, assisted on a Brace dunk and finished with 12 points. Ben Clay had a monster jam off a Brace pass, knocked down a trey and scored 11 points.

Selma (25-9), the Central Section Division 3 runner-up, had an outstanding shooter in guard William Pallesi. He buried six 3-pointers and scored 34 points.

The Bears tried to run with Santa Barbara, which proved to be a mistake. Busch score 11 points in the first quarter as the Dons raced out to a 28-14 lead. It was 50-38 at halftime.

“We all felt pretty confident coming off the CIF championship, so that definitely helped,” said Busch of the team’s high-level of play. “We keep grinding and we run teams down and eventually they won’t be able to run with us, and we keep pushing.”

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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