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Boys Basketball

Santa Barbara Runs Into Corona del Mar Road Block, Falls in Holiday Classic Final, 50-37

CDM vs. Warrecker Click to view larger
Bryce Warrecker of Santa Barbara tries to score while being double-teammed by Corona del Mar’s John Humphreys (3) and Scott Truninger. (JC Corliss / Noozhawk photo)

Santa Barbara High likes to get out and run on the basketball court and fire up three-point shots.

The Dons ran into a road block called Corona del Mar in the championship game of the Santa Barbara Holiday Classic on Saturday night. The Sea Kings slowed Santa Barbara’s high-tempo offense, got solid all-around performances from their starting five and captured the title with a 50-37 victory at J.R. Richards Gym.

It was the lowest output of the season for Santa Barbara (16-2), which scored 102 points in a game earlier this season. The loss snapped an 11-game winning streak.

“We wanted to get five guys back on every shot,” said CdM coach Ryan Schachter, who back in the late 1990s and early 2000s was a lower level boys basketball coach at Santa Barbara High after graduating from UCSB. “We really didn’t want to crash the boards, we wanted to make the game five on five.

“We like to get up and down too, but they were a little bit bigger and more athletic, so we said we’re going to play the game five on five, make them defend five on five, make them play offense five on five and really shorten the game up. That was the game plan.”

John Humphreys, a record-setting wide receiver on CdM’s football team, scored 20 points to lead all scorers in the final. The 6-foot-5 Humphreys was able to post up on Santa Barbara defenders and power his way to the basket. 

This past football season, he caught a Orange County-record 28 touchdown passes.

Schachter said Humphreys comes from an amazing athletic family.

“Everyone in his immediate family is a Division 1 athlete,” he explained. “His mom was a four-time All-American volleyball player at Stanford; dad played football at Stanford; an older brother plays football at Duke; one sister is at USC and one’s at Pepperdine playing volleyball. The pressure is off for him to produce. He’s a stud, he’s a great kid.

“But it wasn’t just John,” Schachter added. “Jack Garza was huge. He had a great tournament.”

Garza had 11 points, including a pair of back-breaking three-pointers in the fourth quarter. Jack Stone scored 12 points for the 13-5 Sea Kings.

Bryce Warrecker scored 15 points and Stephen Davis had eight to lead the Dons.

Santa Barbara, which struggled with its shooting all game long, crept back from a 14-point deficit (27-13) in the third quarter and made it a one-point game (36-35) at the start of the fourth quarter after Davis buried a three-pointer and Warrecker made two free throws.

Garza nailed a trey for the Sea Kings and that seemed to derail the momentum the Dons were riding.

They misfired on their next five shots and had a turnover that Humphreys turned into a coast-to-coast layup. The Sea Kings went on to score the final 11 points of the game.

Bregante agreed that CdM’s transition defense made a difference.

“They did a good job defensively and we didn’t shoot the ball very well,” he said. “I didn’t think we played with a whole bunch energy and made a lot of silly mistakes.”

The game got off to an inauspicious start for Santa Barbara as it misfired on its first 10 shots and allowed Humphreys to drive to the basket for six straight points.

Jasper Johnson’s three-pointer with 1:03 left was the Dons’ first basket of the opening quarter. Johnson then fed Warrecker for a layup to pull them to within four at 11-7.

Corona del Mar’s terrific transition defense and patience in its motion offense made for a winning combination. The Sea Kings led 21-13 at halftime and expanded the advantage to 27-13 early in the third period after consecutive three-pointers by Stone and Garza.

The Dons chipped away behind three-pointers from Aiden Douglas, Johnson, Jackson Hamilton and Warrecker and cut the deficit to 34-29. It got to one point before the Sea Kings regained control and took home the championship trophy.

“We were a little fatigued, and feeling the pressure of winning a championship game on your home court had something to do with it,” Bregante said of his team's tough night. “I thought everyone was trying to do it themselves instead of playing as a team. I don’t think we played good team basketball tonight.”

Bregante called the loss a learning experience. 

“I’m not discouraged. We’ll pick it up from this and move on,” he said.

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