Carter Battle, Santa Barbara boys basketball
Santa Barbara's Carter Battle drives in for a layup as Joe Talarico of Dos Pueblos rans past during the Dons' 64-50 Channel League win. Credit: Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo

The Santa Barbara High boys basketball team picked pockets, won the rebounding battle and beat Dos Pueblos in the transition game to score a 64-50 Channel League win over the host Chargers at Sovine Gym on Friday night.

The Dons blew the game open in the first 3:13 of the third quarter, scoring 17 unanswered points to turn a 26-22 halftime lead into 43-22 advantage.

Carter Battle got Santa Barbara off and running in the quarter with a steal in the paint that he converted into a layup at the other end. Luke Zuffelato followed with a pair of layups and a free throw. The second layup-and-1 was set up by another Carter steal.

Dos Pueblos called a time out, but it didn’t slow the Dons. Point guard Tobin Shylock whipped a pass to Zuffelato in the paint for a basket, Battle scored off a turnover and Shyrock set up Zuffelato for the first of a pair of three-pointers to complete the run. 

Zuffelato finished with 23 points, with 16 coming in the third quarter. Battle had 16 points and six steals.

Luke Zuffelato of SBHS basketball
Luke Zuffelato of Santa Barbara shoots over Micah Goss of Dos Pueblos. Zuffelato led all scorers with 23 points. Credit: Gary Kim / Noozhawk photo

“He was great tonight,” said Santa Barbara coach Corey Adam of Shyrock, who came off the bench. “Maybe that’s why we got off to a slow start. Maybe it was a combination of that and the energy DP brought. He’s definitely a difference maker.”

The defensive play and hustle of Waylon Finkel and Carter also provided a big boost for the Dons.

“Waylon’s energy defensively, especially in the third quarter, he and Carter created a lot of transition opportunities at the front defensively, harassing guards.”

Santa Barbara’s big run to start the second half made it a tough hill to climb for Dos Pueblos to get back in the game.

“They definitely out-rebounded us and you couple that with 18 turnovers… They hit shots, they got second-chance opportunities,” said DP coach Joe Zamora. “It was tough. They did a good job and you got to give it to them.

“The first half I felt we did a good job holding them in check.”

Joe Talarico, playing with a pad on an injured left shoulder, hit a pair of three-pointers and had an assist to lead DP to a 11-5 lead in the first quarter.

“He plays his heart out,” said Zamora of his senior guard/forward, who led the Chargers with 13 points. “He asked to come in and shoot at 2:15 today. He puts in the work. He wants to be in here playing. I wish he was at 100% and I know he does too.”

Talarico also got props from Adam.

“I can’t say enough about Joe Talarico and how tough he is,” said Adam. “I’m gonna miss watching him play as an opponent, as a coach. The way he plays, he just does everything right. It’s just a bummer what happened to him with his shoulder this year.

“We know a guy like that and another senior leader like Grant (Hughes), those guys are tough.”

Dos Pueblos started well in the second quarter and took a 20-18 lead. But Battle ignited a 8-0 run with a pair of free throws and a floater. Owen Debusk and Julian Espinosa followed with baskets in transition.

That run was a prelude of things to come for the Dons in the third quarter.

“We knew there was going to be an initial charge and we had to weather it,” said Adam. “I thought the guys did a good job of that.”

Santa Barbara improves to 6-2 in the Channel League and hosts first-place Oxnard on Monday. Dos Pueblos (2-6), plays at Oxnard on Saturday at 2:30 p.m. and travels to San Marcos on Monday.

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Barry Punzal, Sports Editor

— Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at bpunzal@noozhawk.com. Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.