On a night when most eyes were focused on J.R. Richards Gymnasium for the cross-town clash between Dos Pueblos and Santa Barbara, San Marcos’ boys’ basketball team quietly went about its business in a 61-44 win over Oak Park. The win brings the Royals’ record to 15-6, including a perfect 4-0 at home.
San Marcos’ stifling defense held Oak Park (13-6) to single digits in each of the first three quarters while mounting a 47-24 lead to start the fourth. Scott Moll limited the Eagles’ leading scorer, Bobby Hillard, to eight points, 11 under his season average, while Trevor Hopkins held Oak Park point guard Andy Winningham to two points, nine under his season average.
Meanwhile the Royals’ offense was firing on all cylinders, paced by Nick Marquez’s 16 points, including four long-range bombs, two from beyond NBA range. Brian Pearson and Frank Nordin pitched in 13 each, with Nordin’s damage coming inside and at the free-throw line and Pearson adding three three-point baskets.
San Marcos started the game on a 7-0 run but Oak Park clawed back to bring the game to 20-17 halfway through the second quarter behind a pair of free throws from Hillard and Winningham. The Royals responded with a 9-0 run of their own, capped by a buzzer-beating drive by Pearson to extend the cushion to 29-17 at the half.
The Royals came out strong in the third quarter, outscoring the Eagles, 18-7, despite defensive stalwart Moll picking up his third foul on a controversial stuff block of Oak Park guard Blake Davenport. Chris Vines filled in admirably for Moll and held Hillard scoreless the entire third quarter while helping the Royals get into their transition game with a couple key rebounds. Both Hillard and Winningham were scoreless in the second half. Nick Stalzer led Oak Park with 16 points, 14 in the fourth quarter.
Santa Barbara County three-point leaders Pearson and Marquez have now hit 48 and 41 three-point baskets, respectively, while San Marcos has connected on 138 threes on the season. The Royals will play next at Nordhoff at 5 p.m. Saturday.
Jarrod Bradley coaches San Marcos’ boys’ basketball team.