Once it got into a rhythm in its zone offense, the Santa Barbara High boys basketball team pulled away from Valley Christian Academy of Santa Maria for a 72-46 win in a CIF-SS Division 4AA first-round game on Wednesday night.

“We got off to a bit of a sluggish start because of their defense,” said Santa Barbara coach Corey Adam. “We had not faced a zone defense for more than a few possessions since December. It took us a quarter and a half to really get the shots we wanted.”

Santa Barbara pulled away in the second quarter, extending its lead to 34-22. The Dons led 56-33 after three quarters.

“It is great to see the continued growth and maturation of this group,”  said Adam.

The defense of Carter Battle and Tobin Shyrock created havoc and forced VCA into several turnovers.

Luke Zuffelato led the Dons with 21 points, Shyrock scored 10, Waylon Finkel had nine, Jack Holdren and Will Harman each tallied eight and senior Owen Debusk added seven.

Santa Barbara (17-10) will host Gabrielino in a second-round game on Friday night. Gabrielino beat Quartz Hills, 52-50, in the first round.

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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.