In a nail-biting seesaw battle that gave the Santa Barbara Breakers (4-0) their toughest test in the inaugural season of the West Coast Pro Basketball League, a well-balanced offensive attack and a late fourth-quarter surge allowed Santa Barbara to come out on top, winning 124-112 over a talented Pasadena Slam (0-1) squad that kicked off its season with a road loss.
“They (Pasadena) are very skilled, very experienced and love the game of basketball,” Breakers head coach Curt Pickering said. “They really wanted to win this game, but fortunately for us, we found the right ingredients in the final three or four minutes.”
The Breakers were a little flat coming out of the gates, allowing an energetic Slam team to capitalize on early turnovers. AND 1 street ball legend and Pasadena team captain Robin “Syk Wit It” Kennedy anchored his team for the first half alongside fellow point guard Horace Wormely II, who led Pasadena in the first half with 14 points sliding to the off-guard position. Kennedy and Wormely would finish the game with 20 points each.
“It’s a tough matchup because Pasadena has really good guards and point guard play,” Breaker guard Allan Purnell said. “Their ability to drive inside and dish it out to open three-point shooters was probably our biggest matchup problem.”
The Breakers would right the ship and hold a lead for the majority of the second quarter, led by guard Tim Taylor, who scored a team-high 16 points in the first half. Forward Tyler Newton, making his return to the Breakers after missing the first three games of the season, also had a great first half, chipping in 13 points thanks in part to some clever post moves. Though the Breakers looked primed to go into halftime with a double-digit lead, a brief spurt in the final minute from Pasadena closed the deficit to seven heading into the second half.
“I think we shot ourselves in the foot with a lot of careless turnovers right before halftime,” Newton said. “It’s a little tough playing with all the new guys this year, but I felt pretty good out there tonight.”
When the second half began, it looked as if the Breakers would run away with it, building their lead to 20 in the third quarter. The Slam would show great perseverance, coming back to tie the game midway through the fourth quarter. Pasadena forward Tony Farmer hit big threes down the stretch to lead the Slam on the way to finishing the game with a team-high 27 points.
“Tony is a great shooter and showed off his NBA range,” Purnell said. “He kind of surprised us by going to the basket, but that just shows that he’s made improvements in his game.”
Breakers point guard Mark Peters provided the clutch shots for the Breakers, sinking consecutive buckets in the closing minutes of the fourth quarter as part of an 11-point, eight-assist performance. Santa Barbara forward Josh Merrill came through with several key jump shots, finishing with 23 points and a team-high 15 rebounds. Purnell led the team in scoring with 27.
“Allan Purnell played really well and was probably our best player,” Newton said. “He’s a solid shooter and defender, and set the tone for all of us tonight.”
For everything Breakers, click here or call the Breakers office at 805.685.5600.
Matt Connolly is the Breakers’ assistant director of media relations.