On January 27th, the Santa Barbara Dons faced the Santa Ynez Pirates at a home game in a Channel League thriller. In their first meeting of the year, the evenly matched 9-11 Dons and 11-10 Pirates faced off at JR Richards Gymnasium for a midweek league game.
The game started with the Dons trailing for a slow first half, but the Dons began to fire back in the fourth quarter. The Dons began to roll around, hitting 3-pointers and nailing layups left and right with lockdown defense. Tucker Dilbeck scored a clutch corner 3-pointer to keep the lead in the fourth quarter. Luke Zuffelato drove through the lane to secure a couple of layups to seal the deal at the end game. Devan Stone played hard on both sides of the ball, coming up with a couple of big defensive stops. The Dons won the game with 47-29, sending the Pirates home with another loss on their record. Senior guard Andre Battle believes the team did well: “I feel like we executed our game plan perfectly in the second half. We started a little slow since we were missing some shots, which hurt our confidence a little bit, but during halftime, Coach Adam told us to keep shooting and playing hard. We did just that, took that game plan out there, and got a huge lead in the third quarter, which helped us dominate the rest of the game.”
I also spoke with senior guard Tucker Dilbeck about the game. Tucker said, “Our mindset in the third quarter was just to take the game four minutes at a time, and just to keep going.” During the third quarter, The Dons slowly cut down the lead, then took over from there on out.
I also asked Andre Battle how a win like this will carry into the next game against the Lompoc Braves. He responded saying, “It brings a ton of confidence into our next game. With a win like that, it feels like we can do anything, so we come into the next game with new positive energy and confidence for our next game following a win like that.” Dilbeck said, “These four league games are huge to get us ready for the big game and the playoffs. We have Lompoc, Cabrillo, and San Marcos twice in the next two weeks.”
When asked about what he thinks the team can improve on going into the next game, Andre Battle explained that “There isn’t much, but I feel like we need to work on being a little more patient. We often rush things because we want to get the first open shot, but when we are patient, it’s hard to beat us.” Coming off a big Channel League game like this, the Dons are sure to bring this confidence into the playoffs.
[Image Credit Sevilla Photos]