The Santa Barbara Dons boys basketball team went up against rivals San Marcos Royals on Friday, January 27th. The first game was postponed to this date due to a storm passing through California and the new date was highly anticipated. It was now time for the Dons to meet the Royals at home. The tickets sold out and the gym was filled with students and families from both schools ready to cheer on the opposing teams. Don team captains Luke Zuffelato, Carter Battle, and Tobin Shyrock helped lead the team to a victory on Friday, beating the Royals 63-50.
The Dons started the game strongly and quickly had the game in their favor over the Royals. Santa Barbara was able to get started with a strong defense and many steals that continued to put the team on offense. The game was quite aggressive between the Dons and the Royals, but that did not stop the Dons from putting points onto the scoreboard. At one point in the game the Royals began to bounce back, but the Dons kept it under control. Santa Barbara stayed ahead of San Marcos, with continual three-pointers that continued to get the Santa Barbara crowd cheering.
When interviewing the SB team captains, they agreed that the team felt a big adrenaline rush because it was such a “big game.” Sophomore team captain, Carter Battle stated, “I had a lot of energy and adrenaline going into the game that helped me play faster and harder.” With that adrenaline, Battle was able to get multiple steals throughout the game that progressed the offense of his team. He also confessed he was unsure how he would perform in front of such a big crowd, but felt he played well. Battle continued to explain that he was nervous because he had never played in such a rowdy environment before, but once they started warming up, the nerves went away and he was ready to play. After the game he said, “It was crazy because everyone was screaming and super excited. It was a dream come true.” Battle concluded, “It just felt great to be able to prove to everyone how much work we put into this game.” Carter Battle scored a total of 17 points in this game.
When asked if the outcome of the game was what they expected, sophomore captain Luke Zuffelato said the team was “all set” on beating SM. He continued that there will only be some tweaks he would make to how they played, but overall the game he felt they did well. When asked if he felt pressured to perform in front of a big crowd, Zuffelato responded, “Playing in front of a big crowd wasn’t as stressful as I thought. Once I got going it was really fun.” He said he had more of an adrenaline rush than usual, but he was overall glad the Dons came out on top. Luke Zuffelato scored a total of 22 points that night. Overall, the rival game was very exciting and had people on their feet the whole time. At the end of the game the Don’s student section ran onto the court after the game with victory.
The Dons and Royals clash on a contested ball. [Image Credit: James Sanchez]