Santa Barbara Boys basketball team began their season this November, already playing games and in tournaments. Last season, the team ended 10-4 in the Channel League and 17-13 overall. The team is looking forward to playing SM and DP this year to add to the exciting games that take place in Santa Barbara. The Dons have been practicing since April to get prepared for the 2023-2024 season. The Dons have added players to varsity this season with nine returning players from last year. Although the team has been dealing with many injuries this season, that is not stopping the team from winning games.
Santa Barbara High’s basketball team had three local games before their first league game against Pacifica and won all three. Santa Barbara took down Pacifica 70-34 to win their first league game of the season. The Dons traveled over to Arizona at the end of November for a tournament along with a fun team bonding experience. Unfortunately, the tournament didn’t go as planned, but the team used it as a learning experience. Senior Captain Tobin Shyrock stated, “We went 0-3 in 3 pretty tough games. We competed super well and I’m super proud of our team.” Shyrock also added that the team fought hard and they got a lot better. Shyrock struggled with a knee injury and hopes to be back for future games. Junior Captain Luke Zuffelato hopes to do more traveling next year and says, “This was a great experience and an amazing event that the Basketball Hall of Fame put on.”
Going into this season, they hope to be Channel League champions this year along with hoping to take down Oxnard, a powerhouse in the league. When questioned about any main goals this season, Zuffelato mentioned “A main goal for this season is to win a state championship” and added his personal goal is to “… be Channel League MVP along with breaking multiple scoring records.” In response to something he is looking forward to this season Shyrock answered, “I’m looking forward to beating Santa Marcos this year. I’m also looking forward to our CIF redemption, as I feel that last season was cut short for us.” As it is his last season, he is mainly looking forward to playing with his friends one last time and creating a memorable season. Due to many players being injured, there are changes being made. When asked “Are there any big changes being made this season?” Zuffelato answered, “Yes, one big change that we have had to adjust to is Carter Battle being injured who is a very key part to our team.” The team has had to work around it and do their best given the situation. Zuffelato states “Other people have had to step up and deliver and they’ve done a great job.”
The basketball team has already faced challenges this season, but that will not stop them from their dedication to win the Channel League. The Dons will continue to play in hopes to reach the CIF playoffs and possibly reach the State Championship. If the win against Pacifica is any indication, we are looking forward to a bright and promising season in basketball.
[Photo Courtesy of Andrew Perez]