In order to keep the biggest run for a Santa Maria High School boys basketball team this century alive in 2018, the Saints had to beat the top overall seed. On the road.
The Saints did just that, beating No. 1 Garden Grove 60-53 in the CIF Southern Section Division 5AAA quarterfinals at Garden Grove.
Santa Maria athletic director Brian Wallace said at the time that the Saints qualified for a divisional semifinal for the first time since 1985.
After a water polo and swimming career at Santa Maria, Jared Zimmer had a big swimming career at Lewis University. In fact, he said, he was an NCAA Division II All-American in the mile, the 500 and the 1,000.
Blake Truhitte threw a lot to Jon Ramos en route to the Saints making it to the 2017 Division 12 championship football game, and the two came up big in the 2018 5AAA basketball quarterfinals.
Truhitte, despite battling the flu, scored 18 points. Ramos, with 10 points and 10 rebounds, notched a double-double.
Joey Nevarez popped in 24 points for the Saints. Truhitte snared nine rebounds.
You will pick winners in a head-to-head tournament style contest to determine the area's Player of the Decade. First up is eight nominees from Santa Barbara County, including top seed Toa Taua.
“Blake Truhitte had a courageous effort,” Santa Maria coach Dave Yamate said afterward.
“He’d been battling the flu all day. He had chills. I wasn’t sure how he was going to be, but he stepped up big. He’s just exhausted right now.”
The loss was just the second of the year for the Argonauts (27-2), who won the Garden Grove League with a 10-0 campaign.
The Argonauts entered the quarterfinal on a 22-game win streak.
“They’re athletic and they crash the boards,” said Yamate.
The momentum seesawed. Santa Maria led 18-12 after the first quarter. Garden Grove led 31-27 at halftime. Santa Maria opened up a 56-40 second-half lead then hung on to win.
“We wanted Tommy to come so he could see where his big brother was staying, and he will know his brother will be all right. Ryan and Tommy are very close.”
“We stayed in the game with our defense,” said Yamate. “On offense, I think we were a little too hyped up in the first half. It was a hostile atmosphere, a small gym and we just overshot the ball the first half.”
As the Saints’ 3-point shooting went that year, so did the Santa Maris offense. The Saints made two 3’s in the first half. They made eight in the second.
“At halftime I told them, ‘Let’s go out there and shoot the 3 like we shoot it,’” said Yamate.
Nevarez made three of his four 3’s for the game in the second half. “He made some big ones,” said Yamate.
As the Saints were expanding their lead, “They were making 2’s and we were making 3’s, and they just couldn’t catch up,” said Yamate.
A four-year varsity soccer player and a three-year varsity golfer, Minetti was the Righetti nominee for the 2020 Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table Female Athlete of the Year scholarship.
“A lot of guys stepped up. Clark Kringle had nine rebounds. A lot of kids were in double figures in rebounds. Carlos Ochoa came off the bench and provided a big spark for us.”
Santa Maria lost at La Puente in overtime in the semis. The Saints finished 20-8.
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