Experience showed in the Dunn School Earwigs’ 78-27 victory over Ojai’s Besant Hill Coyotes in a non-league game against their Condor League foe Saturday afternoon in Los Olivos.
Although Dunn (2-1) fell behind 4-0 on early baskets by the Coyotes’ Calki Garcia and Yllan Havre, the Earwigs reeled off the next 12 points and never looked back.
“I thought we played well,” said Dunn head coach and Athletic Director Tim Weir. “We were able to give a lot of young guys some valuable experience and everyone scored.”
Dunn has a veteran lineup led by three seniors who have already committed to play baseball at Division I universities next year.
John San Jule (Columbia), Ethan Cloyd (Cal) and Brandon Lawrence (Michigan) led the charge back from that early deficit.
Lawrence got things started with a 3-pointer from the baseline.
After Preston Liu stole the ball, Aiden Waters drove the lane and was fouled. He dropped two free throws to give the Earwigs the lead and with 5:18 left in the first quarter, Besant Hill head coach Kevin Henschel called a time out.
But that didn’t slow Dunn.
San Jule hit a layup off an inbounds pass and then, after a steal, caught a long pass and put in a soft layup.
After another steal, San Jule got open on the left baseline and swished a three, giving Dunn a 12-4 lead.
The Coyotes’ Calki drove the lane for a layup to stop that run but Dunn was quickly off to the races again, going on a 9-0 run and closing the quarter on a 13-1 run for a 25-7 lead.
“I really like the way our first unit played. They played fast. They’re running our offense a little bit better each game,” said Weir. “And Besant Hill is a great school, they have great players and a great coach. They’ve had strong teams in the past. I know they’ll get better every time out.”
Besant Hill tried to claw its way back in the second quarter, scoring the first six points on four three throws and a Daniel Su steal that led to a one-man fast break and an easy layup, but Dunn went on another tear, outscoring Besant Hill 13-2 the rest of the way for a 38-16 lead at the half.
“You could see that when my players move the ball and share the ball, they get great looks – good things happen,” said Henschel.
Although Weir substituted liberally in the second half, Dunn poured in 25 third quarter points to Besant Hill’s nine and went 15 to two in the fourth to put the game in the win column.
“It was a great bounce-back win after a tough loss (81-72 to Foothill Tech) two days ago,” said San Jule. “In that game, only seven of our guys scored. Today, everyone got to score. I feel like we had a lot more energy today and our defense was a big reason for that.”
San Jule led Dunn with 20 points. Liu added nine points, Lawrence had eight, Cloyd seven and Adrian Shei six – the first six points of his varsity career.
The crowd cheered the loudest whenever Shei scored.
“Adrian didn’t even play last year. He was our scoreboard operator,” said Weir. “This year, we encouraged him to come out and play instead of watch. He’s a senior and the fan’s favorite player. It was nice to be able to give him some minutes and get him some points.”
“That was my highest scoring game,” Shei said with a huge smile after the game. “Of course, it was only my second high school game but this is a lot better than running the scoreboard.”
Havre led Besant Hill with 12 points, Calki added eight and Milo Harmon five.
“It was a great game, even with the loss,” said Henschel. “The boys worked really, really hard. I’m proud of them. We did some good work on our defensive rotations and the boys never gave up. I knew it was going to be a tough day but you can see we have some real high-character kids.”
Both teams are back in action on Tuesday. Besant Hill hosts Ojai Valley and Dunn is on the road at Santa Barbara’s Laguna Blanca.
Morro Bay HIT Tournament
Escondido 60, Santa Ynez 44
Santa Ynez 70, Morro Bay 58
The Santa Ynez Pirates (3-3) split their two games at the Morro Bay Tournament, falling to Escondido in a 9 a.m. game before coming back to defeat host Morro Bay.
“The first game was an early morning breakfast game,” said Santa Ynez head coach Ray Vazquez in a telephone interview after the game. “We were a little sluggish and fell behind 22-12 at the end of the first quarter and never could catch up.”
Ryan Rennick led the Pirates with 15 points and eight rebounds. Merek Mercado added 11 points and Ryan Devitt scored five.
The Pirates got their energy back during the second game.
We were down by 10 in the second quarter. I called time out and we changed our defense,” said Vazquez. “From there, were started rolling and outscored Morro Bay (also the Pirates) the rest of the way.”
Nate Rogers led the attack, scoring 32 points and pulling down nine rebounds.
“He was the story of the game,” said Vazquez. “Nate is just starting to scratch his potential.”
Mercado scored nine of his 13 points in the second quarter to lead the Santa Ynez comeback.
Siggy Porter had 13 points and 10 rebounds.
Santa Ynez is back in action when the Pirates host former Los Padres League foe Orcutt Academy Tuesday.