Two of the top boys basketball teams in the Los Padres League faced off Thursday night at Santa Maria High School’s Wilson Gym.
The Santa Maria Saints (10-4, 3-1 LPL) pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 68-55 victory over the Santa Ynez Pirates (4-4, 2-2).
“It was exactly the kind of game we expected,” said Santa Maria head coach David Yamate. “Every time we play them it’s a battle. This game was no different.”
The game took a dramatic turn midway through the second quarter when the Pirates’ Ryan Rennick crashed to the floor. Rennick was down for several minutes as Santa Maria’s athletic trainer attended to his injured left shoulder. He left the game and didn’t return.
“That hurt us a lot when I lost my best player,” said Santa Ynez coach Rod Caughell. “We were able to stay with them for three quarters but we ran out of juice after my best player was hurt.”
Rennick had scored 12 of the Pirates’ first 24 points when he went down with his injury.
The game was close through three quarters.
With the game tied at 6-all, Santa Maria scored two quick baskets when Jon Ramos finished off a give-and-go from Clark Kringel and Blake Truhitte drove the lane for a layup in traffic.
After each team traded 3s from the baseline — Zack Hewitt for the Pirates and Truhitte, for the Saints — the Pirates went on an 8-0 run and led by four, 17-13, for their biggest lead of the game.
The Saints came back for a 6-0 run of their own, ending with Dajoure Burress’ layup at the buzzer off a Truhitte pass for a 19-17 lead.
Hewitt tied the game at the start of the second quarter after grabbing a rebound in front of the basket off his own missed 3-point shot and putting it right back.
The game was tied at 24-all when the Saints’ Thomas Segel hit a 3 from the right wing midway through the second quarter.
Seconds later, Ramos tried to steal a pass intended for Rennick and Rennick went down hard.
“I’ll get an X-Ray tomorrow to see if there’s anything wrong but I’ll be OK,” said Rennick after the game.
When play resumed, Hewitt hit a driving layup followed by Merek Mercado’s layup in traffic and the Pirates had a one-point lead.
Truhitte responded with a fast break layup but Hewitt came right back for a long jump shot just inside the 3-point arc giving Santa Ynez a 30-29 lead at the half.
“We got in a little foul trouble in the first half,” said Yamate as Medina, Kringel and Burress each had to sit for several minutes after picking up three fouls. “But the good thing about this team — we have nine seniors. I am confident about our depth and our bench players really came through tonight.”
In the third quarter, with the score tied at 39, the teams traded 3s — Truhitte hit one from the top of the key and Hewitt answered with one from the right side.
Santa Maria then went on a 7-0 run, off two Joey Nevarez 3s and a Truhitte free throw.
But the Pirates came right back with layups by Mercado and Hewitt to cut Santa Maria’s lead to 46-43 heading into the fourth quarter.
Santa Maria opened the fourth on a 9-0 run to stretch their lead to 12, essentially putting the game away when Kobe Medina hit a jumper from the right baseline to give the Saints a 55-43 lead.
“I thought our defense was the key to tonight’s win,” said Yamate. “We got a few key stops that helped our offense get a few big baskets down the stretch.”
Although they were down, the Pirates didn’t play the foul game and the teams traded baskets the rest of the way.
“Santa Ynez is always tough,” said Yamate. “We still have to play them again at Santa Ynez. I know when play them again at their place, it’s going to be another battle.”
Truhitte led all scorers with 19 points; Nevarez added 15 and Medina 12 for the Saints. The Saints hit 10 3-point baskets, two each by Truhitte, Medina, Segel, Kringel and Nevarez.
Hewitt led the Pirates with 18 points; Mercado added 14 and Rennick 12.
Both teams have home games next Tuesday as LPL play continues; Santa Maria hosts Nipomo while Santa Ynez hosts Lompoc.
Templeton 77, Nipomo 55
The Eagles drained 11 3-pointers in the win over the Titans.
Nipomo was led by Carmelo Hernandez, who had 17 points and 11 rebounds. Ian Blancett added 10 points, knocking down two 3-pointers for the Titans.
Templeton’s Jordan Stowers had a game-high 27 points and Max Jensen scored 24, knocking down five 3-pointers on his own.
The Eagles are 5-11 overall and 2-2 in the LPL. Nipomo falls to 4-11 and 2-2.
Templeton 51, Nipomo 41
The Titans suffered their first LPL loss.
Clarissa Simonson had 13 points and Abbey Guttierrez added eight points for Nipomo, which is 8-8 overall and 3-1 in the LPL.
Nipomo is at home against Santa Maria Tuesday night at 6:30 p.m.