It wasn’t exactly the start to league play that San Luis Obispo coach Jeff Brandow envisioned.
“(Paso Robles) came out and surprised us,” Brandow said. “They threw the first two punches, they were up 10-2 and we didn’t even know what happened. We weren’t ready to play.”
San Luis Obispo was able to regroup pulled ahead to a 22-19 halftime lead, but thanks to a strange third quarter that featured 19 total fouls (9 by SLO, 10 by Paso Robles) and zero Bearcat field goals, the Tigers were able to cruise to a 55-35 win. The Wednesday night win was San Luis Obispo’s 10th win of the season, one more than they had all of last year.
“I was proud of the way they battled back. Our defense was pretty good,” Brandow said of his team’s full-court pressure, “but we shot the ball very poorly.”
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San Luis Obispo senior forward Nick Attala fell into that poor shooting group, at least in the first half.
“I went into half time and did some self evaluating and realized that I wasn’t playing as well as I could be,” Atalla said. “If I’m not playing well, coach Brandow always tell me focus on rebounding, focus on defense and that’s what I started to do.”
Attala dominated the third quarter. He scored 11 of his game-high 17 points and the Tigers outscored Paso Robles 20-4. He also added eight rebounds for the game.
“After I started making a couple it just started flowing for me,” Atalla said.
The loss pushed Paso Robles record to 4-8 on the season and 0-1 in the PAC 8.
“We have to shoot the ball better,” Paso Robles coach Matt Drake said. “San Luis executed and were able to knock down shots and that was the difference.”
Ty Jones and Trevor Weiger led Paso Robles in scoring with 6 points, and two of Jones’ points came on a pass that was tipped in.
Brandow was happy to come away with a win despite his team not playing its best in front of a larger than usual crowd, the school band and a large group of cheerleaders.
“Before the game we looked nervous, first league game,” Brandow said. “Only two returners from last year we looked a little jittery...but when you can get a win a move on its a good thing. You learn from it and get better.”
With the league season off and running, the games will come fast and furious.
San Luis Obispo (10-5, 1-0 PAC 8) will travel to play Arroyo Grande (8-6, 0-1 PAC 8) on Friday at 7 p.m. Paso Robles will host a talented St. Joseph team the same night at 7:30.
St. Joseph 73, Atascadero 47
JoJo Walker’s 26 points and a big third quarter helped St. Joseph to the win over Atascadero. Gabrys Sadaunykas added 24 points on 8-18 shooting for the Knights (12-2, 1-0 PAC 8).
Kyler Warren led Atascadero (8-4, 0-1 PAC 8) with 16 points and shot 75 percent from the field. Marco Rojas added 11 points.
Atascadero hosts Mission Prep on Friday and St. Joseph heads to Paso Robles.
Righetti 67, Arroyo Grande 60
24 points from Jordan Allen and 18 points from Chris Hinojos was enough to lead Righetti past Arroyo Grande.
The Eagles were tied with the Warriors 35-35 at the half, but a 20-11 scoring advantage in the fourth quarter gave Righetti (6-7, 1-0 PAC 8) the win.
Bradley Mickey and Patrick Angle had 15 points each for Arroyo Grande.
AG (8-6, 0-1 PAC 8) hosts SLO High on Friday and Righetti travels to Pioneer Valley.
Mission Prep 66, Pioneer Valley 35
Mission Prep’s Max Basile scored 17 points and Matthew Blaney scored 15 and the Royals coasted to their first league win.
Mission Prep (6-7, 1-0 PAC 8) outscored Pioneer Valley 22-6 in the third quarter.
“I thought the second half was a great half for us,” Mission Prep coach Terrence Harris said. “We came out and played with a ton of energy and that was the key to our victory.”