High School Sports

Santa Barbara makes quick work of Atascadero in playoffs

A rapid-fire fourth quarter that had the Greyhounds faithful rocking proved to be too little, too late for the Atascadero High girls basketball team as it fell to visiting Santa Barbara 66-47 in the quarterfinals of the CIF-Southern Section Division 3AA quarterfinals.

The Greyhounds finished on a 10-0 run over the final two minutes of the game, with Zayra Solorzano scoring seven of her nine fourth-quarter points, but the game was already out of reach.

Camille LeBlanc led Atascadero with 15 points to go with three rebounds and two assists.

“I think we could have made it a lot closer if we came out with the fire we had at the end,” LeBlanc said. “I think we were playing at their speed and not ours. We were kind of rushing things and not setting up, which is our game.”

The Dons pushed the pace from the opening tip, using fastbreak opportunities to fuel an 18-3 run in the first quarter and a 10-2 run at the start of the second to pull away. Santa Barbara led 18-8 after the first quarter and held a 43-20 lead at the half.

“They’re a very good team,” Greyhounds coach Jim Stecher said. “We knew exactly what was going to happen, and we knew what we had to do, which was not have the turnovers. We made some lazy passes and we had mental lapses. At this level you can’t do that.”

Maddie Leong added seven points, Sarah Stafford scored six points, and Sabrina Degnan had a team-high 10 rebounds 

for Atascadero, which was eliminated in the divisional quarterfinals for the second straight season.

The Greyhounds lost to Santa Barbara 72-45 in Santa Barbara in December.

“They beat us twice,” Stecher said. “We did improve this game, although we still had a lot of errors. We’re a young team. We have just about everybody back next year, so they’ll have something to build on.

“No one expected us to do anything after losing some of the people we lost, but they regrouped, they held on and they came back, and we’re going to be that much stronger for it next season.”

The Greyhounds will return nine players next season, including LeBlanc, Leong, Stafford and starting point guard and team captain Melody Aires.