San Diego Surf hold off Santa Barbara's late surge, hang on for 101-92 win in home opener
By Darren Feeney and Chris Mohr
The Santa Barbara Breakers staged a late comeback in the fourth quarter, but the Surf hung on for the 101-92 victory—a final score that doesn't quite tell the tale of the tape.
The Surf (3-1) were up by as much as 28 before seeing their lead evaporate and allowing the Breakers to pull to within seven points in the final quarter. San Diego was ahead 73-53 to start the fourth before Santa Barbara put together a 39 point quarter.
Glen Dandridge led the Surf in scoring for the third consecutive game with 32 points, including five three-pointers.
Dandridge has now knocked down 22 from three-point range through the first four games.
"I'm kind of disappointed really," Dandridge said. "We were up by almost 30 but then our intensity dropped and we let them get within 10 points."
Dandridge, a former D-I player from the University of Missouri, stumbled upon the Surf in his recent move to San Diego to take on a coaching job at San Dieguito High School Academy for the boys freshman team.
It's safe to say the Surf are glad to have him.
After three years at Missouri, the 6-foot-5, 225-pound swing man's professional career started in the Premier Basketball League (PBL) with the Halifax Rainmen, one of a handful of Canadian teams in the league. This past summer he played for the PBL's Rochester Razorsharks.
"We need to work on picking up the intensity for the entire game—always talking to each other and keeping each other motivated," Dandridge said. "It's the same when I'm coaching. I try to keep everybody motivated and talking every time down the court."
Cornell Williams came up big for the Surf with 19 points and 8 rebounds to go along with five three-pointers.
Other notable contributions came from Aaron Hands' 14 points and eight rebounds, Kona Kadina's 12 points and three steals, and Mo Clady's eight points, seven rebounds, eight assists and four steals.
The Breakers play in the West Coast Pro Basketball League (WCBL) and are solely a traveling team under the ABA banner without a home arena. It was the first of four games that the Breakers will play against the ABA during the 2010-11 campaign.
The Breakers are coached and owned by Curt Pickering, who noted some of the adversity a traveling team with new faces is subject to.
"Some of these guys don't know each other's names," said Pickering. "We never had a practice, so we tried to put a group together that could 'learn on the hoof' as far as cohesiveness and playing together as a team. That's not easy to do. That's not an excuse, that's the greatest challenge. I didn't even know two of the guys."
Santa Barbara was led in scoring by Austin Okuson and Mark Peters with 19 points apiece. Okuson had 12 rebounds while Joe Udeoji pulled down 14 rebounds to go along with his 15 points. Peters also filled the stat sheet with three three-pointers and five steals.
San Diego head coach Terry Mason, who has an impressive 31-year high school coaching resume, was pleased with the effort his team put forth Saturday night.
"I'm most impressed about the effort from the entire team tonight," Mason said. "I wanted to see how deep I could go in my bench and some of the young guys really stepped up and played well."
That said, Mason did take notice when the team got away from what they had been doing well.
"We're giving up some size out there but we're very athletic and very quick. I always preach to the guys to be quick, but don't hurry," said Mason. "Toward the end of the game we got in a hurry and that took away from our quickness."
In the American Basketball Association (ABA) power rankings, which are released every Monday, the Surf remained ranked at ninth for the second consecutive week.
The defending ABA champions, the Southeast Texas (SETX) Mavericks (3-0), are ranked first. The Mavericks went 27-2 last season.
"I try not to say too much about the ranking," said Mason. "We have a lot of room for improvement, so we just have to continue working. As long as we're healthy and winning games, the ranking will come."
The Surf will host the Riverside Rainmakers this Saturday, November 27, for a 7 p.m. tip-off before a stretch of four consecutive road games.