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Ventura rides first-half spurt to 83-56 win over Vaqueros

Robert Hutchins had 23 points and 6 rebounds in his last game for the Vaqueros. He was the seventh-best scorer in the State and led the WSC North with a 20.7 average. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)
Robert Hutchins had 23 points and 6 rebounds in his last game for the Vaqueros. He was the seventh-best scorer in the State and led the WSC North with a 20.7 average. (Photo by Ken Sciallo / Sevilla Photography)

Ventura went on a 15-2 run midway through the first half on Saturday night en route to an 83-56 win at SBCC that secured the Pirates' second straight WSC North men's basketball title.

Vida Faniel scored 15 points in 19 minutes and grabbed seven rebounds to pace the Pirates (17-12, 8-2). Robert Hutchins scored 23 points and grabbed six rebounds for the Vaqueros (5-21, 3-7). It was his 12th game of 20 or more points this season.

Hutchins, a sophomore guard from Bismarck, N.D., played his final game for the Vaqueros. He made 8-18 from the field and 3-8 from 3-point country. Hutchins led the WSC North in scoring at 20.7 and was seventh in the State. He also led the conference in steals, averaging 2.2.

Ben Clay had 13 points and eight rebounds for the Vaqueros, who were outshot 46.9 to 37.7 percent and outrebounded 44-32, including 16-9 at the offensive end. Clay, a 6-5 freshman from Santa Barbara High, was the No. 2 rebounder in the WSC North at 8.9 a game.

Ventura led 27-12 after the 15-2 burst and was up 19 at the half, 40-21.

"The turnovers really hurt, we had 10 in the first half and they scored 15 points off those," said SBCC coach Morris Hodges. "We didn't do a good job of taking care of the ball, so there were a lot of trips where we didn't get shot attempts during that run.

"A lot of those turnovers led to runouts and easy shots for them."

Chris Givens added eight points and five boards for the Vaqueros and Drayten Howell handed out six assists but also commited eight turnovers. The Vaqueros had 20 turnovers compared to 13 for the Pirates.

Ventura opened the second half on a 12-4 run and took a 52-25 lead on a layup by Thomas Frank with 15:22 to play.

The Vaqueros had seven players on their roster for most of the season.

"We had a lot of adversity but to our guys' credit, they showed a lot of character," Hodges stated. "They continued to show up and work hard and compete all year long. We were competitive, considering our limitations. I really appreciate their effort."