REGION — Basketball is all about matchups.
And when Santa Fe Christian lined up against Scripps Ranch Tuesday night to open play at the Coast News Classic, Eagles Head Coach Chad Bickley said he liked what he saw.
“I think we matched up well against them,” he said.
His feelings were reflected on the scoreboard, as the host Eagles buried the Falcons 64-38 in season opener for both teams.
Charles Dudley, a senior center for Santa Fe Christian, set the tone early by scoring 10 of his game-high 16 points in the first quarter that finished with the Eagles leading 16-10.
The lead only grew from the first quarter, as the host team used a stifling defense and steady offense predicated on inside-out play to blow the game open in the third quarter, carrying a 41-25 lead into the final quarter.
The Eagles tough defense held the Falcons to only 13 made field goals out of 42 attempts and limited last year’s leading scorer, Baturay Koyuncu, to 5 points.
“I think we did a good job of playing inside and establishing Charles early, but I think his defense was even better than his offense last night,” Bickley said. “He did a really good job clogging the lane and did a good job on that kid (Scripps Ranch senior forward Matthew Jewell), who is a really good player for them.”
Bickley said while it was the first game of the season, he felt the team had some familiarity of what Scripps Ranch did on offense because of games in previous seasons against Francis Parker, a school that runs a similar Princeton-style offense as the Falcons.
“It is kind of a mystery for both teams because you don’t know what is going to happen, but to have a little understanding helped our guys, and at the end of the day, we matched up well, moved the ball well and that was key,” Bickley said.
Senior guards Owen Aschieris and Derek Moore scored 13 and 11 points respectively for the Eagles.
The Eagles also welcomed back to key players who missed the entire 2015-16 season with injuries juniors Matthew Stevenson and Jack McRoskey.
Stevenson, a 6-foot-4 bruiser of a forward, scored 9 points, dished out 4 assists and grabbed 7 rebounds in his starting role, missing only one shot on the night. McCroskey didn’t score but was the first guard off the bench and looked more confident with the ball than he did when he last played as a 5-foot-5 freshmen.
“Stevie (Matthew Stevenson) is a game changer for us; both guys are team players who do whatever is needed for the team,” Bickley said. “And Jack has put on some height, too. He’s a good 6-feet, 6-foot-1 now, and he’s heady.”
It was a good win for an Eagles team that is coming off of an 11-19 campaign but enters the season high expectations after graduating only one player.
In other Coast News
Carlsbad 58, Mission Vista 39
Mission Hills 59, ArmyNavy 43
La Costa Canyon 50, Scripps Ranch 41
El Camino 57, Westview 51
Temecula Valley 73, Carlsbad 61