Chris Burgess has a memory as long as he is tall.
The 6-foot 10 Woodbridge center had not forgotten two years ago--January 27, 1995, to be exact--when Santa Margarita defeated the Warriors in a league title showdown similar to the one here on Wednesday.
It was the last home loss Woodbridge suffered. That was 19 home games ago. Burgess made sure the visiting Eagles could not repeat their feat, scoring 30 points and grabbing 14 rebounds in a 58-49 victory in front of an overflow crowd estimated at 1,100.
The victory gave Woodbridge (21-3, 9-0) the Sea View League title. It was the Warriors’ first outright league championship since winning the Pacific Coast League in 1988.
“I’ve waited three years for this,” said Burgess after playing in his final regular season home game. “An undisputed championship. I’m just happy we won because we knew Santa Margarita would play us tough.”
“Part one is done,” Warrior Coach John Halagan said. “We knew that playing a game against a top team would be a close game. And Santa Margarita shoots as well as anyone we play against.”
Indeed the Eagles (17-7, 7-2), who had won nine of 10 coming into Wednesday’s game, never let the Warriors run away with it despite their best scorer Brad Gloger being held eight points under his average (17.2) by the Woodbridge defense. Gloger scored only two points in the second half and nine overall while being tenaciously guarded by William Stovall.
Santa Margarita kept the game even in first half (28-28) by making five of its six three-pointers, and keeping the game’s tempo relatively slow. Guard T.J. Williams was the Eagles’ best weapon, scoring 11 of his team-high 12 points in the first half.
Woodbridge sprinted to a 39-32 third-quarter lead only to watch Santa Margarita tie the score one last time. Then Warriors reserve Scott Barlow made one of the biggest baskets of the season for Woodbridge, draining a three-pointer from the right corner with three seconds left in the quarter.
The Warriors would not be caught again. Their biggest lead was 10 at 52-42, and they could have made it a runaway if they had not missed three dunk attempts and eight of 14 free throws in the fourth quarter.
In other Sea View League boys’ basketball:
El Toro 57, Corona del Mar 45--Mark Wulfemeyer scored 22 points and Fabrizio Mendiola had 13 for fourth-place El Toro (17-8, 4-5).
Newport Harbor 63, Irvine 56--Danny Pulido scored a game-high 19 points for Newport Harbor (14-10, 5-4). Matt Ferguson scored 15 points for Irvine (2-7 in league).