SAN ANTONIO – The Taft Raiders' basketball team is much improved from the last two seasons, when it won just one game total. And it looked like it during stretches of the district opener against Brennan on Wednesday. But the Bears, even without leading scorer Jacari Sanders, used big runs to overpower the Raiders to win 87-58.
Shaydon Campbell scored 22 points, and led a 17-0 run in the opening quarter, as Brennan (9-5, 1-0) handed Taft its 51st straight district loss. Early on, it looked like Taft (7-7, 0-1) might be primed for a big upset.
Sanders injured his hand earlier in the season, and will be out until after the holidays. Taft took advantage, leading by as many as five points in the first quarter. But, a 17-0 run, led by Campbell and Jaden Moore, ended the drama. Moore ended up with 20 points, with the last two by way of a dunk.
Overall, four Bears were in double figures, with Campbell leading the way in Sanders’ absence.
"We’re learning to hold the ball more, and take more responsibility when he’s out," said Campbell. "Scoring more, each and every one of us."
When Campbell got into foul trouble just before halftime, Moore and Isaiah Ayekumi (11 points) stepped up. Kyle Castille also finished in double figures, with 15 points.
Nathaniel Marotta and Jon-Marc Flores-Diaz, who each scored 18 points, led Taft. They will try to end their team's long district losing streak on Saturday versus O’Connor.