The win moves San Clemente into a second-round matchup with Western at 6:15 p.m. Friday at Estancia High School. Western is 9-1 on the season.
Darnold, who actually recorded a near triple- double with 8 rebounds and 8 assists to go with his scoring, had missed the first 10 games of the season while recovering from a foot injury. His performance caused one observer to remark, "The only thing rusty was Sam's hair," in reference to the auburn-haired Darnold.
Almost as significant as Darnold's return may be the fact that the Tritons finally closed out a close game in the fourth quarter, after letting three previous contested games slip away during the final period. San Clemente led by two points, 56-54, heading to the fourth quarter. It outscored Eastlake 25-12 in that period.
Besides Darnold, the Tritons has a balanced scoring attack with three other players in double figures. Elijah Morris had 13, Cole Fotheringham and Joe Mann each scored 12. Austin Miller added 8. Nick Crankshaw and Cade Griffin had 7 each. Crankshaw also stood out with a team-high 10 rebounds to go with 6 assists.