The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 19, Issue 5





Some teams took the spring break to work on their games as individuals and as teams through extra practice sessions. Others simply took the time off away from the game altogether to enjoy the time off. In both cases the decision showed up in results of games as the Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball league swung back into action with a full weekend of games last Saturday and Sunday.

There were many close and exciting games with thrilling finishes as the league forged forward towards the half way point, which will come up this coming weekend, which includes the annual “Health Kids Day” activities this Saturday morning in the gym.

Two teams, the Minor Doctors and major Magic are now the only two without a blemish of any sort on their record. The former did it the easy way, by taking an extra weekend of before resuming action.

The latter started things off with a win on Saturday morning over the somewhat depleted Big O’s, 35-24. A flurry of offensive activity led the Magic to am 8-0 run at the end of the first and beginning of the second half. Miguel Picazo grabbed a rebound and scored, then a steal and an assist to Bruno Bernacchi uppped the lead to 16-8. Keegan Fleigner buried a three pointer at the horn to make it 19-9.  By the time Kasra Sariri scored to make it 21-11, the O’s had gone scoreless for the better part of 19 minutes.

Picazo led the win with 9 points and 11 rebounds. Sariri had 13 and 16 in a nice game despite the loss, but was without running mate Ezra Kreiger for this one.

— The Big Dippers split a pair of weekend tilts, losing the Saturday contest 37-23 to a coach less and five-member Glide team.  The Glide got out to a great start, leading 17-0 before the Dippers rallied to within 7 late in the game. Ben Turkel scored 19 and grabbed 23 rebounds in a typical great game for him, and he left with over 5 minutes remaining in the game for another obligation of a sporting nature. By then it was too late for the Dippers.  Nasir Luna dropped 11 in the loss.

— Sunday’s game had a decidedly better feel for the Dippers, as the blew out the Legends 46-25, in a game that was realistically over by half time. Yissi Tewodros and Luke Laurie scored 20 between them in victory.

Drew Gelfand, who missed Saturday’s Legend’s game, returned and led the team with a 12/17 double-double. Carter Sparks continued his good play of late in defeat.

— Saturday, the Legends were dropped by the Captains in a better effort 37-25. Sparks did what he could without a ton of help, as he scored 10 and had 14 boards. Casey Christmas and Preston Calder did most of the damage for the winners and Eli Levi grabbed 11 rebounds.  


In the Minor League, the Icemen split a pair of weekend contests, losing the first one 24-22 to the Wizards.

It was tight throughout the first three quarters with the biggest lead held by the Icemen at 12-8 mid way through the third period. But the Wizards went on a 6-0 run the rest of that quarter to take the lead, then opened the fourth with baskets by player of the game Lukas Greblikas and his pass to Eli Eng to make it 18-12 and effectively put the game away.  Kingston Ansari led the Wizards to a 51-24 rebounding advantage with a dozen of his won.  Dom Kajota and Luca Marchis were best on the court for the I’s.

— On Sunday morning, the Icemen came back to beat the Pistol Petes with a late flourish, 34-27.

A one point game stayed that way through much of the third quarter as the teams swapped baskets at a frantic pace. Dylan Reid gave the Icemen the lead 12-11 but Odin Williams of the Petes returned the favor. Marchis swung the see-saw back to the Icemen 14-13, but Julia Strauss hit one of her three baskets to give the Petes the 15-14 advantage. All of this happened on four straight trips to the delight of the early morning crowd.

It was Strauss again on a rebound follow shot to open up a 17-14 PP lead with 4:30 left in the third.  Reid popped one in from the right elbow to draw the Icemen back to within one at the sub break.  But then it got away from the Petes. Kajota scored on a nice driving layup from the right side, then drilled an 8 footer from the right wing. Armaan Kohli made it 22-17 on a coast-to-coast layup to finish the third, then opened the fourth with a left wing driving layin to make it 24-17. Marchis had a tremendous first step drive from the left side for another easy layup and it was all but over. Kajota (9) and Noah Kratz (8) led the victors and Marchis had 7 steals. Keaton Templeman and Williams had 8 a piece; Williams also had 19 rebounds for the Petes’.

— On Saturday evening, the Skywalkers held off the Mambas 29-22 behind an 11 point-10 rebound double double for big man Jax Glowacki. The surprise hero may have been, though, Cy Backen. His steal and layin early in the second half set the tone for his team and put them in front to stay. Moments later he was fouled while scoring from the baseline.  Milyon Mitchell then followed his own miss forcing the Mambas to call a timeout after suffering through a 6-0 Skywalker run with 5:51 to go in the third period.

On the first possession of the fourth, Mitchell canned a three, and Aiden Murphy found Sasha Yansen with a long pass which he finished off to make it 17-9.

The Mambas countered with the Stoll boys, Keean from Brayden (10 points on the day) first, the Brayden on a steal and layup to close the gap to 4. After the elder Stoll hit another hoop, Connor Huddle kept his team comfortable with a bucket to make it 19-15 with 1:25 to go. B. Stoll would not quit as he made it a two point game again with 1:04 to play, but Glowacki’s final basket off of a nice pass from Conrado Farrell wrapped it up.

— The Wizards made it a perfect weekend, topping the Pearls 25-20. They raced off to a 12-2 start in front of a very quiet crowd. The Pearls lacked much energy early, but found it later, albeit too late to do any real damage. Score 6 points each for the Wizards’ Donovin Blackwin and Isaac Davies who played is best game of the season, also grabbing double figures in rebounds. Lorezno Stabilini scored 4 and had 13 boards in his finest hour this season.  The Wiz’ Arthur Illouz scored his first basket of the season. Sophie Roth led the Pearls with 6 points, and Bella Mussi-Nelson played a nice all around game.

As was overheard from the Pearl coaches, and as may well have been true “we just needed another quarter.”


The Bantam League is, with the exception of one team, a wild free for all. Fully seven of the eight teams are within ½ game of first place, although the three lowest of those seven in the standings have a game in hand (that is to say they have played one fewer game than those above them) so it could be closer still.

The Thorobreds split two over the weekend, winning the first when Aamos Aro and Griffin Boccella each hit post game free throws to steal one from the Mustangs 13-12. Boccella was best on the court scoring 9 with 8 rebounds and handling the ball well. Alex Brick had 4 steals in the win. The Mustangs had fallen behind 5-0 after one quarter but were close the rest of the way and led at the final horn until the free throws went in. Russell Ma scored twice, came as Emi Slesaransky and Travis Waters.

Ma’s first basket, on a nice pass from Waters, gave the Mustangs their first lead at 8-7 early in the fourth quarter. Waters upped that to 10-7 with a left baseline jumper that swished through. Boccella had buckets on back to back trips with 3 to 2 minutes remaining to make it 12-11, and there it stood until the end.

— The Palominos raced to a 28-13 win over the Clydesdales. Jake Ronn was the star in this one, scoring 8 on all manner of shots. Tyler Xie, Darien Jones and Alex Wray were there for invaluable support. Clark Elliot led the Clydes.  


It’s not whether you win or lose, but how you play the game. (Grantland Rice). True enough late Saturday afternoon when the Colts met the Broncos. There were good matchups deep into the lineup: Ariel Aframian vs Julian Haggart. Asser Tewodros and Grey Broderick. Miles Aguilar and Asher Eng.  Lots for fans to keep an eye on.

The Broncs struck first in the second half when Haggart stole one away and went in for a layup that cut the Colts lead to two at 16-14 with 3:30 to go in them period.

Rowan Booher then found Justin Tun who converted 40 seconds later to make it 18-14 in favor of the Colts.

Tavio Esposito-Portillo’s off balance fadeaway shot from 8 feet out on the right side pulled the Broncos back to within 2 at 18-16 with a minute left before the quarter break.

Early in the fourth, Espo grabbed a defensive rebound, and went the length of the court to tie it up with 6:47 remaining. Things got tight from that point forward.

Finally, Esposito hit from the left side of the lane with 1:46 to go to give the Broncos a 20-18 lead. Lots of missed shots and good chances, but it came down to Tun who threw in a backside rebound follow of a team mates missed shot with just 1 second left to tie it again at 20-20 as the final horn went off. There were two post-game free throws to be shot by the Colts, but neither one connected and the game ended in a draw.

In a league with a race as tight as this one may be down the stretch, 3 points in the standings may benefit each team. Aframian led the Colts with 8 points, Haggart the same for the Broncos and he also had 16 rebounds, four more than Eng. Broderick and Esposito-Portillo were next best with 6 points each.

— Sunday’s 19-17 Thorobreds win over the Appaloosas was a fun one, too. Dash Hansford, playing with three fouls picked up in the first half, didn’t let that bother him at all, scoring on the first possession of the second half to tie the game up for the Apps off of a nice pass from Parker Cappiccille. Alex Brick’s turnaround from the low post made it 10-8 Thoros at the end of three quarters of play.

Hansford tied it again at 10 with a steal and layup, then in the lay of the game for this reporter, Aamos Aro pulled down a defensive rebound and went all the way, scoring on a tough shot against three defenders to make it 12-10 Thoros with under a minute to play. It stayed that way the rest of the way, with the final score coming as a result of an even number of post game free throws (7 each). Hansford had 6, Isaac Samy 12 rebounds for the Appaloosas. Brick had 6 and 11 rebounds, Griff Bocella 4 and 7, but it was Aro’s clutch shot in traffic that was the game changer.


It was hard to choose from the fistful of thrillers this weekend, but this one was the best of the bunch by just a little.

Emi Slesaransky made four free throws, one to win the game 22-21 for the Mustangs over the Colts.

He had been cold early, missing a dozen or so shots in the first half, but having been fouled a few times, managed to convert 3 of his 6 free throws at half time to get his team to within 3, trailing 10-7 at that point.  

Whatever pep talk was had between he and the coaches at the half, if any, it worked. On the first two trips down the floor he hit inside to give the ‘Stangs their first lead of the game at 11-10 with 2 minutes gone in the third period.

Over the course of the next 8 minutes of play, he managed to pad his rebound stats by missing shots and grabbing his won rebounds, but he did manage to score twice in that span of time to lift his team to a 10-0 run and a 15-10 lead.

But the Colts were not done yet by a long shot, and along shot is what Asser Tewodros threw in from outside the arch to make it a 17-16 in favor of the Mustangs as the final sub break came on.

Waters hit from the left wing to up the advantage to 19-17. He had a fine 8 point, 9 rebound game. Ronan Hill promptly tied it with a three pointer with 2:23 to go.

Waters hit a clutch shot from the right baseline with 1:10 left to make it 21-19 but little Miles Aguilar scored for the second time in the game on the next trip to tie it a 21.

Slesaransky had the only post game free throws, and missed badly on the first one. But as he had done during his fruitful tries in the first half, he banked in the second, and the Mustangs were winners.

He ended up with a superior rating and 12 points and 18 rebounds to lead everyone in this contest. Tewodros led the Colts with 8.


The Rookies played a full slate of picture day games, with Felix Idell of the Hurricanes the only player from his team or the Monsoons to show up for the large group photo and walking away with two Dodger tickets for a game in June just for being there.

On the court, Daniel Sun of the Zephyrs banked in a shot from five feet out in the middle of the key with 4 seconds to play to lift his team to a thrilling 17-16 win over the Breeze, who seemed to have won it themselves moments before when Noah McLaurin scored with just 30 seconds to play. It’s rare when you see two baskets scored on back-to-back trips in a rookie league game, let alone at the end of the game.

McLaurin was the hero up to that point, scoring 8 and hauling down 9 rebounds to go with 8 steals, barely missing an extremely rare rookie league triple double. Nice game kid! Team mate Alex Ma scored 4.

Charlie Miles and Max Baracy each scored four in the win, for Baracy, one of his two buckets came as the horn was sounding to finish off the third quarter. Sometimes those things mean an awful lot.

— The Typhoons blew away the Tornados, 23-11. Cooper Kun and Ryan Schuster shone for the winners with 6 points a piece and Aiden Lin grabbed 9 rebounds. Jack Phelan and Cassius Taylor were best in defeat, and Sadie Stiehm tossed in a bucket.

— It wasn’t pretty but it was productive for both the Hurricanes and Monsoons as they battled to a 4-4 deadlock. Ethan Olson-Shahar and Josephine Casas were the goal scorers from the Canes; James Cook (with his first ever) and Brandyn Schrobilgen for the M’s.


This week, on Friday there is a free weenie roast from 4-6 pm on the third floor patio free to all comers. Chips, hot dogs and drinks until we run out.

On Saturday, ironically perhaps is the annual HEALTHY KIDS DAY. From 9 am to 1 pm come in and play games and there’s a bounce house and it’s all free.

In league play: It is picture day on Sunday for all Major league teams, plus the four Bantam and Minor league teams that did not take photos last weekend

Of course virtually any Bantam game is interesting right now due to the tightness of the standings.

On Sunday, a chance for fans to see the only undefeated, united teams remaining in spring league action, as the Minor Doctors get back to action at 2:00 pm, followed by the 3-0 Major Magic at 3:10 pm.

The Rookies all have the weekend off.









Teams do sometimes take a weekend off, and teams also sometimes play more than one time on a weekend, but never more than once in a day.

There is a minimum playing time limit of half the game, however that will not be the case if all 11 players on any of the three (1 Rookie, two Minor) teams carrying 11 players happen to show up on the same day. If that’s the case, the players will be placed into a rotation by their coach and they will play as much as possible. The league office tried to make sure teams only carried ten players, but it was not possible to do it exactly that way this time around.

Each division has some different rules. In the Rookie League, the ball we use is a youth ball (27.5), baskets are lowered to 8 feet, and no defense is allowed outside of the three-point line.

In the Bantam League, the ball is an intermediate ball (28.5), and the basket is set at 9 feet. In the Minor league the basket is raised to ten feet and the defense may come out to half court. In the Major league the ball is a regulation-sized ball, and teams may play full court defense.

In each division, players fouled in the act of shooting will shoot those free throws at the end of each half. If a team gets ahead by 15 points, they must back up defensively to the next line. In the Majors, that means half court, in the Minors that means the three point line. In the Bantams and Rookies that means inside of the key. If the lead increases to 20, they back up more, or in the case of Bantams or Rookies, play mild defense if any at all.  If it goes to 25 or more in the Majors, they back up in to the key. Teams may, but do not have to come back out on defense if the score reverts under those margins.

You can expect an edition of the league newsletter each week, usually by Tuesday, depending on how much other work I have to do. It is my primary way of contacting you, so please read it thoroughly each week. Feel free to forward it to those who might like to see a copy.

Please do not coach your children from the sideline. It hinders what the coach might be saying to them and is confusing.

Please no food or drinks in the gym other than bottles with caps screwed on well. No gum, of course.

All spectators must sit on the benches provided or stand behind them, do NOT congregate in the entrance to the gym, and you may not sit along the end of the court. You may bring your own sports chairs, provided they do not scratch the surface of the gym floor.

Please clean up the spectator area after your game and leave it nice for the next fans who are coming in.

Also be sure to have your team players (your kids!) clean up under their bench when the game is over, or assign a parent from your team to do so each game.

At the end of the day, please assist in gym clean up and putting away the benches and chairs into the equipment closet.

Any items left at practices are turned in by our custodial staff to the front desk and placed in our lost and found. Bringing expensive items to a game is never a great idea. If the director finds any items at the end of a game day, he places them in his office.

If you have an issue with your coach, please bring it up with them. If you do not feel comfortable doing so alone, have another parent listen as you speak to the coach. If you still can’t iron out a solution, we will set up a meeting with me and the coach and you all in the same room face to face. I’d prefer you take care of it yourselves, of course, but I am there as you need.

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