With the round robin portion of the season all but completed, it’s tournament time, and time over the next few weeks to crown the four division champions in the Spring 2017 youth basketball league at the Santa Monica YMCA.

Several important games went down last weekend, and with tournament season in full swing this weekend, it’s time to “prove it on the court” for teams hoping to take home the special hardware on banquet day in June.

Last Saturday there was one last Bantam League regular season game to be played, and depending on who won, several teams would move around in the standings to determine the tournament pairings.

In that game, the Colts bested the Appaloosas to secure a spot in the “A” tournament, featuring the top four of the divisions eight teams.

Holding a supposedly healthy 10-4 lead at half time, the Colts were then outscored by an 8-6 margin in the third quarter and again, but only 2-0 in the fourth as they managed just barely to hang on.

The third quarter damage was all done by the Apps Dash Hansford, who scored all eight of his points in that frame to get his team back into the game. But timely baskets from Asser Tewodros (8 points) and Miles Aguilar (6) in the third period stemmed the tide. Those two combined for 25 (half) of their teams’ rebounds. Hansford, Dag Ayele and Matt Scholze were also double figure rebounders for the Apps.

So the Colts move on to this weekend’s semi finals vs the tough Palominos, who captured the second spot behind the Mustangs, who immediately were beaten by the 4th seeded Broncos in the tournament opening game, 27-17 on Sunday.  

Julian Haggart, who scored a whopping 15 points on the day, was unstoppable. He scored the game’s first 8 points and also grabbed 15 rebounds overall. Even with that start, the Broncos only led 9-6 at half time, but put the game out of reach with a 10-1 run in the third period. Travis Waters led the Mustangs, who were without centerman Emi Slesaransky due to injury.

The Broncos meet the winner of this Saturday’s game on championship Sunday, June 4, after the league breaks for the annual Memorial Day Holiday.


The Rookies played their final regular season games to set up the tournament bracket.  On Saturday, the Breeze posted a mild upset of the Monsoon 15-14. Noah McLaurin and Amelia Morovich-Hess led the winner’s scoring, Morovich-Hess with the game winner in the final quarter. Brandyn Schrobilgen led the Monsoon with 5 points and 17 big rebounds.  

— The Torandos and Zephyrs, the league’s two bottom dwellers, battled to an appropriate 6-6 tie. Jake Kazerani of the Tornados tied it early in the fourth quarter at 4-4. Charlie Miles gave the Z’s a temporary two-point lead with 6:30 to play, and then Jack Phelan dropped in the final shot with just over a minute to play to tie it permanently.

— On Sunday, in a tensely fought battle of the division’s top two teams, the Typhoons outlasted the Hurricanes to capture the tourney top seed, 16-14. Sammy Levi of the Canes tied the score at 4 with 6:42 remaining in the contest. Ethan Stein of the Hurricanes put the Typhoons ahead briefly by scoring in the wrong basket, but moments later as the Typhoons were trying to call timeout without the ball, he scored on the right basket to tie the game back up.

Dominic Drew put the Typhoons ahead with a 10 foot roll around show at the 5:53 mark, but Archer Aguilar of the Canes wasted no time in making it even again.

The Typhoons dominated on the glass the rest of the way, and it finally paid off as Henry Brown danced one in with about two minutes to play, the final score of the game 10-8 made larger by post game free throws. Ryan Schuster led the winners with 4 points.


The Minors played five games over the two days.

The Mambas held off the Pearls 26-25. Brayden Stoll knocked in 8 points and had 5 steals and Jackson O’Neal scored 6 more. A 6-0 run broke a 10-10 tie to open the second half to give the Mambas a little breathing room.

But Coral Izen scored three, fourth quarter baskets to bring her team into the lead at 17-16 before Cameron Rowe nailed a three pointer to put the M’s on top for keeps. Even that that was so, it was still anybody’s game down to the end. Sophie Roth also scored 6 in the loss. The Pearls are becoming more and more dangerous as they start to score more.

Point proven on Sunday when they won their first game this season, taking out the Icemen 22-17. The Icemen lived up to their name in a bad sort of way, as only Julian Bao could find the bottom of the next in the game’s first 16 minutes and the Pearls led 9-3 at half time. More of the same in the third, an 8-3 win for the Pearls, and then they turned up the defensive pressure, scored just enough to win it, and set off a celebration at mid-court.

Ariadni Potamianos led the winners with 6 points and 10 rebounds, but it was a solid team effort with 7 of the 9 players in attendance all scoring at least one basket.

The Pearls and some others from other teams and other divisions will be attending the Sparks home opener this Friday night at Staples Center, and will be on the floor when the defending WNBA champs get their rings and then stand attention on the floor in their uniforms during the national anthem.

— The Doctors sewed up a spot in the upper division tournament with a 30-23 Saturday triumph over the Icemen, who despite the two weekend losses, managed to qualify in 4th place. Jacob Puente scored 8 in the win, and Ryan Kazerani had a nice overall game. Noah Kratz and Dom Kajota led the Ice with 6 a piece and Luca Marchis played well.


The Mambas took advantage of a rare third quarter foul out by Niftalem Tewodros, one of the Admrials great ball handlers, shooters and defenders, and outscored the Ads by two full touchdowns in the final quarter to turn a 24-12 deficit into a 26-24 victory in one of the greatest comebacks we have seen in quite a while.

Prior to his disqualification, Tewodros had 11 points and 12 rebounds through all but 1 minute of the third period. In the fourth, though, Brayden Stoll, stole the show scoring 6 points, and as aided by Yehuda Zelder and O’Neal who each contributed a basket. When the game was over, the Mambas had 7 free throws to shoot with the score tied at 24. They missed the first five before Stoll hit two at the end (after missing three moments before) to win the game.

Ben Adelman was on fire scoring all of his points for the Admirals in the second period. Jayden Fishman was an important part of the Admiral game plan as usual, and came through to the tune of 5 points and 8 boards.

The Mambas held a 49-34 rebound advantage at game’s end, helped by a combined 18 from Dominic Boccella and Keean Stoll.

— Having already clinched second in the upper division tourney behind the idle Skywalkers, the Doctors played a filler game on their schedule and lost it to the Pistol Petes, who capture the top seed in the lower division tournament that begins this week, 25-19

Amnir Jahromi put the Doctors ahead for the first time in the game with a shot from just above the free throw line with 6 minutes left in period number three.

Odin Williams, who dominated in this one with 15 points and 23 rebounds, drilled a three pointer to put the Petes back up a minute later.

Williams then went the distance and scored from the right elbow, but Jahromi drew the Docs back to within one with a free throw line jumper before the third quarter ended.

Williams opened the fourth streaking down the floor at top speed and converting a layup.

After a flurry of Doctor offensive rebounds, Sebastian Fouquette finally scored and it was just a one point Pete lead at the final sub break. The game’s final two regulation points again came from Williams.


The Major season is not quite over, as two games open play this Saturday to determine the final playoff pairings. Just about every team knows where they will finish, and every team already knows in WHICH tournament they will compete. But the regular season title can still be won by the Dreams, or the Magic.

The Majors played the last three games Saturday and the first three on Sunday to get to where we stand now.

The Big Dippers took down the Goats 43-33 in a game that was much closer than that for most of the time. As a matter of fact, Tyler Strang’s three point shot put the Goats on top to open the fourth quarter. Down 29-27, Nasir Luna, who led all scorers with 17 in this one, tied it with a nice move inside. Luke Laurie scored twice, then Luna found Yissacor Tewodros with a great pass which he converted and then Luna hit a three to cap an 11-0 run over 3 ½ minutes to close the door. Tewordos ended up with 7 points and his typical busy stat line.

Laurie finished with an 11 point/15 rebound double double, while Dash Decker dropped in 13 in a losing cause. The Goats certainly suffered from the fact that star Zion Qurtman missed both weekend games.

Still without him in the opener on Sunday, the Goats put up a better battle, but still fell in the end 40-37 to the Big Os. It was a blowout early, with the Os racing out to a 17-6 lead after one quarter, but the Goats came back to within 2 at 29-27 midway through the fourth quarter.  Dash Decker (15) hit a three, then a conventional basket, which were followed by one of Keenan Bryant’s two three pointers on the morning.

Next trip down, the Goats had a layup go in and out, and when the Os came back down and scored the momentum had shifted and the Goats could never catch up.

Kasra Sariri (14) and John Woods (10) each scored in double figures, and Sariri had 27 rebounds; Woods 11. Ezra Krieger ran the show from the point guard spot and missed a double double by a single basket.

The Os had a 61-31 rebound advantage.  

–Don’t look now but maybe the Dreams are the team to beat. They can claim the top spot in the tournament that opens Sunday if they beat the Goats, who ought to have “ZeeQ” back on the floor, and he can be a difference maker.

As it was, the Dreams won two big games last weekend. The first was a 40-34 victory over the Os, who they may end up facing in the first round of the upper division tourney.

Khaelan Zeitlin hit a shot to put the Os ahead briefly 27-26 with 6:30 left in the game. Andrew Daouda countered with a basket on which he was fouled with 3:20 to play, and the Dreams were up 31-30.

Nick Ladreyt put in a basket on a long pass from Krieger and the O’s were back on top 32-31 with 2:05 left.

Gabe Aframian drilled a three point shot with a minute to go to make it a 34-32 Dream lead. Sariri fouled out five seconds later, and the Dreams scored five more points over the final 55 seconds.

Daudoa scored 11, and Ryan Abousseua had a Major career high of 15 rebounds and he continues to find the form that made him a former Minor League MVP. Sariri ended up with 10 and 11 rebs.

–The Dreams second win in as many days came in the form of a 38-31 tough one over the Dippers. As is apparently their custom, they did it the hard way. Down 28-22 with about 9 minutes left in the game it looked pretty bleak. Michael Hansab scored, then a pair of buckets from Daouda tied it. No one from either team could score until Daouda broke the ice 3 minutes into the fourth quarter. He ended up with a spectacular 19 point/15 rebound effort, including all the clutch baskets down the stretch.

Dylan McFarland added 8 with 8 rebound and 9 steals in the win. Scoring 6 point each in the loss were Luke Khosla and Yissi Tewodros for the Dippers.

–On Sunday morning, the Magic recovered from the night before to move back into first place with a 30-23 win over the Glide. Picazo scored 15 with the same number of rebounds. Jon Smiley continues to impress for the Glide, scoring 11 with 10 boards.


–To close up shop on Saturday, the Captains beat the Magic in a matchup of the top two teams in the division heading into the weekend, 37-36.  

Aron Zakharin hit a three 3 minutes into the second half to give the Magic a 14-12 lead in a game that had been that close throughout to that point, and would pretty much remain so.

Keegan Fleigner followed with one of his 3, three-point shots forcing a Captains timeout with 4:33 to go in the third.

After the sub break, Spencer Farkas hit a trey to draw the Caps back to within two at 17-12.

Casey Christmas, the scoring leader in this one overall with 19, put the Captains ahead 19-17 with 1:20 left in the same frame.

In the early fourth quarter Siggy Dalgas hit back to back shots to move the Magic back in front.  He finished with 7, same as team mates Zakharin and Miguel Picazo (15 rebounds/6 steals).

Unhearalded Etai Dayyani netted a three to give the Captains a one point lead, but Gian Luca Tosonotti scored and then Picazo grabbed a rebound a roared down the court to lay it in for a 25-23 Magic lead.

Preston Calder of the Captains answered that with a three pointer to give the Captains a 26-25 lead. Picazo scored one last time and the Magic had a 27-26 lead but there were a ton of post game free throws to be shot in a foul marred game. The Magic had 14, the Captains 12. The Magic could only convert on 5, while the Captains won it from the line. Farkas hit two but it was Christmas who made 6 of his 8 to put the game away.









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.

Overtime games are only allowed in games in which a team must advance to another round of a tournament. And all-star games or games vs parents. But not regular season games.

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.

If your child is injured during the course of the game, please hold off on the urge to rush out onto the court. Give them at least 30 seconds to gather themselves (unless you absolutely KNOW it to be a major injury). The game referees and your coach will be first responders and make sure the player is okay and assess the situation. Usually after 30 seconds the player is either back up and ready to play, or sometimes heads to the bench for a breather and to regroup. You can visit them on the bench at this time if you wish.

If the player is more seriously injured, certainly we want you to come out to your child, just give it a little time before you do.

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.

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