The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 21, Issue 4





Fourteen teams had to wait an extra week with anticipation before opening their fall league season of youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA, but once they got to it, they really got TO it this past Sunday, ending up with the best game of the season through two weeks played at the Minor league level.

The Rookies, the youngest of our 30 team extravaganza, played their first games, in some cases, players taking to the floor in their first ever competitive basketball game and even for a few, their first ever athletic competition of any kind at all.

In the first game, the Ballers held off the Spartans 20-16. That score is a bit misleading as it was made closer by final post game exhibition free throws. In actuality, the Ballers won in regulation time 18-8. Arsha Farkhondeh, the Y player of the week went wild in the second half, scoring all 8 of his points and pulled down 13 rebounds with 6 steals and was, as you can plainly see, a one-kid wrecking crew.

Vaughn Elliot, while not scoring, played a fine all-around game in victory. Aiden Lin and Monika Diaz were best for Sparty, both scoring 4 points. Lin had 12 rebounds and 5 steals.

— Game two was a Warrior 14-11 win over the Wildcats, 105 after regulation time. The Cats were held scoreless through the first half but cut the lead to one at 4-3 after the third quarter.

That final quarter belonged to Aysu Aghayeva, who scored 6 of her game high 8 points in the final 8 minutes. She also grabbed 6 of her game high 10 rebounds in the final frame. On the day, she also had 6 steals and was clearly the player of the game.

Luca Anderson scored his first career basket at the Y for the Wildcats.

— The Sharks had little trouble disposing of the Bruins, 18-11, as Misha Lakhani went off for a career high 8 points spaced evenly throughout the contest. While it was just a one point lead for the man-eaters at halftime, they shutout the Bruins 6-0 in the decisive second half. Benny Arroyo and Joseph Zak had good and quality outings in their first Samo Y games for the Bruins.


The first Bantam League game of the weekend was an inner–city rivalry match, wherein the Lakers took the measure of the Clippers 22-19, in a fairly close tussle. The Lakers early run of 8-2 in the first quarter did the trick in the long haul. In it, Eric Papazian, Youssef Chabbouh, and Russell Ma served notice that they will be a formidable trio to deal with this season. They scored every basket there was to be had on this day, and had all but 6 of the team’s rebounds and all but one of its steals.

The Clips stormed back with an 8-2 third quarter to tie the game at 12 heading into the final 8 minutes, but they could not get over the hump at the end. Rowan Booher led the Clips with 6; Leo Mooney had the same number of thefts, and Jace O’Brien played well in a losing cause.

— The Megaladons were perhaps most impressive of the Bantam teams in action on Sunday, forging a strong 27-17 win out over the Giants. Bantam League Player of the Week Evan Chang did it all in this one, scoring 11 and grabbing 13 rebounds for a nice double-double. He even dropped in a three pointer.

Jonah Houriani and Jon Shu added ten more points between ‘em in the rout that was effectively over by halftime.

London Coleman made a nice Samo Y debut with 13 rebounds for the G’s.

— The Beasts won big over the Warriors, 24-14 in regulation time, parlaying even scoring from the likes of Archer Aguilar, Cooper Kun, Darien Jones, and Aayan Lakhani, the later perhaps the most impressive as it came along with 6 assists and 4 steals. The 6 assists ties the all-time Bantam League record held by Mathias Wagner of the Fall, 2012 Clippers, who did it two times that season. Wagner is now an 8th grader at St. Timothy’s school, who works out at the Y regularly with his dad.

He and his sister Misha BOTH won player-of-the-game honors on the same day, believed to be a first for a brother-sister combination in the modern era.

Zayd Al-Shawe had a nice first effort in this league for the Warriors.


There were two minor league games to finish things off.

In the first, the Flash turned back the Demons, 24-17. Asser Tewodros, just up from the Bantam league, showed well in his maiden voyage into uncharted waters, scoring 6 to lead the winners. Noah Kratz, the cagey old Minor League veteran, tossed in 5 and led the team with 7 rebounds. Chris Rhee celebrated his comeback to the Y with a good overall effort.

Nathan Petros played a really nice game first time out of the box this season, scoring 6 with 11 rebounds for the Demons, who were without starting center Kate Beckerman, who may have been enough to make a difference in this one. No one else could score more than a single basket. This reporter thought Kingston Luna had a good accounting of himself in his first game at this level, but was unlucky in his shooting.


Now and again, we have the best saved for last for those of us who had been hanging around the gym all day and night. Such was the case this past Sunday as the Reign and Rebels, the only two teams who had a game under their belt from the opening week, did battle in the finale of the day.  

Interestingly, a mechanical failure on one of the basket support with under a minute to play in the previous game forced the moving of this game to the rock wall side of the gym. It’s not a foreign placed to play, certainly, as all teams practice on that side, but it IS odd to play a live league game there (We estimate that less than ten have been played on this side of the gym since the modern ear began in 2011).

The game was a bit slow to develop into what it would become—an instant classic. The Reign held a two point cushion in an otherwise pretty normal first half, 12-10, as neither team was able to build more than a four-point lead at any point in this or either half.

The donnybrook broke out by early in the third quarter and never let up for a second it seemed.

First, Sasha Yansen tied it up at 12-12 for the Rebels, but Jayson Badua drove the lane to put the Reign back in front by a deuce. Then it was Yansen again, who enjoyed one of his finest career outings, scoring 6 overall. Yowahnnes Dagnew followed a missed shot with a close up shot. Isley Kimball-Williams hit from the right side to tie it again. You get the picture?

Badua fought for a loose ball and while on the floor sitting down, found Mile Aguilar with a pass and he turned it into two points. But the Rebels Joey Little would not be denied and it was tied again at 18 with 3 to play in the third. Roderick Johnson made a great move at the free throw line to lose his defender and scored to push the score to 20-18.

Keaton Templeman tied the game at 20-all with a long jumper from the free throw extended on the left side with a minute to go in the third quarter. With 20 seconds left in that period, after a defensive stop, Dagnew grabbed an offensive rebound and put it back in for a two point lead at the buzzer.

On the first possession of the final quarter, Amir Jahromi hit his only basket of the game to tie it up again at 22 a piece, but on the next trip down, Badua, who had been hot all game long, completed his 10-point game (tops for his team) with yet another drive to the basket and wild underhand scoop shot for the lead 24-22 for the Reign with 7:20 remaining.

The Rebels’ Johnson drove coast-to-coast for a layup with 5:45 left to even things up again.

His offensive rebound, dribble out to the right corner and 12 swish into a netless rim put the Rebs up by two, prompting a Reign timeout at the 5:08 mark.

Out of that, Aidan Hurbulot-Thomas threw in a bank shot high off the glass to put the Reign back on even footing with 4:50 to play.

At the sub break, two important sub notes: Johnson went to the bench, and Templeman came back in after sitting and getting refreshed for the same four minute span.

Out of the sub break, Badua found Aguilar again for the last of his three baskets from the right wing, then put the Reign up by four with his fourth assist, this one to Taylor Chen who dropped one in from close range.

The Rebels were in trouble, and called time out.

They would score only once more, and that would leave them one point short on the night.

Johnson finished with a 12/12 double double. Jahromi led all rebounders with 13. On the winning side Dagnew had 13 boards as well.


This week, many teams get into game two action, with the top games in the Bantam League, each featuring a pair of 1-0 teams at 12:50 and 2 p.m. as the Panthers play the Lakes and Beasts meet the Megaladons.

It could be “separation” day for the Majors as all three games late in the afternoon into the early evening feature teams that won their opener vs teams that did not.








— There is an information table with hard copies of this newsletter THE HOOP each week, along with other important information.

— Be sure to turn in your emergency packets. All new players have been given these at evaluations and parent’s night, but there are new forms if you lost yours located in my office or on the information table on game days.

— Please yell encouragement and whisper criticism. Cheer for your team, and it’s actually okay to cheer for good plays by the other team, too!

— Leave the referees alone. Period.

— If you have any problems, please take them to your coach, and if you are not satisfied with your coaches reply, being the issue to me.


— When your game is over, please help clean up the area where you sat and also the area where your team sat to make it ready for the next game. If yours is the final game, please help clean the gym and put away chairs and benches at the director’s request.


— Rookie ball is a youth ball (27.5) and they play on an 8-foot basket. There is no defense allowed outside the three-point line. If a team leads by 15 they must drop back into the key defensively and this may happen earlier at the director’s discretion. Two timeouts per game, one each half.

— Bantam league ball is intermediate (28.5) with baskets at 9 feet. Still no defense outside the three-point line. If a player hits a three-point shot, that player may be guarded (one-on-one only) for the remainder of the game outside the line. Three timeouts per game, no more than two in either half.

— Minor league plays defense out to half court, so if the lead goes to 15 they drop back to three-point line, and if it grows to 20, they go into the key. Basket is at ten feet. Four timeouts per game, no more than two in either half.

— Major league is full court ball with a regulation-size ball. When the lead goes to 15 the team ahead must not play defense past half court. Twenty is a drop back to the three-point line, 25 into the key. Four timeouts per game, no more than three in a half.

In all divisions, teams may come back out to play regular defense when the score goes back under the total that put them in there in the first place.

In all divisions, we play four eight-minute running time quarters. At the four minute mark, providing the offensive team at that moment is not directly threatening to score inside the three-point line, the horn is sounded and the teams take a 20 second timeout to clear the bench of all substitutes. Teams must clear the bench again after each quarter ends. If, during a four-minute segment in which a player is on the bench and they are called into the game to substitute for an injured player or one who cannot play further, the player going in may not be among those coming back to the bench at the next regular sub break.

— In all divisions, any shooting foul shots will be shot at halftime and after the game. These count towards the final score of the game.  It will then be presumed that the team that was fouled made their shots and it is the other team’s ball out of bounds, thus saving valuable seconds from clicking off of the clock. We’ll shoot them later.

At the end of the game (halftime in Major League games) players who have yet to score a single point will take part in a season-long free throw shooting contest, shooting as many as six free throws (until they make one or we give them the 6th one for free). These points do NOT count towards the final score unless they do not change the winner of the game. Then they do count.  

**If your child is injured, please resist the urge to rush onto the court to take care of them (unless it’s obvious that it is serious). Ninety-five percent of the time, if you give them 30-60 seconds, they are just fine, and continue in the game. Sometimes they have to go to the bench for a brief bit to recuperate. Let them work it out themselves as much as you can. The refs will handle it first, then the coaches, then you and me.

— If you or a member of your viewing party are not members of the Santa Monica Y, please be friendly with our front desk staff and sign the guest book each visit. It’s at the end of the counter. Children accompanying you may NOT roam freely through the YMCA, they must remain in the gym with you, and not go anywhere else. Thanks.

— We communicate generally through email. Mine is, 310-393-2721 x 137

My assistant, Barry, will be on hand many days while I may not be. He can answer your questions, and if not, you should ask me via email or phone call if I’m not there.

— Check this newsletter every single week for important information. Feel free to forward it to anyone you’d like.

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