The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 21, Issue 5



Three teams ran their record to a perfect 2-0 to start fall League play at the Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball league, with several others still unbeaten after just one game. This coming weekend promises all sorts of thrills as we play on BOTH weekend days for the first time this season.


The Bantam League got things started last Sunday.

— There wasn’t much separating the Warriors from the Clippers other than a basket by Alex Brick with under 30 seconds to play to win the game for the Warriors 10-9. He was high-point man for the game on either side with 6, and was aided by Kayra Sanar’s 4.  Zayd Al-Shawe grabbed 13 rebounds in victory.

T.J. Turner and Rowan Booher were best for the Clips, who need to find a little more scoring somewhere. Leo Mooney and Kalen Anderson each scored a basket.

— Matthew Scholze dropped in four of his 6 points in the decisive fourth quarter to help lead the Thunder to a 19-13 triumph over the Wildcats. Scholze complimented his scoring with 6 steals. Score 4 each for Jo Jo Beckerman and Parker Cappiccille in the win. No one with more than one bucket on the ‘Cats side of the ledger.

— Gordon McLean and Max Lewis combined to score 14 of the Panthers’ 26 points in a three-point win over the Lakers. Eric Papazian (8 rebounds and 5 steals), Russell Ma and Bryson Brown each scored 6 in defeat. For Brown they were his first baskets in the Samo Y league. The Lakers led 12-4 at the half but were blitzed in the second half as the Panthers turned up the defensive intensity and turned the game around. They finished with a 20-9 advantage in steals.

Richard Cortez had a monster game with 10 rebounds and 7 steals. Much of his work done in the decisive second half of the game for the Panthers. Munther Elsayed scored his first basket in the Samo Y league.

— Aayan Lakhani dropped in a league season high mark that will be very tough to top — 19 points — leading his Beasts to a 28-19 win over the Megaladons. Each team was missing some important players, so if either had had them show up, the story could have been different. Lakhani supplemented his day with 7 rebounds and 9 steals and was named Samo YMCA Player of the Week.

Amelia Morovich-Hess, playing her first game of the season, poured in 7 and Jonathan Shu 6 for the Megs.

Jahveed Braham put the Beasts ahead to stay at 12-11 one minute into the second half, and six minutes later when Elliot Mamedov scored after a good pass came his way, it was 19-11 and it was all over.


There was only one Minor League game, and the Reign were in it, as they always seem to be, becoming the only team in any division to have played 1/3 of their 9 game schedule after three weeks. They’re doing ok, too. After dropping a heartbreaker on opening day to the Hurricanes, they’ve won two in a row, this one fairly handily, 30-19 over the Ducks. It was 6-1 after one, 14-5 at halftime and sort of kept like that throughout the day.

Jayson Badua controlled the action from the point, scoring 6 while dishing out three assists. Keaton Templeman and Miles Aguilar shared 13 points, and Yowhannes Dagnew, and Girffin and Dominic Boccella all had double figures in rebounds for the Reign who outrebounded the Ducks 51-30.

Tyler Xie was best for the Ducks overall, with good support from “Zo” Stabilini.  Travis Waters scored his first Minor League baskets — two of ‘em! The Ducks were without Dom Kajota, which certainly didn’t help them any.

The Reign is the first team to have all of its players score at least one basket this season.


The Majors got back to it last Sunday with all six teams in action. When the dust settled, there was one unbeaten and one winless team, and everyone else in the middle.


Little things mean a lot. In music, a famous song of year’s gone by. In sports, an adage proven time and again, although quite often you’re never quite sure which things are little and which are big.

The Ballerz beat the Streetdogs by a point, 36-35. That we know. The journey to get there is filled with a series of fantasticals you can only make up in the cities and towns adjacent to LaLa Land.

We pick up the action with the Ballerz down 8-6 early in quarter number two. Eli Eng is sitting on the floor after a mad scramble for a loose ball that’s touched by 8 of the ten players active at the moment.  He has the ball and tosses it behind him almost blindly to Gabe Aframian who drills a three pointer to give the Ballerz the lead.

Moments later, Ariadni Potamianos, playing her first season after coming up from the Minors, hits from the left wing ten feet out and it’s 11-8 with five minutes to go until half time. Ian Villanueva scores his only bucket of the evening to give them a five-point bulge at the sub break. Baskets from unlikely scorers come in very handy. Little things like that can win a team a game.

Coming out of the timeout, Timosha Moncher steals the ball and lays it in and brings his Dogs back to within three. Dash Decker scores inside, then Rama Karimi steals the inbounds pass and finds Decker for a three pointer from the top of the key and in a span of mere seconds, the Streetdogs are up. Half-time free throws tie things up at 15-all.

The first three and a half minutes of the third quarter were downright ugly with turnovers and sloppy play. Shiva McIntosh started a fast break with a steal and finished it with a nice pass to Decker for a 17-15 Dogs lead.

The rest of the third period was Decker’s domain, as he scored that and the next 3 baskets, then watched Moncher add a deuce and Zico Muldoon toss in a shot at the buzzer to make it 27-17 after three quarters.

A minor detail we’ve left out that could possibly come into play: Decker, who led all scorers in this game with 17 overall, did all his damage in these three quarters, before hitting the showers early so as to attend the hot Broadway musical “Hamilton” in downtown L.A. Before he left, he had two free throws, and opted to shoot them before leaving.  Missed ‘em both, but with a ten point lead, it seemed not be a huge deal.

In a virtual instant, the Ballerz closed the gap to 27-25 with eight straight points to open the fourth before Moncher, who had a fine game with 9 points and 4 steals, hit a three point bomb to give the Dogs a little breathing room for the time being, leading 32-25 at the final sub break.

Aframian canned a three, but McIntosh answered to put the Dogs up by 6 again and time was running out.

Aframian made it three-for-four from long range and pulled the Ballerz back to within a single possession when the final regulation horn sounded, but as it did so, lying on the floor with a loose ball steal was young Milyon Mitchell, in his second game ever in the Majors.

One of the Streetdogs was laying on top of him, and just before the horn sounded, that player was whistled for a foul. And it was the seventh team foul on the Streetdogs, putting them over the limit for a half and putting the Ballerz in the bonus, meaning free throws on the common foul, where there usually are none.

Rama Karimi hit a free throw to make it 35-31, and the Dogs would now have to sit and wait and watch as the parade of free throws began for the Ballerz. There were only two shooters. Eli Eng, who was fouled while shooting twice in the third period, made three of his four to make it a 35-34 score.

Then Mitchell, who had been fouled while shooting earlier in the fourth period, tied the game making one of those two. Then he had that one-and-one earned just before the game ended.

He made the first, rendering the second a moot point (he missed it), but the Ballerz had found a way to win it after all.

Eng finished with a Major career high 8 in just his second game at this level. Estevan Rodriguez scored four important points, and Josh Kaplan, while only scoring three (in a one-point win that’s plenty) was active and lent quality support throughout.

There is no one single reason a game like this goes one way or another. No one hero and no one thing. Just lots of little things.

— In another one-point tussle, the Blaze outlasted the Lakers 23-22. Keegan Fleigner dominated the glass with a baker’s dozen to go with 8 points, 5 steals and 3 blocks for Player of the Game honors. Tommy Sorady added 7 much-needed tallies and Spencer Hotch scored his first major League hoop.

We must put things into perspective here. Laker star Nasir Luna suffered a bad enough leg injury to force him out of the game for the entire second half. He scored 7 points, all in the first quarter, so to say they might have been able to win this one could be an understatement. Will Sheehy hit two from long range and Nick Arjomand added 4 in a losing cause.

It was a game with an odd start for sure, as the Lakers built a 10-1 first quarter lead but were outscored 13-5 in the second period, to leave it a one point game at half time.  

— The unbeaten Vipers took out the Mambas 45-37. The Mambas, to their credit, kept it interesting through the first half, when the trailed only 23-17. But the Vipers won the third 12-2 and rolled home easily.

Zion Qurtman led the wines with 13, missing a double-double by a rebound. Every Viper scored at least one basket, with Quest Miller, Charlie Donwey and Ervin “Magic” Broughton each hitting thrice from the field. Yowhannes Mirhet and Cy Backen had two buckets each. Gian Luca Tosonotti drew post game praise from his coach.

Dash Wasson did most of his dozen points worth of damage in a flurry in the fourth quarter.

Jack Froom hit two shots from outside to help the M’s with 8. And Brayden Stoll added 6.


This weekend, we play on both days for the first time this season and year. On Saturday, the Rookies take the court for only the second time, highlighted by a battle of two teams that won their opening games, the Sharks and Warriors at 12:50 pm.

The Bantams fill the remainder of the day and night session as the Beats and panthers try to stay perfect.

On Sunday, there’s a good Minor League game to start it off at 10:30 in the morning, with the Hurricanes facing the Flash. Both teams are 1-0.

The Bantam League games could be important ones in the early season if the teams in action Sunday won on Saturday. Only three of them can, as two play each other.

The Majors finish things up with game three of their five-game, round robin schedule. The most important of those seems to be the first one, at 4:20 p.m. between a pair of 1-1 teams trying to stay alive, the Streetdogs and Lakers.


Go Dodgers!








— 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, bring 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 timeout 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 3 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 half time 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 (half-time 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 sixth 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 this to anyone you’d like.

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