The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 21, Issue 10





The later it becomes in any given sports season, the clearer the picture becomes, even when it’s becoming more muddled at the same time. With scant few games and days left in the fall 2017 youth basketball season at the Santa Monica YMCA, some teams deal with the gloomy fact that they can only play for pride and exercise while continuing to improve their games the rest of the way. Others dream of big games still to come, and celebrations in the offing.

In the Rookie League, it certainly appears all but assured that the Sharks will win the championship, as they are the only undefeated team in any of the Y’s four divisions heading into tournament play at a perfect 6-0.

They got that way by handling the league’s designated second place team, the Wildcats, in the seeding game on Saturday afternoon 19-13.

James Cook, Alex Zelenovic and Kyoko Bernet-Millan all scored 4 points with Cook and sister Annika combining for 10 rebounds and a like number of steals. The score stood at 8-0 at halftime and 12-2 after three quarters.

— In the earlier seeding games, the Bruins took out the Spartans 24-14 as Joseph Zak poured in 8 points and got big help from Benny Arroyo and Leiless Sariri. Aiden Lin was best for Sparty.

— The Ballers and Warriors played to an 8-all draw when the Ballers scored 6 in the final quarter to come back from being down 6-2 through three. Erol Besincioglu had four of his game high 6 points in the final period to being his team all the way back. Ryan Cohen led the Warriors.

— With the seedings completed, the post-season tournament proper began on Sunday.  The Ballers nipped the Wildcats to head into the semi finals against their nemesis, the Sharks. Arsha Farkhondeh was his usual handful, scoring 6 with 6 steals and 10 rebounds in victory. When at full strength, which they seldom are, this team can be a tough one for any opponent.

Theo Richards had the only regulation basket for the ‘Cats.

— The third place Warriors then defeated the 6th place Spartans, 9-5, allowing only one regulation game point in the doing. Aysu Aghayeva scored all 5 of her team’s regulation points, with the score being augmented by post game free throws as per usual.  


The Bantams, of course, have a full ten-team league, and no tournament to worry about, only the specter of playing every team once in a true round robin competition. With just three games to go (in most cases), there are fully 6 teams that can make a claim that they are very much alive for the overall title to be decided in the coming weeks.

The Lakers and Bulls are on top with equal 5-1 marks so far. The Lakers had already been there and took the weekend off hoping someone could tame the Bulls. Didn’t happen. The Bulls took care of their part of the equation with a 24-15 whuppin’ of the Panthers. Leo Sikora scored 8 and Mark Zelenovic 5 to lead the winners. It was a good — not great — effort from the Panthers who have the personnel but can’t seem to put the ball in the basket quite enough. Rich Cortez and Ryan Schuster did so twice each, no one else as often.

— The Clippers kept the Giants winless, although for a good long while, it appeared the Giants might pull off the upset, trailing only 10-8 early in the third quarter. Then, Kalen Anderson went to work, scoring 6 of his 8 points for the Clips in the second half. He was joined by 10 points overall from Jace O’Brien, and good game overall from Leo Mooney. Same troubles for the Giants: not enough scoring from not enough players. Only Dag Ayele could get as many as four points.

— The only other game on a short work week for the Bantams found the Beasts keeping the Wildcats out of the win column as well, 22-18. Again, it was a game until the fourth period, when the Beasts upped a two point lead to 5 by the end of regulation time, using a big scoring fourth quarter from player of the game Darien Jones. Aayan Lakhani added 4 with 9 rebounds, three steals and assists. Sophia Levi and Grey Broderick (12 rebounds) scored 11 of their team’s 14 regulation tallies.


The Minors both finished the first day and opened the second this past weekend.

The Rebels and Thunder were the big winners, taking two games each to thrust themselves towards the top of the standings.

— The Rebels first held off a determined bunch of Demons 35-26. Harrison McGuire netted a dozen to go along with Sasha Yansen’s 8 for the winners. Nathan Petros dropped in 11 in a losing effort and Kate Beckerman added 6.


This Sunday they handed the Orange Crush their first defeat of the season after five wins in a row out of the gate, 28-22.

Joey Little’s three-pointer opened the scoring in the second half to give the Rebels their first lead of the game at 10-8, and McGuire hit on the next trip down the floor to up the advantage to 4. Then Little scored again and all of a sudden the Crush were reeling, down 14-8 with 5:45 to go in the third quarter.

After the sub break, Conner Sullivan (9 points/14 rebounds) scored to cut it to four again, but McGuire found Isley Williams who hit a 5 foot shot from the right side with 1:30 to go in the third for a 16-10 lead. McGuire finished the third quarter with a steal and coast-to-coast layup on which he was fouled (he later converted the three-point play) and it was officially 19-11 after three periods.

Sophie Roth found Natash Kohli (6 points/8 rebounds) inside for an easy one to make it 19-13, but that was followed by a jumper from the free throw line from the hot hands of Yansen and it was all but over.

McGuire was player of the game with 10 points.

— The Demons second game didn’t go any better than the first, or, so far, any of their games. The Hurricanes won this one if only slightly 15-12, using a 7-1 fourth quarter spurt to erase an 11-8 Demons lead through three quarters. Dash Hansford spaced his three baskets out evenly through the game to lead the Canes, and Abel Antal was very busy on both ends to earn player of the game honors. Kingston Luna was best out there for the D’s.

— The Canes were beat up by the Thunder on Saturday night, 51-37, when Noah Houriani (4-4) and Max Langer (3-3) each hit three three-point shots in the first half as the Thunder raced to a 31-21 lead at half time of this high scoring affair. While they were hitting threes, Jaden Fishman made 7 conventional baskets and scored more than either with 17 to Houriani’s 16 and Langer’s 11.

Dalton White led the Hurricanes with 11 and Ariel Aframian added 8 but the Thunder were on fire and could not be caught on this day.

— Nor the next. Sunday morning could not come soon enough for this team that just wanted to keep on playing after their previous night’s success, and took apart the Reign 38-30. Houriani and Fishman did the damage this time, scoring 23 between ‘em in a game that was over by half time.

Keaton Templeman scored 14 for the Reign and Yowahnnes Dagnew pulled down a good looking 17 rebounds. The Reign actually won the rebound battle 54-29 but that did not turn into enough points to win it.


The Major Leaguers played their seeding games to set up the post-season tournament, and the Lakers did it to the Vipers again, making it two wins over the former league favorites in as many weeks to take over first place all by themselves.

Eli Levi scored 13 in the win, and hit a three-point shot that opened up a good sized lead with 3 minutes to go in the third quarter 24-17. He followed it up with a breakaway layup on a long pass from Nasir Luna a minute-and-a-half later, but Zion Qurtman scored enough to bring the Vipers back to within one early in the fourth, down 26-25.

Then Luna canned a long range three to open it up to a four-point game gain. Just as quickly, Cy Backen of the Vipers, who scored 8, including two baskets worth of points in the final 8 minutes, hit from the baseline with 5:30 left in the contest.

Levi’s steal and length of the court laying upped it to 4 again. Back and forth it went like that until time simply ran out, bringing us to post game free throws, as had been the case a week before.

This time the Lakers led by 2 at 31-29. Luna hit two of his four to put the pressure on Qurtman to make all four of his. He hit his first three, but not the last and it ended a 33-32 regulation time win, and the fans looking forward to seeing these two again perhaps before the season ends.

Qurtman ended with 17 points, and oh, how about 31 rebounds!! Luna scored 20 and grabbed 12 boards. The Vipers were without big center Ervin Broughton, who might have been enough to make up the one point somewhere along the line.

— In the earlier games the Mambas got their first win of the year, beating the Blaze 53-41. Luca Sone, taking over for a player who quit after being selected with the Mambas first pick in the draft, scored 15 to lead his new team in victory for the first time. Nifty Tewodros and Luca Bainbridge (two three-pointers) scored 8 each and Evan Daghighian 7. Jack Froom added another half dozen and had 9 rebounds, too.

The Blaze suffered with three of their top players being absent. Keegan Fleigner did all he could to keep his team in the game for as long as he could, with a beautiful 20-20 double (actually 20-26!). Fred Ekberg scored 9 on three three-point shots.


This week we have more than a couple of interesting morsels to feast on the week before the Thanksgiving break.

On Saturday, right around the time of the SC-UCLA game, the Majors begin with their tournament quarterfinals at 5:30 p.m. and 6:40 p.m.

On Sunday, game two at 11:40 a.m. features the Lakers, in first in the Bantam league, against the hard-charging Thunder. Two games later, at 2:00 pm, something’s got to give as the two winless Bantam teams, the Giants and Wildcats, play each other.

Then at 3:10 p.m., for two hours, the Rookie semi-finals with the Sharks and Ballers followed by the Bruins and Warriors.










— 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. Believe it or not there are still four players who have yet to turn them in, and they are now ineligible to play in further games until they do so.

— 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!

— The playing time rules are simple. Your child MUST play at least half the game, unless they become injured or leave, or choose not to play. Players CAN play more, but that’s up to the coach. No one else. Especially not parents.

— 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 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 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 this to anyone you’d like.

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