The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 21, Issue 8





Travis Waters looks to pass to team mate Kingston Luna as Hallie Bujake defends

The first team to reach the lofty status of a perfect 5-0 record are the Rookie Sharks, who have now defeated each of the other teams in the division in order, as they grab the top seed in the post-regular season tournament ahead.

The Minor Orange Crush, the Bantam Bulls and Major Vipers, who were idle, remain unbeaten in their respective division nearing the halfway mark of the 2017 Fall youth basketball league at the Santa Monica YMCA.

The Rookies played a full set of two games each this past weekend, each playing a game on Saturday and Sunday.

— The Ballers and Wildcats tied 11-11 and thus finished tied for second, and with the teams having identical records and a tie against each other, will flip a coin this Saturday to determine the placements of the two teams heading into post-season play.

Henry Brown’s post-game free throw equalized things after regulation time, capping a 5-point game for the Wildcat forward. Domini Drew scored their other 6 points and had 4 steals. Arsha Farkhondeh scored a game-high 9 for the B’s who got a much needed basket from Jenson Montague. Farkhodeh also had 5 rebounds and 8 steals. Vaughn Elliot added 6 and 5 of those stats.

— The Wildcats then topped the Bruins on Sunday morning 16-13, with 5 players scoring one basket a piece in the regulation 11-8 win. Those included Gavin O’Brien, Theo Richards and Kristin Kariger who all scored their first career baskets, making the ‘Cats the first Rookie team to have all of its players score at least one basket this season.

Benny Arroyo scored four points to go with 5 rebounds and 6 assists, and Penelope Hunt scored a like number of points—4.

— The Ballers’ second game was against the first-place Sharks, and they came up on the sour end of a 21-11 decision, badly missing the likes of Farkhondeh, who had been so good just the day before. Elliot was the only regulation time basket scorer for the B’s with two of those.

Hunter Esposito-Doi takes on Jared Oliver in Minor League action

The Sharks were led by James Cook’s 6-point, 7-rebound, 5-steal game. Annika Cook had 4 with 4 and 5, and Luke Steelman scored four (with his first two career baskets) with 3 boards and 4 steals on a busy day for all. Kyoko Bernet-Millan played a fine game with a basket and ten rebounds.

— Back to the Bruins, who on Saturday topped the Warriors 16-13. Arroyo had a fabulous game with a triple double on the Rookie level, something rarely, if ever done on any level. He scored 10 points with 11 rebounds and 12 steals, even adding four blocked shots and two assists. Wow!

Hunt added her now customary 4 points. However the Bruins continue to struggle without the services for the past three games of one of their top players, Joseph Zak.

The Warriors were led by Ryan Cohen, who scored 6, with 5 steals. Aysu Aghayeva had 8 rebounds and 5 steals, but just one basket.

— The Sharks on Saturday beat the Spartans 10-7 in regulation time, putting a close game out of hand with a 6-1 run after halftime. Tally four each for Axel Truxler (his first career points) and Bernet-Millan. Andie Ernst also scored her first ever basket!

Monika Diaz started her productive weekend with 5 points, and Aiden Lin had a basket and 6 steals.

The Sharks did it without three of their top players, so have been impressive indeed.

— Back to the Sunday games, and the Spartans turned things around to win their first of the season, 13-7 over the Warriors. Diaz had a half-dozen points to go with 9 rebounds and 4 steals and Lin added 2 another basket with 9 boards.

Aghayeva got a basket and a dozen rebounds with 7 steals for the W’s, but was the only regulation time scorer, and that’s not nearly enough.


The Bantam League played a short set of four games spread out over the two days, with the first three played mid-Saturday.

— The Warriors pulled away in the second half to defeat the Megaladons 28-21. Alex Brick used his size inside to good use scoring 12 with 11 rebounds for a double-double, and Zayd Al-Shawe scored 8 with 9 rebounds and 5 steals to lead the winners. The Megs got 6 each from Evan Chang and Justin Tun, who also grabbed 11 rebounds.

Gavin Bao of the Warriors scored his second basket in this, his 6th season at the Y. Well done!

— The Lakers hung on for a thrilling one-point regulation win over the Giants 26-25. It looked very much like a runaway after three quarters with the Lakers in command 22-15, but the Giants put the pressure on with a 10-4 run in the final quarter, falling just short.

Eric Papazian had a good time on the day scoring 14 with 12 rebounds… another double-double! Russell Ma added six points in the win and Alex Ma scored a very important fourth quarter basket in his first season up from the Rookie League.

The Lakers built what turned out to be an insurmountable 15-3 lead after one quarter, only to see the Giants rally to overtake them, only to fall short in the very end.

Mason Judkins, a streak shooter if ever there was one, scored an even ten points for the G’s, and was aided by London Coleman’s 6 and 7 steals.

— On Sunday, the Giants were stymied again, beaten this time by the unbeaten Bulls if only slightly, 10-8 in regulation time.

There were plenty of chances but not much in the way of good shooting for the Giants.  Koosha Paridepour got his first career basket and actually led his team with 3 points.  Coleman again had a good rebounding day with a baker’s dozen.

The Bulls got just enough to win it: 4 from Asher Zaczepinski and a good overall stat line from Player of the Game Leo Sikora. Marko Zelenovic hit his first career three point shot.

— Back to the Saturday action: The Thunder mean to challenge for the league title, and got a much needed win towards that end, 15-10 over the Clippers (11-4 in regulation time). Parker Cappiccille scored 4 and had a full dozen rebounds. Max Baracy dropped in another 5 in the win and Roberto Sierra had nine rebounds.


The remainder of the weekend was devoted to the Minor League, with the final game Saturday evening and all hands on deck on Sunday for picture day games.

— The Orange Crush played twice and won ‘em both, to move to a perfect 4-0 so far on the season, which isn’t as young as it used to be.

The first was a 23-15 mashing of the Flash, who were without standout Chris Rhee. Taking advantage of such, Conner Sullivan went around unchecked to the tune of 9 points to lead all scorer in the contest.

Natasha Kohli added four and the Crush out-rebounded the Flash 27 to just 13. Jayden Dove and Noah Kratz teamed up in the losing effort for 10 points and an amazing 13 blocked shots.

— The Flash bounced back nicely on Sunday, handling the Reign 29-24. It was a good all-around team effort for the Flash, who got 8 from Rhee who was back in the fold and managed 7 steals and three blocks. Asser Tewodros followed up a four-point game the day before with 6 this time, same total for Kratz before fouling out late in the third quarter. It would not matter as the Flash were clearly the better team on this day.

Shawn Sikder grabbed double figures in rounding as well in the win, and even with that his team was outrebounded 48-36.

But, save for Keaton Templeman’s 11 point outburst, the Reign were cold from the floor, generally speaking. Dominic Boccella and Templeman had 12 and 14 rebounds, so for the latter a double double day.

Taylor Chen played well in defeat. Templeman’s 11 three point shot attempts is the second most ever in a minor league game in the modern era (since 2011).

— The Ducks scored a very impressive 33-19 win over the Rebels, using a great day for Dom Kajota, who was everywhere, all the time. 16 points. 10 rebounds. 4 steals. A three-point shot, and five free throws. Lorenzo Stabilini wowed the crowd and his teammates making 6 straight free throws at half time to take the game from tied at 10 to a 16-10 lead, from which the Ducks never looked back. Jack Lofaro and Travis Waters missed double figures in rounds by one each.

Harrison McGuire started quickly with all six of his points in the first half, and Isley Williams scored all five of his in the second. Roderick Johnson could only muster three points but did manage time to get 13 rebounds. The Rebs simply left their shooting shoes at home for this one, overall.

— The Crush went back at it on Sunday and were impressive in a 29-15 win over the Hurricanes. Jared Oliver dominated the game from the get-go with 10 points and 9 rebounds. Conner Sullivan was right there with him, scoring 6. Sophie Roth had 5 steals in the first half alone. Cecilia Casas, Armaan Kohli and Bella Mussi-Nelson all lent tremendous help.

The Canes got four each from Hunter Esposito-Doi and Dalton White, and Abel Antal led their rebounders with 9.

— The final game of the long weekend went to the Thunder, who serve notice that they are rounding into peak form as the season progresses, over the Demons 34-21.

Noah Houriani and Jaden Fishman were best on the court throughout, scoring 19 between them. Max Langer added two three point shots. The Thunder were outrebounded 31-19 but shot so well it did not matter and had a crazy 13-1 advantage in steals, so the defense turned into offense to be sure.

Nathan Petros scored a team-high 10 points, most of it in garbage time after the game had been decided.


This week, we have our second picture day on Sunday for all teams who did not take theirs last week, and if you missed your individual picture time last week, you can come at around 5 p.m. to get yours done.

On the court, here is a look at the feature games of the weekend to come:

On Saturday, the Minor League lead is on the line as the 4-0 Orange Crush meet the 3-1 Thunder at 3:10 p.m.

On Sunday, the first and last games of the day are the best on paper.

In the 10:30 a.m. opener, the Bantam Bulls (4-0) meet the Lakers (4-1). Then at 6:40 that night, the major Vipers (4-0 if they win on Saturday) will face the Lakers (3-1 if they win on Saturday) in a showdown to finish up round robin play before tournament time. Good seats still available, and the price is good, too!


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. 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 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 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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