The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 22, Issue 4





It does not happen often that play gets stopped at the Y. One year it was due to rain leaking in from the roof above, once when someone pulled a fire alarm late in the day, and this time, on Sunday, when people smelled gas in the YMCA. The emergency teams arrived and found it to be a car that had been left on with a faulty exhaust system, which had made the air quality in the garage and in the YMCA overall poor enough to call for a shutdown for two hours.

By that time, fearing that the Y was going to close for the remainder of the day, the League Director postponed all remaining play for the afternoon, wiping out one Rookie and three Minor League games that had to be rescheduled.

Two of those games will be played early this coming Sunday—Super Bowl Sunday—usually a day off in our league. The other two will now be played as part of late February weeknight doubleheaders.

There was plenty of action—12 games instead of the usual 16, plus the first turn for our Samo Y players to taste some winter league action at Culver Middle School, where a team of 7-8 all stars manhandled their Culver Palms YMCA opponents 40-5 on Saturday.

Here, closer to home, the Minor League Redhawks continued their great start, beating the Zips to raise their record to 3-0, the first team in any of our four divisions to get that far, in handing the Zips their first setback.

Several Rookie and Major League teams are also unbeaten and untied heading into the short weekend schedule ahead.


As mentioned, the Redhawks and Zips got together to start the weekend off, but the anticipated showdown thrills fizzled as the Hawks were the much better team on this morning. The game broke open heading into the second quarter sub break when Joey Little hit a three pointer, and then coming out of the same break, Arjun McIntosh netted one of his two baskets, and what had been a 6-6 tie became an 11-6 lead that ballooned to 16-6 by when Minor League player of the week Clark Elliot grabbed a steal and went the length of the court to lay it in followed by a three pointer and a feeling of “see ya” was in the air.

Little added 9 on the game while Jayson Badua led the Zips with 6. No one else could score as many as three however as the Redhawks had better and more shooters in this one.

— The first AND last games of last Saturday were Minor League contests.

In the closer, the Thunder routed the Orange Stars, 38-17. Leo Sikora scored 12 and Dalton White 11 in the runaway. Natasha Kohli led the Stars, who were without Jared Oliver for this one, with 8 points. Zoe Debenning had a standout day on the glass, grabbing 12 rebounds, and Tyle Xie played well overall.

— In the Rookie League, three teams moved to a tie for the top spot after two games, including the Meerkats who did get to 2-0 first topping the Hawks 10-8 in the close one.

Fourth quarter baskets from Cam Pariser and Owen Roberts were enough to offset the fourth and final one from the Hawks only scorer from the field, Leo Epstein. Epstein also led all rebounders for both teams with 11 in a solid all around game.

— The Splash kept pace immediately thereafter, hanging a 24-14 defeat on the Hoopstars, as Theo Haberli exploded with 14 winning points. Jarvis Wakefield had 8 rebounds and 5 steals, as his team had a 19-8 advantage in the latter category.

For those curious, the all-time record for scoring in a Rookie game is 21 by Dillon Rodarte for the 2012 Bears.

The Splash led virtually the entire way and pulled away as the game went on. Ryan Cohen led the Stars with 6 points and a good overall stat line. Monika Diaz played well.

— The third of the early season “Big Three” in the Rookie League are the Trojans, proud winners over the Vikings 20-11 to close out the Saturday three game set.

Noland Piippo and Theo Richards split 11 points in the win, which was never in doubt after a 10-2 first half.

Misha Lakhani was the only basket scorer (with two of them) for the Vikes.


From small to big we went, as the Majors took over for the next three.

In the first of the three, the Bearcats used a quick start and big finish to wash away the Tarheels, if only slightly, 42-35. A high-scoring first quarter left them ahead 13-8, but after three quarters the Heels had caught up, only to see the Cats scamper away thanks to a 16-8 fourth quarter run.

Estevan Rodriguez hit two three-pointers in each of the final two quarters for a total of 14 points and player of the game honors. Ian Villanueva hit another one in the big fourth quarter push and Nifty Tewodros had his in the first. Villanueva ended up with five points, same as three Cats including Bruno Bernacchi and Dom Kajota, who ALSO hit a fourth quarter trey.

Evan Daghighian and Ariadni Potamianos (13 rebounds) combined for 21 points for the Heels, who showed good consistency, scoring 8 or more points in every quarter but just falling short. The team still suffers without high-scoring Gabe Aframian who has not seen any game action to date.

— The Leopards toyed with the Fire in a 32-19 decision to the good for them. They blew open a close game at the half with back-to-back 11-point quarters in the second half while holding their esteemed opponent to just nine overall points in the same time frame; only two over the final 8 minutes.

Scoring 8 a piece were Dash Wasson, Jack Froom and Matt Golubitsky—more than enough to the deed.

Golubitsky also grabbed a dozen rebounds as his team won that battle as well, 32-18.  


— Well, truth be told, this reporter had the better part of the day off, but judging by the box score, this looks like it was a good one. The Mavericks stayed unbeaten with a tough 46-42 win over the Warriors. Scoring 21 points in the first quarter will usually win you a ball game, and in fact it did. But it wasn’t easy. In that frame, Griffinn Pine and Xailoh Hermosillo each hit two, three point shots on the way to double figure scoring for both.  

The ten-point lead the Mavs built up stayed intact through half time, but in the second half the Warriors chipped away gallantly. They won the third 14-10 to get to within six. Gaspar Antal was a man possessed, particularly in the third quarter, scoring 10 of his game high 18 in that 8-minute span alone, and finished with a 19/11 double double. Pine and Hermosillo each drilled another three pointer in the period or it might have been a different story we would write.

In the fourth, Pine did it again, without which it would have ended up a tie game. For his efforts, he hit four of them on the evening for 14 points all totaled, while Hermosillo had 11.

Not to be left out, Josh Kaplan chipped in with 8 points and 12 rebounds, plus 3 assists and 4 steals on a busy night for him. Cy Backen scored thrice from the field.

Sam Rubin was next best on the sheet for the Warriors, scoring 9 with 5 steals.

One good stat of note: the Mavs had assists on 9 of their team 17 baskets. That’s good team work!

On paper, it looked entertaining… wish I had been there to see it.


On Sunday, we did manage to get half of the schedule in before the day was unceremoniously halted.  All of those were Bantam games.

— In the opener, the Wolves were faster, more aggressive (22-3 advantage in steals), better shooting and moving, and tough on the fast break (they make their layups for the most part) in an easy 23-13 win over the Dragons, who were without one of their best in Kayra Sanar.

Grey Broderick led the winners with 8 points, followed by Kellen McDonough with 6. Finn Raih chipped in 4 and all three had good and busy stat lines. Alex Ma led the Dragons with two buckets.

The Wolves got up 12-3 after one quarter, and were satisfied to play the Dragons even the rest of the way.

— The Stars are certainly among the “teams to catch” in the Bantam Division from an early season perspective at least. This, after a no-nonsense 20-11 win over the Rockets. After staking the Rockets to a 6-4 lead after one quarter, they did not allow any further scoring for the rest of the game—a full 24 minutes! Meantime, Jace O’Brien and Ryan Schuster scored 13 points of their teams 14-point regulation total. Ryan Chambers did all of the damage with two, three point shots in the first quarter, but forced up a number of long bombs after that under some pressure to no avail. Saul Sene had 11 rebounds for the Rockets and Noah McLaurin played well.


— In a low-scoring affair, the Jaguars found a late spurt of points helpful in a 16-13 win over the Scorpions.

The Jags led 6-0 just before half time, but Ben Van Bilderbeek of the Scorpions hit a left elbow jumper and Isabella Van Bilderbeek made two free throws to trim the lead to just 2 points at the break.

Three minutes into the second half, Ben hit a stop and pop from the left wing to tie things up and it looked like we were in for a wild finish. Those, however, were the final regulation points the Scorpions could muster.

Max Lewis hit the game winner after a nifty crossover about ten feet out on the side of the lane with 30 seconds left in quarter number three to give the Jags an 8-6 lead.

In the fourth, they poured it on when Kaden Friedman hit a free throw line jumper less than a minute gone by in the period, the Archer Aguilar hit Luke Hill for his first league basket on an inbounds pass and the regulation final score of 12-6 had been achieved.

Atobek Nasimov, Cooper Kun and Ronin Hill all played well in the win, with Ben Van Bilderbeek giving the statistician writer’s cramps with 21 rebounds and 6 steals in defeat. The 21 rebounds are a top ten all time Bantam League mark.

— In the last game before the aforementioned closure, the Foxes had little trouble disposing of the Typhoon, 18-12, giving up only two points over the first three quarters before coasting in to the finish horn.

Rowan Booher hit a half-dozen points and Leo Mooney scored 4 with ten rebounds, 3 assists and five steals on a busy day. T.J. Turner grabbed 12 rebounds but did not hit a basket, a common malady among Bantam Leaguers.

Only three of the Typhoon could find the bottom of the net. Dagmawi Ayele and Parker Cappiccille split 20 rebounds, but this team, despite getting many good looks at the basket, apparently left their shooting shoes home for this one.


This week features a short schedule with a full slate of games on Saturday, followed by two makeup games Sunday before we take the Super Bowl Holiday off.

The biggest game of this coming weekend is on Saturday at 4:20 when the Rookie Trojans and Splash gather to see which is the better 2-0 team at this time.

Right after that, a decent Minor League tussle with the 3-0 Redhawks taking on the 2-1 Thunder.

Best of the Major games that morning looks like the first one at 10:30 between the 1-1 Bearcats and 2-0 Mavericks.

The Bantam League has the week off, BUT the Stars get to travel to Culver Middle School on Saturday at noon to take on an older team than they form Culver Palms YMCA.










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

— 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! But please do NOT coach your child from the sidelines. When you do it is likely they will be getting different instructions from their coach. Encourage them, but do not coach them.

— 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. Never, ever talk to them after games, other than to thank them, or tell them what a good job they did.

— 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 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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