The Hoop: The Official Newsletter of Santa Monica YMCA Youth Basketball, Volume 22, Issue 5






Clark Elliott of the Minor Redhawks takes aim at a game winning free throw

With more than a month gone in the 2018 Winter Youth basketball league at the Santa Monica YMCA, the league championship pictures are starting to come into focus, albeit with more than half a season still before us. Several teams have yet to feel the sting of defeat, while others still thirst for their first victory. Normally, in these respects, patience is a definite virtue, but time is of the essence and there’s no time like the present to scratch and claw one’s way to the top.

In this past weekend’s action we played a full set of 8 games on Saturday, then just two makeup games on Sunday before the annual Super Bowl break.

First on the court on Saturday morning, replacing the elder set that plays from sunup until we take over, the Mavericks were first to get to 3-0 in the Major League, posting a 42-32 win over the Bearcats, who hung around gamely into the early fourth quarter.

Right around the time that Cy Backen put home a left wing shot to up the Mavs lead to 28-23, the Bearcats went cold. Timosha Moncher pushed them further into the hole with a deep corner three ball from Michael Hanasab heading into the sub break and the rout was on.

Moncher was high-point man for the winners with 9, followed by 8 from Hanasab and 7 from Griffinn Pine. Josh Kaplan pulled down 11 rebounds in his only half of work before departing for another assignment. Moncher missed a triple double by a point and a steal, but did have 10 rebounds.

Estevan Rodriguez did his best to keep the Cats around, drilling four, three point shots at various points in the game for a game-high total of 14 points.

Elliott’s team mates mob him after putting it in.

The Mavericks held a 17-6 win in steals, which went a long way towards victory.

— The Warriors played consistent ball over the final three quarters in outdistancing the Fire for their first win of the season, 39-32. Any time a team can score in double figures in an 8-minute running time quarter, it goes a long way towards wining a game, and the Warriors did it three times in this one.

Gaspar Antal has finally figured out the Major League game, and for the second straight week, played a dominant role, scoring 12 and grabbing 17 rebounds along with 7 steals. Long-time league analysts had been waiting for this sort of play from the big guy, and their patience and his hard work have paid off.

Eli Eng and Sam Rubin each played quality, supporting roles.  

With Antal out for a few minutes towards the end of the third quarter after having been poked in the eye during a scuffle for a loose ball, the Fire closed a larger gap down to just 4 points after Madden Vestman first found Keenan Byrant for a bucket, then scored one himself after a steal and assist from Gian Luca Tosonotti. Tosonotti’s layup brought the Fire to within two at 32-30, but Connor Sullivan scored once and Rubin twice to put it away.

Gian Luca had 11 rebounds and Quest Miller 12 for the Fire, while Tosonoti and Kayvon Abadi each scored 6 points.

— Mark it down: Saturday, February 24 at 5:30 p.m. That’s the place to be to see the first meeting (of a possible three) between the two current Major League leaders the Leopards and Mavericks.

The Leopards were most impressive in their 46-33 thumping of the Tarheels last weekend. They, too, scored in double figures in three of the four quarters, including a 16-6 first quarter blitz that set the tone in this one.

Dash Wasson had 8 of the game’s first 12 points wherein the Leopards led 12-0 at the outset. He went on to post a total of 12 with 9 rebounds and 4 steals. Sebastian Ramirez continues to adapt to his first season at the Y, scoring 8 points, same total as mate Matt Golubitsky.

Evan Daghighian had a 13-point outburst for the Heels, ALL of them in the final quarter.  Tommy Sorady added 8. The Heels continue to suffer the loss of the Aframian brothers, who signed up but have yet to be heard from this season at practice or in games.


In the Rookie league games on Saturday:

— The Hoopstars handed the Meerkats their first loss of the season through three games, 15-14. Monika Diaz scored the game’s only second half basket for either team, and that turned out to be the game winner. She and Lucas Kim led the winners with 4 points each; Diaz had 8 rebounds. Cam Pariser had the same point total for the Kats, and Gideon Hittner made a bucket for the first time ever in a game. Both teams are now 2-1.

Diaz hit two free-throws at halftime after having been fouled in the act of shooting, and that, as much as anything else, led to the win.

— Leo Epstein’s post-game free-throw lifted the Hawks to a 7-6 win over the Dolphins and to their first win in three tries this season. Epstein scored 5 points on the day while Koa Entsminger dropped in a huge fourth quarter basket to tie the score. It was really a garbage basket… Entsminger was just hanging around the back side of a missed shot by Epstein and followed it back in with 2:10 left in the game to set up the heroic finish. Epstein also contributed 8 rebounds and 7 steals.

Alexa Zelenovic, Lucas Rogers and Miles Franklin all dropped in single buckets for the Fish, for all three their first baskets this season.


— The Splash got to 3-0 despite being shut out in the fourth quarter of a close 21-18 win over the Trojans in a battle of undefeateds.

Right off of the opening jump ball, it was apparent that the Trojans would have trouble guarding Theo Haberli of the Splash, who drilled a three pointer just seconds into the game, a very unusual three for a Rookie Leaguer at any time.

He scored 7 of his team’s 9 in the first and 11 of the 15 regulation points overall, prompting a breathless Trojans coach Paul Drew to exclaim, “How do you guard that guy?”

Harlan Mansfield added the Splash’ other four points.

Noland Piippo cut the lead down to 3-2 but Haberli made a driving layup with three minutes to go in the opening period to up the lead to 5-2 and we were off to the races as far as the Splash were concerned.

The Trojans made a nice late rally with 6 in the fourth period and had a chance to win the game afterwards but missed all 6 post-game free-throws they had built up.

Piippo and Bella Kariger each scored 3, half as many as Theo Richards for the Trojans.

— On Sunday, in front of a very sizable Sunday morning crowd of 38, and in a makeup game from the week before, the Bulls finally played their second game of the season, and with it got their first win, 7-6 in regulation time over the Vikings (0-3), as Henry Brown hit a game-winning free-throw once time had expired.  

He, Michael Mikhail and Georgia Rolph scored baskets in the win. Misha Lakhani, Miles Boelke (8 rebounds) and Jenson Montague did the same for the Vikes.


There were three Minor League games played on the split weekend. In the first the Redhawks looked like they were going down to defeat for the first time in four games, but that look was quite deceiving.

Down 14-7 they began a comeback with back-to-back Miles Aguilar baskets taking us to a three point game with a minute to go in the third quarter. Clark Elliott knocked down a three pointer out of the fourth quarter sub break to give the Thunder the lead, and their last points of regulation time, 17-14. Aguilar finished off a rebound of his own blocked shot a moment later and that’s how it stood when the final buzzer went off: 17-16 Thunder.

Guy Sikora and Adi Petros each hit one of their two free throws to up that advantage to three.

Joe Farzam, who does not generally shoot the ball much, was fouled on his one third quarter attempt, and bounced in BOTH free throws to make it a one point game and give Elliott a chance to win it by making two of his five shots, including one on which he was fouled trying a top of the key three pointer late in the game. He made three, so that turned out to be the difference. And just like that, the Redhawks stand alone as the only

4-0 team in the four divisions.

Elliott wound up as high-point man with 11, same as Dalton White of the Thunder, who hit on a pair of threes in the first quarter and three of them overall in the game. Aguilar had a solid overall game as did Petros. Jahrid Longsworth grabbed 16 rebounds, but his shooting was apparently bothered by a sore wrist for the Thunder. Sherwin Shahrabi had 11 boards for the Hawks, who were down two key players, as were the Thunder. Sikora scored 5.

— Despite being dominated on the boards, 53-39, the Hornets held off a cold shooting Rhinos team 29-26 in the late Saturday game.

The Hornets had a lead of 18-14 when, on a nice inbounds pass after a timeout from Keean Stoll to Dean Phelan, he laid it in to make it 18-16.

Moments later Eric Papazian followed in his own missed shot to push the lead right back to 4.

Gorden McLean (6 points/10 rebounds) then dropped in a shot that hung on the rim until it finally… dropped in to make it 22-16 with 5:20 to go in the game.

Aayan Lakhani then wowed the crowd and officials with a beautiful 15-foot skip pass down the center of the lane to a waiting Mclean who scored on a reverse layup to make it 24-16.

The Rhinos had plenty of chances but they just couldn’t find the bottom of the net when it mattered.  

Lakhani also scored 6 for the win, while both Papazian and Abel Antal (5 points) had ten rebounds.

Stoll led the horned ones with 7 points, 15 boards and 8 steals in a stellar effort.  Phelan led all scorers in the game for both teams with 9 and Amir Jahromi grabbed 14 rebounds.  Alejandro Poza scored 6.

— In Sunday’s makeup game of a week earlier, the Hornets completed a very productive weekend with a 41-33 win over the Rush, and with the win moved to within a game of first place in the Minor League.

After the teams battled to an 8-8 draw through one quarter, the Hornets kept hitting and the Rush did not, and the rout was on by half time. McLean had another fine game scoring 11 with 8 rebounds and 7 steals, and was aided by a pair of nine point games, each coming from Papazian and Antal. The Hornets held a 22-10 advantage in steals for the game.

Sasha Yansen had another fine game for the Rush, scoring a dozen to go with 9 rebounds and 5 steals as he makes his play to be elevated to the Majors this Spring.

Nehemiah Misfen added 8 and Jacob Burrows had three long shots for a total of 6 points.  


This week marks the first of two picture days. On Sunday, the Majors and Minors will all take team and individual pictures. Please know when you are expected to be on hand for your team and large group photos.

As far as best games to see are concerned, on Saturday at 4:20 try the Bantam League affair featuring the 1-0-2 Wolves vs the 2-1 Foxes.

On Sunday morning, the top two Rookie teams the Splash (3-0) and Meerkats (2-1) go head to head at 10:30.

At 3:10 the 2-1 Minor League Zips tangle with the 3-1 Hornets.


Registration continues for Spring League basketball at the Y, and as of this writing, we have over 80 out of a possible 300 signed up.  









— 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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