By BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
Kirsten Moore stepped out from behind the podium to do a little modeling of her pink pants at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon.
Kind of an odd venue to show off pants, but it all came together when she explained why she was wearing them. Legendary women’s hoops coach Kay Yow passed away Saturday after a courageous 23-year battle with breast cancer, and Moore was wearing the color in support of raising breast cancer awareness.
On February 13, the Women’s Basketball Coaches Association’s “Pink Zone” initiative will begin, in which pink will be on display all over the sport for the cause. Moore was just getting an early start, which is always a good thing.
The coach threw out some mind-boggling statistics about the disease, saying that every three seconds an American woman is diagnosed and every 13 seconds one passes away.
Yow won over 700 games over more than three decades at North Carolina State, and also coached the U.S. women’s basketball team to a gold medal in Seoul in 1988.
Moore’s team is coming off of a loss, but it happened to come against Vanguard, the No. 2 ranked team in the country. The Warriors had a lead at one point in the second half, but ended up losing by eight points, 75-83. Alisha Heglund had 22 points in the game.
“We played without any fear and we played believing that we could win the game,” said Moore, whose team returns home Tuesday against Azusa Pacific.
The other Coach Moore at Westmont, John, was in the midst of a tough stretch with his Warriors men’s team last week. But he was tickled pink, as were many Americans, on Tuesday while watching the inauguration of President Obama. He called it one of the greatest moments of his life.
“No matter what political association you have, it was a great day. It was a great day in America to see Obama up there breaking all the barriers that we have created for African Americans,” said Moore.
The Warrior men went from an eight-game winning streak to a three-game losing streak until Saturday’s 71-54 win at Vanguard. Moore said that during the winning streak he thought the Warriors might not lose another game, and during the losing streak he wasn’t sure if they would win another.
“That’s how shaky the ground is that comes with coaching. That’s the emotion you go through and the barriers you have to break down,” he said. “The greatest thing we can do as coaches is to help people believe in themselves.”
Obama’s brother in law, Craig Robinson, will have a special player on his hands next year in Roberto Nelson, who is this week’s male Athlete of the Week. The Santa Barbara High senior scored 19 points — seven in the fourth quarter — and grabbed six rebounds in the Dons’ 56-47 win of rival San Marcos. The game was played in front of a huge crowd of dueling student sections at the SBCC Sports Pavilion.
Tarrik Khalil also got some quality minutes for the Dons and nailed a 3-pointer in the process. The senior was ineligible up until January due to residential reasons — he grew up in town but spent the first three years of high school in Texas — but an appeal worked and coach Chris Hantgin is happy to have the hard-working guard back on the court.
The Dons play at Dos Pueblos in another big game on Wednesday, and Hantgin joked about how Sovine Gym is not so friendly to visiting teams sometimes.
“It’s gonna be yellow and it’s gonna be dusty. I don’t know what they do with their floor but they don’t use water. It’s like a skating rink,” he said. “And they’re big and physical and tough. It’s going to be a great atmosphere.”
Female Athlete of the Week Jeannette Mendoza of San Marcos almost made her way into the record books in Saturday’s 58-56 win at Camarillo, scoring 31 points. The school record is 32, set back in 1995.
“The first thing she did she looked at her teammates and said ‘that’s all you guys’,” said coach Kristyn Miller. “It’s a testament to her character.”
Mendoza is averaging 14 points and eight rebounds per game.
Senior Kalley Ridgway recently returned to the team having recovered from a herniated disc and has made an immediate impact. She’s 5-foot-9 but can play point guard, and she’s averaging seven points and eight rebounds per contest.
The Royals have an incredibly tough week ahead with Ventura on Tuesday, Buena on Thursday and Pacifica on Saturday. Tuesday’s game will be broadcast live on PresidioSports.com.
Miller also pinch-hit for boys coach Jarrod Bradley, whose team went 1-1 on the week, losing to the Dons but beating Nordhoff at home. Nick Marquez led the way with 28 points against the Rangers and had a team-high 18 against the Dons. Point guard Bryant Koopmans was at Harry’s to represent the team, coming off of a career-high 17 points against Santa Barbara.
Sal Rodriguez’s Laguna Blanca boys team recently ended a sizable losing streak in fine fashion, beating rival Cate at home. Luther Tarver-Burks, a junior guard, poured in 27 points in the contest for the 5-9 Owls.Spencer Michaels dished out a key assist to Tarver-Burks that put the Owls up five points and sealed the win.
Laguna plays Dunn on Wednesday and Thacher on Friday.
Bishop Diego’s girls basketball team is also coming off of a rivalry win, beating Carpinteria 44-32 on Saturday. The squad consists of only eight players, making it tough when sickness strikes.
“I didn’t even know they made DayQuil in little strips, but some of the girls were taking those before the game,” said coach Jeff Burich, who was thankful that it was the Cardinals’ only game of the week.
Burich wen on to say that “it’s just a fun team to coach,” introducing emerging sophomore post player Allison Breuer, whose emergence down low has allowed Jennifer Jimenez to play the guard position. Jimenez scored 14 points to lead the way in the game against Carp.
Burich pinch-hit for boys coach Ray Vazquez, whose team has a big week ahead in trying to shake a 13-game losing streak. The Cardinals have winnable games on tap against Grace Brethren and Nordhoff, and will need solid play from senior AJ Fling to get over the hump. Cesar Del Campo, described as “a hard-worker and a good kid”, was also at the luncheon.
Carpinteria girls coach Dan Mercer brought along veteran leaders Caitlin Wallace and Amanda Burch, both juniors and outstanding students. Despite the loss, the Warriors are 12-7 overall and 3-2 in the Frontier League and have been led by Wallace and Burch all the way. Burich even said that in preparing for the big game, he talked with his players only about slowing down Burch and Wallace.
Mercer proposed a pact with Burich, with the terms being that both the Warriors and Cardinals beat Santa Clara to tighten up the race for the Frontier League title. We’ll find out if the pact goes through in a week or so.
Coach John Ward of the Carpinteria boys team discussed his team’s recent matchup against mighty Oaks Christian. The Warriors lost the game despite playing even with the Lions for 28 of the 32 minutes. The team is 13-7 overall and 2-3 heading into the second round of Tri-Valley League competition.
Ward brought along a pair of players whose names are just asking to be spelled wrong. Isacc Cervantesreturned from serious leg surgery during football season and is contributing plenty on the court. He doesn’t play as much as he’d like to, but Ward said he likes when that’s the case because it causes players to practice harder.
Also at the luncheon was Isaiah Chavez, who is a determined player on the court and in the classroom. He’s one of the most improved students in Ward’s math class, and has decided that he wantd to be the first member of his family to go to college. The Warriors don’t play until Friday, but that kicks of a stretch of four games in eight days.
Andrew Butcher’s Santa Barbara girls team is in the middle of a stretch in which it plays just one game a week, which he loves because it means more practice. He brought Ashley Gilmore, who on top of playing hoops is a tutor and participant in mock trial. She was the February Student of the Month at Santa Barbara High.
Her teammate, Michelle Crispin, was the November Student of the Month and is interested in fashion design. She also happens to be the team’s best athlete and best defender, according to her coach.
On the pool deck, the Santa Barbara girls water polo team is at 4-0 in the Channel League despite featuring no returners from last year’s team. Up next, however, is mighty Dos Pueblos.
“They’re No. 1 in our division, which basically means they’re No. 1 in the country. So we have that to look forward to,” said coach Mark Walsh dryly.
The coach brought a pair of sophomores who have yet to miss a practice. Camille Wissman is one of the fastest swimmers on the team, and she’s also never received a B on her report card (are we noticing a relationship between athletics and academics here?). Olivia Cusimano leads the team in drawn ejections and is also a strong cross-country runner and swimmer.
Coach Brian Roth’s San Marcos team is experiencing one of its best seasons, sitting at just a game under .500. Roth introduced Jade Fitzgerald, the team’s top-scorer who also carries a GPA over 4.0. Also present was Flo Chardon, who stars in three sports — volleyball, water polo and swimming.
—SCHOLAR ATHLETE AWARD: Carpinteria basketball and baseball player Nathan Saito is one of those kids with an unreal reasume.
He’s got a 4.4 GPA, plays the piano, volunteers at Cottage Hospital and is working on his Eagle Scout qualification. He wants to go to medical school eventually, and has applied to UCLA, Stanford and USC. As a two-time All-Frontier League first-teamer, he’s a good enough baseball player that he hopes to walk on at one of those schools if possible.
“He has a tremendous impact on his teammates,” said Ward. “He doesn’t have to lead vocally, because he leads by example.”