By BLAKE DORFMAN, PRESIDIOSPORTS.COM
Is it really 2010?
That question’s made some people feel like time is flying by, and Carpinteria boys basketball coach John Ward felt the twinge of age at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table luncheon.
“I’ve realized that this is the fifth decade of coming to the Round Table for me,” he said.
Ward is still years away from a senior discount, but the fact that he started attending the luncheons in the 70s means that he has indeed been coming to them for parts of five decades.
The more important numbers, however, are the ones being put up by his team’s two star players, Kevin Lusterio and Manny Rodriguez. Rodriguez, a post player, is averaging a whopping 24 points and 15 rebounds per game, while point guard Lusterio has been good for 19 points and eight assists per contest.
Balance hasn’t been a strength, however, as the third player on the scoring list is averaging less than four points. Regardless, the Warriors are 8-4 with one more non-league game on the schedule before beginning the path through the power-packed Tri-Valley League.
“Nobody expected us to be at 8-4 right now… We’re happy with it,” said Ward.
WOMEN IN SPORTS LUNCHEON: One of the Round Table’s biggest events, the Women in Sports Luncheon, is set for February 1st at 11:30 a.m. at Earl Warren Showgrounds. Over 500 female athletes from local high school and college teams are expected to attend, and this year’s featured speaker is Christa Gannon.
Gannon was an all-Big West player for the UCSB women’s basketball team in the early-90s, and went on to graduate at the top of her class from Stanford Law School. Instead of taking the big bucks that such achievement all but guarantees, she started Fresh Lifelines for Youth, which is an alternative to incarceration for troubled teens.
Community West Bank will sponsor the event for the fourth straight year, and CEO Lynda Nahra said that even though bank budgets have been shrinking, the bank has stayed committed to making the event a success.
“It’s such an easy choice to sponsor this event… This affects so many kids’ lives,” she said.
Carol Sauceda of UCSB also announced that Gannon will be speaking that evening out at UCSB’s Kerr Hall at 7 p.m. that evening.
SAN MARCOS: The Royals are off to a 12-3 start despite a greuling preseason schedule. They went 3-1 in the Santa Barbara Holiday Classic, including a 72-61 win over Agoura after having five days off from practice. They haven’t scored more than 60 since then.
“I don’t know if that means we shouldn’t have practice or what,” joked coach Jarrod Bradley.
He brought along Bennie Kirkwood, who is shooting 76-percent from the field, as well as sophomore Thayer White. White, a golfer, leads the Royals in assists, is third in rebounds and fourth in scoring. Unlike Ward’s Warriors, San Marcos’ top scorer is averaging 9.8 points while the fourth leading-scorer is at seven points per game.
The Royals play Santa Barbara at SBCC on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.
SANTA BARBARA: The Dons picked up their first win of the season in the Holiday Classic, and now head into a rivalry week with the Royals on Tuesday and Dos Pueblos on Friday.
They’ll be the underdogs in both contests, and will need solid performances out of the two players which coach Chris Hantgin brought along. Junior guard Kyle Aronson carries the responsibility of shutting down the opposition’s best shooter, while Enrique Madrigal’s ability to play inside and outside will come in handy.
Hantgin called them the “foundation of the program,” and said that his team is ready to turn the corner.
DOS PUEBLOS: Seth Pottenger is a shining example of resiliency. The senior forward didn’t make the team one year, but worked hard in the offseason and showed the Charger coaches he was worthy. He’s now one of the better rebounders on the team, which is 7-8.
Coach Joe Zamora also introduced Cameron Nelson, a senior guard who is the team’s No.2 defensive stopper. The Chargers got to play against one of the nation’s top teams, Mater Dei, over the break and ended up staying with the Monarchs’ families before taking a trip to Disneyland. DP will host Mater Dei in similar fashion next year.
LAGUNA BLANCA: The Owls are 2-7 heading into Condor League play, and will host a juggernaut on Friday in conference-foe Besant Hill. The Coyotes have players that are 6-7, 6-5 and 6-3 while the Owls’ tallest player is 6-1 luncheon attendee Justin Shand. The coach joked that he plans to double-team the two tallest Coyote players and put one defender on the third.
“We’ll just the other two run around and see what happens,” he quipped.
Shand is the team’s leading rebounder, while sophomore Logan Elder recently had a breakout game with 16 points in a win over Grace Brethren. Rodriguez said he studied Ward’s offense at Carpinteria and implemented it five minutes before Laguna’s game against the Lancers.
SAN MARCOS: Coach Kristyn Miller called her team’s 10-8 start “better than I anticipated for this year.”
That’s because the Royals had just eight wins last year and have less talent this year, according to Miller. She introduced two of her five returners from last season. Lindsey Hyslop is the team’s top defender, while 5-8 post player Desiree Porter-Ray has anchored the Royals down low.
San Marcos plays Santa Barbara at 5 p.m. at the Sports Pavilion on Tuesday, right before the boys game.
DOS PUEBLOS: Coach Zamora read a note on behalf of girls coach Maynard Pilapil, who was unable to attend. DP is on a 3-game win streak and is 9-8, carrying a roster of just seven sophomores.
“Playing time is definitely not an issue,” wrote Pilapil.
CARPINTERIA: The Warriors are 7-4 and playing their best basketball of the season, according to coach Dan Mercer. They recently finished third out of 12 teams in the Valley Christian Tournament.
Along with Mercer at Harry’s were 5-10 post player Jenny Leonard and Mirina DeLeon, a transfer from powerhouse Ventura. DeLeon’s older sister won a CIF title with the Cougars back in 2002.
“That’s something that’s in the back of our minds,” said a confident Mercer about the Warriors’ goals.
UCSB WOMEN: “The Gauchos are really glad it’s a new year,” announced assistant coach Jaida Williams.
That’s because after a 3-9 start, the Gauchos welcomed 2010 by opening Big West play with a win over UC Irvine in which Mekia Valentine set a school record with 11 blocks. The Gauchos play away at UC Davis and Pacific before coming back to face Long Beach State on January 14th.
WESTMONT: Both Warrior squads are nationally ranked heading into the new decade, and both finished up the final week of 2009 with three wins. The No. 14 women’s team is 10-1 overall and 3-0 in the Golden State Athletic Conference. Three players — Alisha Heglund, Jessica Case and Amber Stevens — recently surpassed the 1,000-point mark.
The No. 21 men’s squad is 10-2 overall and 2-1 in the GSAC. Junior Dan Rasp is just one field goal shy of 1,000 career points. Out of the 11 players on the team, there have been nine different leading scorers. Also, the Warriors have had five players in double-figures in four consecutive games.
Sports Information Director Ron Smith also announced that the school’s new baseball field was set to open Monday afternoon, and that all Warrior games are broadcast live via streaming video on the web at www.westmont.edu/athletics. He also introduced broadcaster (and PresidioSports.com intern) Kevin Kihlstrom.
SBCC: The SBCC men are 4-10, having lost their final two games by a total of three points at the Hancock Tournament. Sophomore David Lane continues to lead the Vaqueros in scoring.
On the women’s side, Francesca DeAngelis leads not only the team but the entire Western State Conference in scoring. She recently put up a career-high 34 points in a win over Mt. San Jacinto. The Vaquero women are 8-9 and recently took fourth in the Antelope Valley Tournament.
Both SBCC teams open up WSC North play at the Sports Pavilion this Wednesday.
DOS PUEBLOS: After collecting six wins all of last season and two the year before that, Dos Pueblos is already 6-3-4 under Tovi Eliasen in his first year as head coach. The Chargers went 3-1 in the Buena Tournament last week, including two shootout wins in which they never failed to convert a goal.
Eliasen introduced Branden Tangel, a football player who has also proven to be the team’s best defender, and leading goal-scorer Rodrigo Perez. Only three players have started every game thus far for DP, and Tangel and Perez are two of them. Perez scored two goals in the final 15 minutes against Pacifica to tie the game, which was eventually won in the shootout.