There were two firsts on Sunday for the UCSB women’s basketball team. One is more important, and the other is more impressive.
The important one is that the Gauchos got their first win of the season, a 63-54 home decision over Northern Colorado, to improve to 1-4 on the season. The impressive one is that center Mekia Valentine recorded the program’s first-ever triple-double by posting 15 points, 12 rebounds and 10 blocks. She earned Female Athlete of the Week honors for her efforts.
“She was playing out of her mind,” said assistant coach Jaida Williams in front of a rather sparse post-Thanksgiving crowd at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Luncheon.
While it was a small crowd, Westmont men’s hoops coach John Moore pointed out that the group consisted of some vital members of the educational community. It was Principal’s Day, and attending the luncheon were principals Norm Clevenger (San Marcos), Shawn Carey (Dos Pueblos), Dr. Mark Capritto (SBHS) and Laguna Blanca Headmaster Paul Slocombe.
“There’s no greater, more thankless task than being a principal at a high school,” said Moore.
WESTMONT WOMEN’S BASKETBALL: The unbeaten Warriors’ most recent win was against a ranked opponent, as they defeated No. 14 Trevecca Nazarene 76-60. They’ll wait until next Tuesday to play next, and it’s a big one as Westmont will travel to La Mirada to open GSAC play against archrival Biola, ranked 13th in the country.
“They went to the national tournament last year and only graduated one player from their team, and it wasn’t necessarily one of their best players,” said coach Kirsten Moore.
After that, it will be another stiff challenge in a home game against Point Loma Nazarene.
WESTMONT MEN’S BASKETBALL: John Moore did what he does at every luncheon before the Biola game, which is to lead the crowd in the traditional “Beat — Biola, Beat – Beat — Biola” chant.
The Warrior men, like the women, are off to a great start at 4-1 heading into conference play..
SAN MARCOS BOYS BASKETBALL: The defending Channel League champs are still awaiting their first regular-season game, but the wait will end with a home showdown against Oak Park at 7 p.m. Tuesday.
“This year we’re going to be a more talented team offensively. We’ve got more players that can shoot the ball from long range,” said coach Jarrod Bradley.
The Royals lost their alumni game by three points last week, facing a squad of graduates which featured 10 former all-league players.
Bradley introduced versatile forward Spencer Johnson, whom he described as “Lamar Odom-esque,” as well as starting point guard Donny Nahmias.
DOS PUEBLOS BOYS BASKETBALL: This year, head coach Joe Zamora will be unable to speak at the luncheons due to a new teaching job at Santa Barbara Junior High. So his brother and assistant coach, Jeff, will take the podium on Mondays. Jeff described himself as the “younger, bigger, more handsome brother,” before introducing a pair of three-year lettermen — Jay Larinan and Pablo Miranda.
The Chargers have a loaded non-league schedule ahead, including a visit from perennial powerhouse Mater Dei. DP opens up at the Simi Valley Tournament on Tuesday.
BISHOP DIEGO GIRLS BASKETBALL: Coach Jeff Burich returns seven players to his squad this year, although there are just eight players total. Six are seniors, including luncheon attendees Sonia Arreola and Karina Valencia, while the other two are sophomores.
Burich picked Arreola and Valencia to attend because of their tremendous work ethic in practice. The Cardinals will play L.A. Baptist, a team that they have struggled against in recent years, on Wednesday at the Fillmore Tournament.