Fresh off the first CIF Championship in school history, Providence Hall’s girls basketball team attended Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.
Eleven players were introduced by Lions head coach Ernie Quiroz, including Female Athlete of the Week Olivia Barroca.
Barroca scored a team-high 16 points in Saturday’s championship game, a 49-46 victory over Rio Hondo Prep. With the Kares keying in on star player Sydney Hedges, Barroca stepped up to be the first player other than Hedges to lead the team in scoring during the playoffs.
“Olivia Barroca over there, has done a tremendous job for us. She’s the epitome of what we’re trying to do as coaches,” Quiroz said. “Someone who takes the moment, seizes the moment, and rises to the occasion.”
The Lions won a CIF title a year after losing in the championship game.
“What that shows me is that these girls have really matured as players and as individuals,” Quiroz said.
Providence Hall continues its season on Wednesday in the State Tournament. The Lions host AGBU of Canoga Park at 7 p.m. at Westmont College.
Santa Barbara High’s girls basketball team is also in the State Tournament and will travel to Hanford West for a 6 p.m. game on Wednesday. The Dons had a large contingent at the luncheon as team captain Ivette Gil was recognized as the school’s Scholar-Athlete of the Year.
Also there were head coach Andrew Butcher, assistants Jesse Martinez and Carolina Gonzalez, plus players Saralisa Ortega and Melissa Lemus.
Gil carries a 4.43 GPA in the classroom. She serves as the ASB President and She is also the Vice President of the Red Cross Club and the Unity Through Diversity Club.
Gil was the leading scorer in all of the Southern Section’s Division 3-AA CIF Tournament, averaging almost 24 points per game.
“Student-athlete, but student first. Amazing athlete, but student first,” said Dons head girls basketball coach Andrew Butcher. “As one of my assistant coaches says, a humble athlete – she does not think of herself as a star. If she has a weak point as an athlete it is because of her selflessness.”
Another special award, the Sportsperson of the Month, was received by David Palmer.
Palmer, who won a CIF Championship at Santa Barbara High and a State Championship at Ventura College, is a fixture in the local basketball community as the founder of the Vipers youth basketball program.
“He really is a life coach who uses basketball as his vehicle. He’s an incredible young man,” said presenter Dave Pintard, who thanked award sponsor Maho & Prentice Attorneys.
When the coaches reports rolled around, the crowd received updates on baseball, swimming and college basketball.
Many coaches began by congratulating the Providence Hall team – especially those that have experienced the thrill of winning a CIF title – knowing it’s a special life-long memory.
Chuckie Roth and Mark Walsh among them, brought swimmers who just started their spring season on Friday at the Channel League Relays.
Also just starting their seasons are the baseball teams from Dos Pueblos and San Marcos. The Chargers were represented by Male Athlete of the Week Gabe Speier and new head coach Nick Katzenstein, who started by acknowledging the local baseball coaches for developing young talent.
“I know that the players that I deal with right now had some great youth coaches coming up and it makes my job pretty easy,” Katzenstein said.
The Chargers are off to a 3-1 start. DP won their last game, in which Speier recorded 10 strikeouts in 7 2/3 innings, in nine innings 6-5.
The Westmont basketball teams are nearing the NAIA Tournament. The women’s team can finish off a perfect GSAC season and presumably earn a No. 1 seed in the national tournament with a win over Vanguard on Wednesday at Concordia College. That game will be televised on Fox College Sports channel.
Coming off a loss on Saturday in the GSAC Tournament semifinals, men’s coach John Moore was soothed by the presence of former player Santiago Aguirre, who also played at Santa Barbara High and was there to support Palmer.
“As soon as I walked in here, I knew that we were going to have a great national tournament,” Moore said, happy to see the old Warrior who’s currently playing professionaly in Mexico.
The NAIA Tournaments start in 10 days.
Next week’s luncheon will feature teams from softball, track & field, tennis and volleyball.
Providence Hall Girls Basketball Team
Ivette Gil, Santa Barbara Basketball
Olivia Barroca, Providence Hall Basketball
Gabe Speier, Dos Pueblos Baseball
Spencer Kemp, San Marcos Swimming
Kameron Bebb, San Marcos Swimming
Isaac Rodriguez, San Marcos Baseball
Paxton Ridgway, San Marcos Baseball
Grace Pizzinat, San Marcos Swimming
Maddie Kriz, San Marcos Swimming
Jessica Gaffney, Santa Barbara Swimming
Anna Brummett, Santa Barbara Swimming
Michael Van Wickle, Santa Barbara Swimming
Peter Loomis, Santa Barbara Swimming
Melissa Lemus, Santa Barbara Basketball
Saralisa Ortega, Santa Barbara Basketball