The Santa Barbara High girls basketball team didn’t feel left out in the cold when they played in a gym without heat last week in Lompoc. They felt right at home.
Dons coach Andrew Butcher, speaking at the Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Café, said when his team arrived to play in the Lompoc Tournament last Thursday the Lompoc coach came up to him and said the gym’s heater broke so there would be no heat in the building.
The news didn’t bother Butcher or the Dons one bit. They routed their three opponents to win the tournament title.
“I said this is the greatest thing because we never have heat,” said Butcher, drawing laughs from the audience. “This is just like our Saturday morning practice. This is the greatest thing ever. The other teams are shivering and we’re like: ‘This is what it’s like all the time.’ So we just went out and played really well.”
Butcher brought team members Amber Melgoza, who was named the SBART Athlete of the Week, Diana Escobar, Wendy Hernandez and Jada Howard.
The coach announced that his annual Tournament of Champions is Dec. 18-21. The elite field includes CIF-Southern Section powers Rosary, Sierra Canyon, San Clemente, Orange Lutheran, Harvard Westlake, Edison and Buena.
“It’s a very good tournament,” Butcher said. “It’ll be fun and it will be a challenge.”
Bishop Diego girls basketball coach Jeff Burich lost his five starters from last season to graduation, but this year’s team worked hard in the summer and is off to a good start.
Two reasons why Burich is excited about the season are three-year varsity players Jordyn Lilly and Colleen Duley. He said Lilly has made the transition from a post player to point guard and Duley has developed post skills and improved defensively.
“These players are the reason why coaches coach,” he said.
Bishop and Carpinteria will co-host a tournament Wednesday through Saturday. The round-robin event includes Cate, Providence, Santa Clara and Cabrillo.
Kelly Uyesaka made his luncheon debut as first-year coach of the San Marcos girls basketball team. He introduced Taylor Escobar and Maria Herrera as leaders and the most coachable players he’s had in his seven years as a coach.
The Royals will co-host the annual Gold Coast Classic beginning on Wednesday.
UCSB women’s assistant Heather Zurich said once the team finishes final exams to maintain its 3.0 GPA, it travels to Kansas State to play against coach Carlene Mitchell’s alma mater on Sunday.
“It would be nice to get a good road win in Manhattan, Kansas, where it’s 18 degrees,” she said.
Santa Barbara assistant Andy Gil said he was pleased with the progress of the team after going 3-1 at the Simi Valley Tournament last weekend. The Dons’ only loss was in the final against Sierra Canyon, which is ranked among the top 25 teams in Southern California and includes some of the best freshman and sophomore players in the country.
Gil introduced David Trujillo, who guarded one of Sierra Canyon’s top big guys, 6-7 Ira Lee, and held him to 12 points. He also brought shooting guard Isaiah Tapia, who has extended his shooting range and is knocking down the shots. Tapia made the all-tournament team at Simi Valley.
The Dons open Channel League play next Monday against Dos Pueblos.
Dos Pueblos boys basketball coach Joe Zamora brought his co-captains, Dayne Gardiner and Brandon Burkhardt. He said Gardiner is a long, athletic guard who plays with great intensity. On Burkhardt, the coach said he’s developed leadership skills and has a high basketball IQ.
Zamora added that he attending Sunday’s Lakers-Toronto Raptors game at Staples Center and enjoyed watching DP alum Julyan Stone play for the Raptors. In the game, Stone beat the Lakers’ Nick Young with a cross-over move and dunked.
San Marcos coach Macie Berlin brought two integral players on squad, Libby Brymer and Katilyn Saperstein.
“Libby has one of strongest strikes in soccer and you do not want to get your hand out to block it,” the coach said. “Kaitlyn, I truly believe, is one of the toughest players to defend in a 1v1 situation. Together, the two of them are leading our varsity team.”
First-year Dos Pueblos coach Hugh Hollis made his luncheon debut. He said he’s implementing a new style of play and the players are adapting to it after two matches — a 1-1 tie against Moorpark and a 2-0 shutout win against Cabrillo.
Hollis introduced central defender Emily Erwin and midfielder Shelby Hoffman as key players on the squad. He also mentioned freshman Kira Pickett, who has played in the U.S. National Team Program.
“We’re looking for a pretty exciting year,” said Hollis.
The Carpinteria girls are off to 1-0-1 start, thanks to solid play from defender Allea Griffin and midfielder Lucero Reyes. Coach Lucy Carleton said Griffin is a tenacious defender and Lucero has the best footwork on the squad. “The ball just sticks to her foot no matter what she does,” she said.
Santa Barbara High coach Jeff Johnson brought three players who’ve been key to the team’s 3-0-1 start: Danielle Smith, Bailey Wolf and Hannah Brisby.
He said Smith is a great story of perseverance. She’s playing again after suffering a compound leg fracture two years ago and a torn ACL last year. “The challenges she had to deal with is amazing,” he said.
Johnson reported that Smith signed a letter of intent with Western Illinois. She leads the Dons with five goals and two assists.
He called Brisby “a fantastic little player and a great server of the ball.” She has eight assists and two goals. “Every time we score a goal, she has something to do with it,” he said.
Johnson called Wolf his “midfield wizard. She is so instrumental in everything we do in the midfield.” Bailey is the daughter of Westmont men’s soccer coach Dave Wolf.
Johnson, a former UCSB player and a native of Texas, is in his third year at the helm at Santa Barbara. Last season he guided the team to the Channel League title.
He’s enjoying this year’s squad.
“Working with these girls is like listening to Willie Nelson on a Sunday afternoon … if you like Willie Nelson,” he said. “It’s been very enjoyable.”
FUNDRAISER FOR PREP GOLF
SBART board member Ken Newendorp said the Athletic Round Table and Glen Annie Golf Course collaborated on a fundraising effort to support the local high school golf programs.
Rich Nahas, general manager at Glen Annie, said a raffle brought in $3,519.
The raffle winner of a full set of TaylorMade golf clubs and a bag was Paul Craig of Santa Barbara.
SEE YOU NEXT YEAR
This was the final SBART press luncheon of 2013. The event will resume on Jan, 6, 2014.