All-City Football Team fills the room at Harry’s

The size of the crowd was larger than usual at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, and not just in numbers.

Twenty-four high school football players were in attendance to be recognized as members of the Presidio Sports All-City Football Team. Each player was introduced and received a certificate and a packet of Probound workout recovery fuel.

Westmont men’s basketball coach John Moore quipped that being in the Ranchero Room with all the muscular football players made him feel wimpy.

Carpinteria senior quarterback Ian Craddock was named the Offensive Player of the Year and the Defensive Player of the Year award went to Bishop Diego senior linebacker Christian Pearson.

Coaches nominated players and the staff at Presidio Sports selected the team.

Here is the rest of the luncheon report.

BOYS BASKETBALL

After it was reported in the media that the San Marcos basketball team struggled against Dos Pueblos’ zone defense in a 41-39 loss, Royals coach Dave Odell said he was inundated with offers of help.

“I had at least 10 text messages and five voice mails from people willing to help me on how to break a zone,” said Odell. “I’ve been getting some consulting and we did a better job against the zone against Ventura.” The Royals pulled out a 48-45 win in that game.

Now comes a showdown with league unbeaten Santa Barbara in the Thunderdome on Wednesday.

Santa Barbara assistant Joe Bregante reminded fans to get there early as he expects the game to sell out. “It’s going to be a crazy environment at San Marcos,” he said.

Bregante introduced Noah Burke and Eli Hale. They are two big reasons the Dons are 13-2 and 3-0 in Channel League. He said Burke “does everything for us” and Hale “is a ridiculous athlete who is a big part of our success.”

Dos Pueblos is turning the corner thanks to the play of Derek “Moose” Abbott and Jayson Williams. They played key roles in the Chargers’ stunning 41-39 win over San Marcos. Abbott, who grabbed nine rebounds in the game, tossed the ball to Williams, who raced down the court and scored on a layup at the buzzer.

“He’s really stepping up,” coach Joe Zamora said of the sophomore Wiliams. “He’s matured in the last couple of games. He wants the ball in his hands.”

Bishop Diego Athletic Director Dan Peeters reported that the Cardinals are 10-4. Peeters noted that Thomas Lash leads the team in rebounds and assists; Christian Pearson is the team’s defensive stopper and BJ Murillo has earned a starting spot because of his defensive prowess. Bishop has two big league home games this week against St. Bonaventure and Oak Park.

Sal Rodriguez of Laguna Blanca surprised a parent when he showed up at the luncheon.

“I walked in the door and I met a parent out there and he said, ‘Sal Rodriguez, you’re still around? You worked with my kid and he’s 48 years old.’”

Rodriguez responded: “I’m still here. Thanks, anyway.”

Rodriguez said his Owls went through a tough preseason but the experience playing against bigger schools should better prepare them for the Condor League. He introduced shooter Spenser Wyatt and key reserve Pierce O’Donnell.

UCSB BASKETBALL

Assistant David Campbell said the team watched film of its loss to Cal Poly to try and figure out what went wrong. “All you need to do is look at the stat sheet and see they made 11 of 18 3-pointers and we made 2 of 17, which is uncharacteristic for us,” he said. “We can’t hang our heads at all because we have Long Beach State on Thursday.”

Campbell promised the team will shoot better.

The game is on ESPNU at 8 p.m.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

It’s been so long that Santa Barbara has played a game that assistant coach Jess Martinez said the team started playing “Duck, duck goose” to get over the monotony of practice. The Dons, who last played on Dec. 28, will make their 2014 debut on Tuesday at home against Dos Pueblos in a Channel League opener.

The Dons will take a 14-2 record and a CIF-SS  No. 1 division ranking into the game.

Martinez introduced players Alejandra Mejia, Kimberly Gebhardt and Jocelin Petatan.

Bishop Diego coach Jeff Burich said Hannah Rogers provides a strong presence in the post. She is the second leading scorer and rebounder. Deja Goodwin has a lot of basketball savvy she picked up from her grandfather Ernie Quiroz, a longtime basketball coach who is at Providence. “She comes in polished and picks up the offense really well,” said Burich, whose team is 9-5 and 2-0 in league.

San Marcos coach Kelly Uyesaka introduced Hope Morrison and Leigh Edwards as two key players on his squad.

GIRLS WATER POLO

Santa Barbara’s Mark Walsh said the Dons are ranked sixth in Division 1. He introduced Erin McGeoy as a player whose job is to neutralized the other team’s best player. Jessica Gaffney, a three-year starter, “is the motor on the team,”  he said. “She does a ton for us.”

The Dons will host their 15th annual Tournament of Champions on Friday and Saturday.

Chuckie Roth of San Marcos said he calls Kelsey Gellert “Rudy” because of the hard work she puts in at every practice. “I mean it as the utmost compliment,” Roth said of nickname. He noted that Gellert scored a goal to give her team a big lift in a win over Dos Pueblos.

He also brought standout Halie Johnson, a returning All-CIF player. She scored two goals in the win over Dos Pueblos.

Roth said the team trained a lot during the winter break. “I told them we need to get four goals better, somehow, some way, either on defense or offense.  We made a pact to work on that and the players have bought into it.”

Carpinteria coach Bryan Swarm said this is a rebuilding year for his team but added: “With that being said, we’re in good hands with our younger players. He introduced team captain and three-year starter Leticia Cruz and leading goal scorer Sarah Garibay.

WRESTLING

Doug Caines, speaking on Santa Barbara wrestling, brought Canyon Gutierrez, one of the bright spots on a young  Dons team. He is 7-3 on the season.

DP’s Zamora introduced Channel League champion Cameron Cox and Eden Martinez. Cox is 22-4, wrestling at 126 and 132 pounds. He has two tournament titles this season. Martinez, at 153, is 17-2 with three titles.

WESTMONT BASKETBALL

Women’s coach Kirsten Moore is happy in the improvement of her team.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever had a team improve as much as we’ve improved from our first game to the point where we’re at right now,” she said.

The Warriors are 9-4 going into their GSAC opener at Biola.

“The challenge going into conference is if we can play consistent at a high level every night,” said Moore.

Men’s coach John Moore had the whole room doing the chant: “Beat Biola, beat, beat Biola.”

The Warriors (11-3) play at their arch-rival on Tuesday in the GSAC opener.

After finishing 12th in the NAIA, Moore said his Warriors are the only team from the top 15 last season that is not ranked in the current national poll.

That should motivate them.

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