Royals can play with the big boys

San Marcos boys basketball coach Dave Odell knows in Channel League play his team won’t be facing the kind of height it was up against in the National Prep Classic.

The Royals played a Miami Beach team that had a 7-2 center and Lawndale squad that had two 6-10 players.

“The key stat is we got dunked on at least 13 times,” said Odell at Monday’s first Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon of 2014. His Royals team won two of four games at the tournament. “I think the tallest guy in our league is only 6-7, so I think we should be OK.”

Elijah Johnson, San Marcos boys basketball.

Elijah Johnson of San Marcos basketball is the male Athlete of the Week.

Odell said guard Elijah Johnson — the Athlete of the Week — had an outstanding tournament. “He showed up at the National Prep Classic and played great defense in addition to scoring a lot of points.”

The San Marcos coach introduced Lukas Ablingis and Tyson Miller as two key players on the squad. “Lukas is the kind of guy you want in your program. He shows up, works hard; there’s no drama with Lukas,” said Odell.

On Miller, Odell said the sophomore scored the highest in the team’s point value system (points, rebounds, assists, turnovers). “I wasn’t surprised Tyson had the highest points value system. He’s a real glue guy.”

The Royals play at Dos Pueblos on Wednesday and then play their first home game on Friday against Ventura.

Dos Pueblos struggled during December, but coach Joe Zamora said his players have been really resilient. He introduced the “upside to our program,” junior Nathan Johnson and sophomore Eli Wopat.

Santa Barbara High boys assistant coach Andy Gil said Bolden Brace and Chris Wagonhurst “are our life savers more often than not.” Brace knocked down 18 3-pointers in four games of the Santa Barbara Holiday Classic.

The Dons (12-2) play Camarillo in a non-league on Wednesday and host Buena on Friday.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

Carpinteria coach Dan Mercer likes how his young team is coming along.

“Our young team is growing, it’s really exciting,” he said. “It looks like we’re going to be a competitive team in Frontier League.”

The Warriors are 4-5.

Mercer introduced Lupe “Loops” Vargas and Rubi “Rudy” Albarron has two important role players on the squad.

Anna Brummett of Santa Barbara High water polo is the female Athlete of the Week.

Anna Brummett of Santa Barbara High water polo is the female Athlete of the Week.

At Bishop Diego, Ali Everson and Sam Gaash are part of a 10-player rotation coach Jeff Burich utilizes in every game. The Cardinals open Frontier League play Tuesday at Malibu.

Santa Barbara coach Andrew Butcher introduced the artistic side of his team in Jocelin Petatan, Bella Illescas and Michaila Miller. The Dons are 14-2, and Butcher credits the team’s defense as the key to the record.

PREP SOCCER

San Marcos boys coach Rob Lauderdale said his team is finally healthy as it begins league play.

“The injuries hopefully have been cleared up and we should start our season with our full starting squad.” he said.

Lauderdale brought Cesar Juanico, who recently was moved into a starting position in the backline, and Kelvin Uribe, a sophomore transfer from Mater Dei. “If you don’t know him, I guarantee you will,” the coach said. “He’s the future of San Marcos soccer.”

Olivia Jones and Kaitlyn Saparstein, two key offensive players for the San Marcos girls soccer team, were brought to the luncheon by Aaron Solis. The Royals open league play at home Tuesday against Buena.

Santa Barbara girls coach Jeff Johnson introduced goalkeeper Katherine Hawkes. “She’s a sophomore who’s stepped up and taken on responsibility,” he said.

Carpinteria coach Lucy Carleton brought starting defender Megan Garcia and Merissa Souza, who suffered a torn ACL and will undergo surgery on Tuesday.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UCSB men’s assistant David Campbell said the inside-outside game with Alan Williams in the paint and Kyle Bosworth, Taran Brown and Michael Bryson on the perimeter make it difficult for opponents to defend the Gauchos.

UCSB opens Big West play Saturday at home against Cal Poly.

Westmont men’s coach John Moore said the feisty play of Mantas Drungys reminds him of the way he played the game at Westmont. “I love his competitive spirit and love what he does,” Moore said of the native of Lithuania.

The Warriors have won nine of 10 and open a very competitive GSAC campaign next week against Biola.

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