San Marcos wants to turn Thunderhut into stuffed animal house

Assistant coach Lucy Carleton is joined by Carpinteria girls soccer players, from left, Yaneli Gutierrez, Alejandra Alvarez and Aisha Duarte.

Assistant coach Lucy Carleton is joined by Carpinteria girls soccer players Yaneli Gutierrez, Alejandra Alvarez and Aisha Duarte.

It was the last Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon of the year, and San Marcos assistant girls basketball coach Aaron Solis wanted to get the word out about a couple of fun and exciting basketball events for the community.

The first one is Friday at the San Marcos Thunderhut gym when the Royals girls host Carpinteria.

The Associated Student Body at San Marcos is starting a new community-giving event called “The Teddy Bear Tip-Off Toss.”

Solis said the students got the idea from a minor league ice hockey team in Canada, the Calgary Hitmen. The fans throw teddy bears and other stuffed animals onto the ice after the home team scores its first goal of the game. The team collects the stuffed animals and donates them to a charity.

Video Courtesy of WHLHitmen

“Our ASB is going to try that this Friday,” said Solis. “Anyone who comes to the 7 p.m. game and brings a new teddy bear or stuffed animal will get in free. At the initial tip-off, everyone will be able to throw those teddy bears and animals on the court.”

The animals will be collected by the San Marcos boys and girls varsity basketball teams and donated to the Unity Shop and to the Children’s Wing at Cottage Hospital, where they’ll be given out as gifts over the holiday season.

“We hope this is a tradition those goes on years and years after this,” Solis said. “We got to start somewhere.”

Solis also gave a plug for the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions, which runs Dec. 20-23.  “It’s one of the longest-running girls basketball tournaments in the state,” he said. “It always brings in a host of amazing players. Marion Jones Diana Taurasi and Sue Bird all have been MVPs.”

Host Santa Barbara will play in the Gold Division with powerhouse teams like Buena, Ventura, San Diego-WestviewHanford, Orange Lutheran, North Torrance and Bishop Diego. The Gold championship game is Dec. 23 at 7:30 p.m. at Santa Barbara.

Dos Pueblos and San Marcos are in the Green Division. The field includes Sierra Pacific of Hanford, El Dorado, Arroyo Grande and Seattle Prep of Washington. Green Division games will be played at San Marcos and Bishop Diego.


Lauren Lee Wingate received the award after her stellar play and leadership in the floor hockey competition at the Fall Games.

The left-winger had two hat tricks over three games and sparked her team to a come-from-behind win for the gold medal.

Wingate showed her leadership by helping an injured athlete off the court, keeping the team calm and coming through in tough defensive situations, said coach Jaime Rutiaga.


Dos Pueblos: Coach Matt York introduced the backbone of his team: goalie Tave Grabenheinrich, center back Calvin Schipper and central defensive midfielder Christian Reyes.

He said Schipper plays with toughness and doesn’t let anybody push him around.

On Grabenheinrich, the coach said he plays with an even keel and makes the right plays. “When he’s in goal, we have some our best games.”

York said the team clicked once he put Reyes in the central midfield. “He brings a defensive mindset and he has the footwork and skill to transition to offense.”

Reyes was voted as a team captain.


San Marcos: Coach Landon Boucher said that with six juniors and seven seniors on the roster, “you’d think you have an experienced squad. We’re not. We have very few guys who have not been counted on in big games at the varsity level. We’re still figuring things out.”

The Royals play at Viewpoint on Wednesday.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Joe Zamora said his team has played better in the second half of recent games

“If we can figure out how to go for 32 minutes rather than the second 16, we’re going to be pretty successful,” he said.

Zamora said Thomas Jimenez can play multiple positions and his experience of playing volleyball gives him the ability to block shots without fouling. At 6-foot-2, he is the team’s leading shot blocker. Jimenez carries 4.2 GPA and is part of the student body leadership.

Zamora said Colton Huyck really developed over the offseason, earned a starting spot and is one of the team’s leading scorers. “He made our team really complete.”

Huyck has a GPA of 3.8.

The Chargers have home games against Pioneer Valley on Wednesday and Arroyo Grande on Friday.

Santa Barbara: Coach Dave Bregante said he’s still trying to figure out combinations while raising the confidence level of his young players.

He noted, “Austin Lind has the chance to be a really good player. He needs more experience and confidence. He’s really going to help us this year.”

Bregante also introduced Ben Brown, the lone starter from last year’s CIF championship team. “He’s the engine that makes go; he’s a clutch player.”

Carpinteria: The Warriors are 4-1 with the help of Cian Figueras and Dominic Sturdivan.

Coach Henry Gonzales reported that Figueras has a great basketball IQ and is a team player. Sturdivan brings athleticism and skill to the team. He averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds at the Fillmore Tournament.

The Warriors will host the Jim Bashore Holiday Cage Classic, starting Friday. Local schools in the 12-team field include Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, Bishop Diego, Laguna Blanca and Santa Ynez. Friday, Saturday and Monday will consist of pool play games and the tournament placement games are on Tuesday.

Providence: Coach Steve Stokes said the Patriots have been adjusting with All-CIF player Ricky Beebe sidelined with an ankle injury.

Chase Avery, who broke school rebounding records last season, has stepped into the starting line-up and is playing well.

The Patriots play their home opener Saturday at Westmont against Grace Brethren.


Dos Pueblos: Seniors Noah Sullivan and Noam Dessibourg were introduced. Sullivan took fourth in his weight class at the Edison Bash at the Beach and Dessilboug, an exchange student from Switzerland, finished sixth.

Coach Anthony Califano reported that Dessibourg uses judo techniques to throw opponents and is a fun wrestler to watch.

The Chargers dual match at Santa Barbara on Thursday was postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.


Carpinteria: Assistant coach Lucy Carleton introduced Alejandra Alvarez, Aisha Duarte and Yaneli Gutierrez. She said Alvarez, the Athlete of the Week, is a versatile player who can play any position on the field. She scored five goals in two matches last week.

On Duarte: “Don’t let that cheerleader smile fool you,” Carleton cracked. “She’s surprisingly strong, quick and has a great free kick.”

Carleton said Gutierrez plays with passion and emotion and is making big contributions.


UCSB: Assistant coach Vince Devany announced that the Gauchos’ annual season-opening Asics Tournament is Jan. 6-7. The tournament will consist of Cal State Northridge, Long Beach State and Stanford from the Mountain Pacific Sports Federation and non-conference teams Quincy, Indiana-Purdue at Fort Wayne, Mt. Olive and McKendree.

Devany said the young team “is doing everything we can to not call it a rebuilding year.”

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