Westmont basketball coaches express emotions about disaster in Montecito

In their presentations at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon, Westmont men’s and women’s basketball coaches expressed their emotions and offered words of encouragement after the disaster in Montecito.

Twenty-one lives were lost, two people were still missing and several homes were destroyed and damaged by the devastating mudslides and flooding that took place on Jan. 9.

At an event that promotes local college and high school teams and athletes, coaches John Moore and Kirsten Moore (no relation) elected to share their thoughts on how the disaster impacted their teams and the entire community.

“These are hard times,” John Moore said. “Sports can be a distraction or sports can be a reflection of our culture. I believe it’s important that it be a reflection, a reflection of perseverance, a reflection of finding ways through hard times, a reflection of how to do things together, a reflection of a great community.

“That’s what we have, a phenomenal community here and how grateful are we for that. With a lot grace and a lot understanding, we’re able piece this back together.”

An emotional Kirsten Moore said the fire and floods that occurred over the last couple of months have greatly impacted her and her players.

“I can’t separate what we’ve done on the basketball court and what we’ve gone through as a community and people,” she said, holding back tears. “I also can’t help but, in the pain and the hardness, be grateful of what is developing in my young women and what it’s developing in us a community.”

Kirsten Moore went on to explain how she’s personally been affected by the tragedy.

“Some of my emotions today, they come from a place of having been through hardship before,” she explained. “I’m currently walking with a family that has gone through extreme loss. And, because I walked through what I did five years ago when I lost my husband unexpectedly when I was eight months pregnant, I can say that what it did develop in me is a resiliency and an empathy that I have now today … to walk through what we’re walking through.

“I say that to encourage all of us as a community, and my players and what I see already developing in them, that through this pain there is hope, that there can be good that comes from the pain.”

She noted that while things get back to normal for a lot of people, it’s important to remember those who are “going to be far from normal for a really long time, and to continue to support, love and care for one another as we walk through these days, weeks, months, and honestly, years to come.

“Let’s keep doing the good work.”

GIRLS SOCCER

San Marcos

Assistant coach Dana Valikai introduced defender Sydney Hess and forward and team captain Alexandra Ronces.

They helped the Royals earn a 2-2 tie with Dos Pueblos and a 1-0 win against Santa Barbara.

Eric Rosales and Alan Monge represented the San Marcos boys team.

Dos Pueblos

Coach Seth Asuncion said “the year started out rough, but it never hindered the girls’ spirits. They’re always out there cheering and supporting each other.”

He introduced Adria Jamieson and Carly Marmo.

The Chargers are 1-1-1 in Channel League.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UCSB Men

Assistant coach John Rillie said the 14-5 Gauchos are a reflection of their head coach.

“If you haven’t been to a game, our team plays with the energy like our coach Joe Pasternack,” Rillie said. “He’s a live wire, a firecracker, whatever way you want to describe him. The team has his energy.”

Rillie thanked the community for welcoming him and his family.

BOYS BASKETBALL

San Marcos

The Royals have been riding high with the production their getting from players like Stef Korfas and David Frohling.

Korfas, a senior point guard, has dishing out six or more assists in half of the team’s games and has had more than 10 assists in several games, said coach Landon Boucher. “He’s making the lives of his teammates pretty easy with open shots. He’s turned into a really good high school point guard.”

Of Frohling, Boucher said “he gives our team what we need. At times we need scoring and he’s stepped up to score over 20 points many times.”

He scored 27 points in a win over Dos Pueblos two weeks ago and earned Athlete of the Week honors.

Boucher said another example of Frohling’s tremendous contributions came in a game against Compton, when he was asked to play point guard for an injured Korfas. It was his first time playing the position in high school.

“He did a great job,” Boucher said. “They pressed us the whole game, we got the win and he scored 20 points that game. It’s a good example of he’s here to give the team what it needs.”

The Royals, ranked No. 5 in Division 2A, play a key Channel League game against Buena at home on Wednesday.

Dos Pueblos

After losing its first two Channel League games, assistant coach Devin Uyesaka said adjustments are being made to have a successful (league) season.

He introduced Max McCeney and Jake Enrico.

On McCeney: “He has a super high basketball IQ and plays with a lot of confidence,” Uyesaka said. “He’s one of our best help-side defenders, one of the best rebounding guards. He’s a good all-around player.”

Uyesaka said Enrico is the team’s leading rebounder and is great at the defensive end. “He’s sneaky long. He’s good at attacking the basket and finishing. He’s also got a great outside shot.”

Santa Barbara

Because of the fire and flood, Santa Barbara lost a lot of its games. The Dons have played just 10 games (7-3, 1-1 in Channel) games.

“We played our first game on Dec. 27,” Bregante said. “Usually by that time we’ve played 12-14 games. I’m proud of this group of kids for hanging in there. A lot of them had to evacuate their homes. We still have kids who are not back in their homes yet.

“I feel sorry for our seniors. Usually during the course of a basketball season we play 30-34 games. We’re going to be lucky if we get 16 this year.”

The Dons played at Ventura on Monday night and will host the Cougars on Friday.

BOYS SOCCER

Santa Barbara

Coach Todd Heil’s squad is unbeaten (10-0-3) and ranked No. 2 in Division 1 of the CIF-Southern Section and No. 3 in the state and No. 9 in the nation by topdrawersoccer.com.

Three players who have been key to the Dons’ success are Guillermo Mendoza, Owen Lambe and Juan Carlos Torres. Torres was named Athlete of the Week after scoring four goals last week in wins over Dos Pueblos and San Marcos.

Lambe and Mendoza are Heil’s trusty team captains.

“As coaches, Memo and Owen make our lives so much easier when you can trust two guys to be there for their teammates, to push their teammates positively in the right matter to get the job done.”

The Dons play Ventura on Friday at La Playa Stadium at 6 p.m.

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