BACK TO ACTION FOR SPRING LEAGUE TEAMS AFTER MEMORIAL DAY BREAK
ALL FOUR LEAGUE CHAMPIONS TO BE DECIDED THIS WEEKEND
After a lengthy break without any games, it’s do-or-die time for at least 8 teams as the battle for the four league championships culminates with as many title tilts this coming weekend as the Spring 2017 youth basketball league at the Santa Monica YMCA sprints towards the finish line.
After this weekend, two regular season games remain on June 10, followed by the seasonal parents vs kids games and all-star games the remainder of that weekend, followed by the awards banquets for each division capped off by the not-to-be-missed year-end awards which will be given out to the Player, Coach and Referee of the year, as well as Most Improved and Most Inspirational player awards and the handing out of the All-Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball certificates. That will take place after the Major League banquet that begins at 5:00 p.m. on Thursday, June 15.
Although the last games were played on May 20-21, no stories were written about such, and so here, better-late-than-never, are the recaps of those contests.
The Majors whittled their field down to two different four team brackets after the final two regular season games that Saturday morning. In the first, the Dreams did what they normally do: fell behind then rallied for a 32-30 victory over the Goats, one that thrust them into the top spot in the league standings heading into tournament time the next afternoon.
Down 23-19 at halftime and still by two at 27-25 after three quarters, the Dreams took their first lead a minute into the fourth quarter when Dylan McFarland (10 points in the game for high point honors for both teams) stole and inbounds pass and fed it to Andrew Daouda underneath who dropped it in. He ended up with 8 points and 9 rebounds.
The Goats weren’t finished, however, and when Tyler Strang scored to finish off a drive from the right wing, his team was back on top 29-28 with 6 minutes to play.
Down the stretch, a huge basket by Nasim Nasimov who grabbed an offensive rebound and converted to make it 30-29. Daouda’s two free throws put the game on ice, although the Goats had a chance to tie, only to go 1-3 from the line post-game.
Michael Hanasab dropped in two important three pointers for the winners. Keenan Bryant scored 9 to lead the Goats, with Zion Qurtman hitting a convenient 7-11 in points and boards.
–Although the Legends continue to improve, they remained winless on the campaign dropping a hard fought 38-30 decision to the Glide. The Legends trailed 27-14 after three, but got all nine of their points in succession from Jared Lewin who brought them back into the contest in so doing.
From that point on, it was pretty much all Glide, as Nico Kenneally dropped in a three and a conventional basket, Jon Smiley and Ben Turkel contributed one bucket a piece and it was all over. Turkel led the way with a 12/11 double double. Zach Jacobs scored one less with the same number of rebs.
Drew Gelfand scored 9 in defeat.
Sunday brought the semi finals on in both the upper and lower brackets. The Dreams secured their spot in the championship match this weekend with another fourth quarter come-from-behind effort, topping the 4th seeded Big O’s 39-34.
It was tight throughout, and when Kasra Sariri of the O’s scored to make it 23-19 in the third quarter, it was, to that point, the biggest lead of the game for either team.
Ryan Abousseua scorted his only basket of the game to get the Dreams to within one, following up on an out of control Daouda drive. Sariri scored off of an assist from Nick Ladreyt to give the O’s a three point lead with 8 minutes to play.
At the 4:30 mark of the final period, the Dreams awakened to reality. Gabe Aframian hit his second three point shot of the game to bring the Dreams to within two points, trailing 28-26. Moments later, O’s pint guard Ezra Kreiger (10 points, 7 rebounds and stelas) fouled out for the third time this season, and without him, the Dreams ran away with the rest of the game.
McFarland hit a floater to tie the game with 3:20 left. Kaplan made a layin to put the Dreams up by two, but Sariri was able to tie it one last time before Daniel Boutros stole a pass and fed Daouda for what would give the Dreams a lead they would not again relinquish. He scored once more later off of a McFarland dish.
Daouda finished with 15 points and missed a double double by a rebound. Mcfarland had 11 and 9, while Aframian added 8 more. For the O’s it was Sariri leading the way with a dozen and 9 boards. John Woods added 7 and 10 rebs.
–In the second semi final, the second seeded Magic hadn’t much trouble in disposing of the Captains, 39-27.
The Magic came out playing “big boy ball” taking a 16-2 lead with 6 minutes to go in the second quarter before the Captains started chipping away. They got it down to 8 a few times and finally to a 6 point deficit at the fourth quarter sub break but that was as close as they could come.
It was a case of too much Miguel Picazo to overcome, as he barely missed a triple double scoring 15 with 15 rebounds and 9 steals in a fantastic game. Casey Christmas scored 17 with 14 rebounds and was at least somewhat wonderful himself, but on this day the Magic had the better supporting cast, and with them, victory and a spot in this Sunday’s finale, where they will try to avenge a one point regular season loss to the Dreams.
–In the “B” tournament semi finals, featuring teams that placed 5-8 in the regular season, the Glide and Legends put on a quality show for the customers, scoring a combined 97 points in a 54-43 slugfest win for the former over the latter. It was only 22-21 at half time, but the Glide put things in their control with an 11-4 spurt to open the second half and were never really threatened from then on.
Ben Turkel was “specturkular” scoring 19 with 11 rebounds, 4 assists and 5 steals. Zach Jacobs added 11, Jon Smiley, but it was player of the game Marcus Hevesey-Rodriguez’ 8 that might have been the biggest difference maker.
Drew Gelfand was the only double figure scorer for the Legends, as he had a dozen to go with 15 caroms. Rama Karimi came alive for his best game in a while with 7, and the Lewin boys tossed in 11 between ‘em.
–The Goats came back with short rest to top the Big Dippers 35-27. They trailed by three at halftime, and 5 minutes later led by 7. Bryant hit two more threes and a total of ten points to lead all scorers. Luca Chuecos had a ridiculous 6 blocked shots, second most ever in a major league game in the modern era (Gio Alvarez-Cueva-7). Luke Laurie and Nasir Luna were best in defeat.
Down on the farm, the Rookies played their quarterfinals, with the top two seeds, the Typhoons and Hurricanes sitting back and scouting for this weekend’s semis.
The third seeded Breeze knocked out the 6th seeded Zephyrs 13-9, holding the Z’s to just one Daneil Sun basket and one Max Baracy free throw. Sun had 13 rebounds. Alex Ma and Amelia Morovich-Hess each scored first quarter baskets to effectively put the game out of reach for the Breeze, while Noah McLaurin hit a basket in each of the two middle quarters to go with 7 steals and 4 blocked shots.
–The 4 seed beat the 5 seed as form held true, when the Monsoon dropped the Tornados 17-8. Score 6 points for the winners for Asher Zaczepinski, and Annika Cook tossed in her first ever basket in the win.
–On Sunday the two league leaders beefed up their records with victories. The Typhoons defeated the Zephyrs 16-10 as Dominic Drew broke open a close one with two baskets in the second half en route to a career high 6 point game. Charlie Miles led the Z’s with 4.
–The Hurricanes blew out the Tornados, 31-14, holding them scoreless until the fourth quarter. Archer Aguilar was on fire again, scoring 12 points. Sammy Levi added 6 and Ethan Stein 4 in a very unusually high scoring Rookie League game.
Once the dam broke open in the final quarter Jake Kazerani scored 6, Drew Steudenko and Georgia Rolph 2 each for the T’s.
On Saturday, the Bantams opened their “A” (upper bracket/places 1-4) tournament semi finals. In the opener, the third seed scored a mild upset over the two seed when the Colts upended the Palominos 26-17.
Ariel Aframian, Miles Aguilar and Asser Tewodors scored a lucky 7-7-7 for the winners.
The Palominos had a lot of good quality shots inside early on but could not convert and they did not score for the game’s first 5 minutes-plus. They trailed 8-2 after one quarter, and 19-8 at half time as the Colts looked like the better team throughout and certainly the quicker team on defense. The Palominos got to within three points at 9-6 in the second quarter, but were ice cold pretty much the entire game.
SUNDAY GAME OF THE DAY
–In the “B” semi finals, the winless Shetlands shed that tag once and for all with a 16-14 upset of the 5th seeded Thorobreds.
It came about through hard work, perseverance and a little luck. When Gryffin Glowacki hit his first basket of the season to give the Shetlands an 8-6 lead with 5 minutes to go in the third quarter, veteran observers sat up and took notice that this might finally be the day.
Three minutes later, Griffin Boccella scored on a shot that is not common for Bantam Leaguers: a backside reverse follow of a missed shot to tie the game at 8 after three.
Lincoln Barnes (10 points/14 rebounds/9 steals), the divisional player of the week, followed his own miss to put the Shetlands back on top a minute in to the fourth. Violet Miller got an offensive rebound in deep moments later, spun around to throw a pass to Barnes on the left baseline who tossed it in to up the ad to 4.
Next trip down, Alex Brick (16 rebounds/6 steals) brought the Thoro’s back to within a basket with 6 minutes still to go at 12-10. Despite a late flurry the game ended when the Thorobreds missed two shots right under their bucket as the horn went off. Each team hit a post game free throw and the Shetlands celebrated!
–They will meet the Appaloosas in the “B” final, after the Apps rode past the Clydesdales 20-12 in the other half of the bracket. Dash Hansford and Isaac Samy (11 rebounds) each scored 6 in the win.
There were three Minor League games that weekend.
–The top seeded Skywalkers built up a commanding 15 point lead over the 4th seeded Icemen, saw that cut to 7 about half way through the third, but coasted home to a 39-29 win and a trip to the finals.
Milyon Mitchell hit a pair of threes and finished with 12, same point total as that for Jaxson Glowacki, who grabbed 14 rebounds, same as Aidan Murphy.
Luca Marchis did what he could to keep his Icemen in the game, scoring 7 with 10 rebounds and 4 assists, and Noah Kratz hit four buckets, but other help was hard to come by.
GAME OF THE WEEK
— “You can’t win it if you’re not in it”—wise basketball guys.
The second and third seeded teams, the Doctors and Wizards went to-to-toe in a tough four round main event and when the dust settled — well, read on dear readers and find out as you go. I wouldn’t want to spoil a good story. The winner stayed alive, the loser did not.
It seems in retrospect that the game was never finished until the final horn blew. Now let me check my notes to see how well I covered it.
We pick up action with 3 minutes to go in the first quarter, giving you an idea of the important and tenseness of the game — I usually don’t start keeping notes until the second half.
That’s when Jacob Puente of the Doctors picked up his second personal foul….and that’s too many too soon.
Grey Broderick finally broke a scoreless tie with a 16 footer from the left wing of of a pass from Eli Eng with 6 seconds to go in the first quarter, but Ryan Kazerani banked in a three pointer as the horn went off to give the Doctors a 3-2 lead.
With 2½ minutes gone in the second period, Lukas Greblikas scored off of a Josh Birnbach assist and it was 4-3 Wizards. Coming out the substitution break in the second quarter, Kazerani stole a ball and went in for a layup but Birnbach hit a long shot from the left side to put his team up by one point with just 20 seconds left in the half.
Enter Kazerani, who, for the second time in as many quarters, hit a buzzer beater and put his team ahead at the break. A Shawn Sikder free throw made it 8-6.
At this point, defense was the name of the game, and neither team was getting very many good and clean looks at the basket.
Opening the second half, Greblikas of the Wizards found Isaac Davies alone off to the left side of the basket on the baseline, and he scored his only basket to tie the game at 8.
With just 40 seconds left in the quarter, Arjun McIntosh put the Doctors back up to finish the first period scoring, 10-8.
In the early fourth, Eli Eng found Chloe Dayyani with a nice pass that she turned into two points to again tie the score, but Kazerani untied it on the very next trip down the floor.
Then he hit again on a 10 footer from the right baseline to make it a 14-10 Doctors lead…..a BIG lead in a game that had not seen as much to that time.
Birnbach puled the Wizards back to a two point shortage.
In a sudden barrage, JJ Crawford of the Doctors and Brinbach swapped three pointers and it was 17-15.
In what could have been a key moment, Puente fouled out with 3:04 to play. Kazerani hit to make it 19-15. Donovaan Blackwin did the same for the Wizards, and then it was Kazerani again to make it 21-17.
Post game free throws were plentiful. The Wizards made 4 out of their 6, but the recently fouled out and now rested Puente drilled his only two and the game was decided.
Kazerani was all over the court on both ends, scoring 15 and earned himself SM YMCA player of the week honors. Amir Jahromi grabbed a game high ten rebounds in the win and he and Kazerani split 8 steals down the middle.
Birnbach scored 11 to lead the Wizards and while five others got a basket each, no one could break through for more than that, and in the end it was better depth that won it for the Docs.
–The “B” tourney semi finals seemed somewhat anticlimactic for those other than the players, staff and fans of the teams playing, after witnessing the thriller before theirs. Play on they did to their best though!
The Admirals posted a Saturday-capping 30-16 runaway win over the Pistol Petes. Ben Adelman led all scorers with 11 and had 7 steals on the defensive end to earn player of the game honors. Nifty Tewodros added 7.
This week opens with the two rookie league semi finals on Saturday morning, clearly the highlight of the day’s eight games.
On Sunday, there are three “B” tournament finals, and then four bona fide league championship games in a row starting at 3:10 p.m. with the Rookies, running through the Bantams, Minors and Majors in order.
Make plans to attend all four to see the best of the best in action against each other, complete with the public address system announcing each title contest.
Teams do sometimes take a weekend off, and teams also sometimes play more than one time on a weekend, but never more than once in a day.
There is a minimum playing time limit of half the game, however that will not be the case if all 11 players on any of the three (1 Rookie, two Minor) teams carrying 11 players happen to show up on the same day. If that’s the case, the players will be placed into a rotation by their coach and they will play as much as possible. The league office tried to make sure teams only carried ten players, but it was not possible to do it exactly that way this time around.
Each division has some different rules. In the Rookie League, the ball we use is a youth ball (27.5), baskets are lowered to 8 feet, and no defense is allowed outside of the three-point line.
In the Bantam League, the ball is an intermediate ball (28.5), and the basket is set at 9 feet. In the Minor league the basket is raised to ten feet and the defense may come out to half court. In the Major league the ball is a regulation-sized ball, and teams may play full court defense.
In each division, players fouled in the act of shooting will shoot those free throws at the end of each half. If a team gets ahead by 15 points, they must back up defensively to the next line. In the Majors, that means half court, in the Minors that means the three point line. In the Bantams and Rookies that means inside of the key. If the lead increases to 20, they back up more, or in the case of Bantams or Rookies, play mild defense if any at all. If it goes to 25 or more in the Majors, they back up in to the key. Teams may, but do not have to come back out on defense if the score reverts under those margins.
Overtime games are only allowed in games in which a team must advance to another round of a tournament. And all-star games or games vs parents. But not regular season games.
You can expect an edition of the league newsletter each week, usually by Tuesday, depending on how much other work I have to do. It is my primary way of contacting you, so please read it thoroughly each week. Feel free to forward it to those who might like to see a copy.
Please do not coach your children from the sideline. It hinders what the coach might be saying to them and is confusing.
If your child is injured during the course of the game, please hold off on the urge to rush out onto the court. Give them at least 30 seconds to gather themselves (unless you absolutely KNOW it to be a major injury). The game referees and your coach will be first responders and make sure the player is okay and assess the situation. Usually after 30 seconds the player is either back up and ready to play, or sometimes heads to the bench for a breather and to regroup. You can visit them on the bench at this time if you wish.
If the player is more seriously injured, certainly we want you to come out to your child, just give it a little time before you do.
Please no food or drinks in the gym other than bottles with caps screwed on well. No gum, of course.
All spectators must sit on the benches provided or stand behind them, do NOT congregate in the entrance to the gym, and you may not sit along the end of the court. You may bring your own sports chairs, provided they do not scratch the surface of the gym floor.
Please clean up the spectator area after your game and leave it nice for the next fans who are coming in.
Also be sure to have your team players (your kids!) clean up under their bench when the game is over, or assign a parent from your team to do so each game.
At the end of the day, please assist in gym clean up and putting away the benches and chairs into the equipment closet.
Any items left at practices are turned in by our custodial staff to the front desk and placed in our lost and found. Bringing expensive items to a game is never a great idea. If the director finds any items at the end of a game day, he places them in his office
If you have an issue with your coach, please bring it up with them. If you do not feel comfortable doing so alone, have another parent listen as you speak to the coach. If you still can’t iron out a solution, we will set up a meeting with me and the coach and you all in the same room face to face.