March 1, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

Doc Drew’s Swish Volume 2, Issue 1

By Dr. Paul Drew 

Welcome to the first issue of volume two of Swish, a weekly periodical with recaps and photos of Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball games, and other pertinent info such as standings, schedules, announcements, and updates from the program.

With the new year, comes the Winter season of youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA.  This past week, all teams had a practice with a scrimmage game on Saturday.  Half of the teams had their first official game on Sunday, which was opening day for the regular season.  

If you were unable to get your child in the Winter season of YMCA youth basketball, then please sign up for the Spring season.  Registration for Spring season will be available in person at the YMCA or online at beginning February 1st, and the Spring season will start on March 18th, 2019.

Benefits of Youth Sports

The YMCA promotes three principles:

Youth Development
Nurturing the Potential of all Youth and Teens

Healthy Living
Improve Health and Well-being in Spirit, Mind & Body

Social Responsibility
Giving Back and Providing Support to our Neighbors

Youth basketball at the YMCA is an excellent for helping youth to learn these principles.  Youth sports can help benefit children in many ways.  The following are seven good reasons to get your child involved in youth sports, as stated at

Encourage a Healthy Lifestyle
Making exercise a part of your child’s life teaches your child the importance of fitness. This, along with proper nutrition, plays a vital role in maintaining health. Children need physical activity every day and participation in sports helps fill this need. With today’s wealth of video games and increasing computer literacy, daily physical activity is often times forgotten. Getting your child involved with sports helps them make exercise a part of their lifestyle and increases their chance of a being a healthier adult.

Promote Self Esteem
When a child realizes that they are getting better and better at their sport, they can’t help but feel a sense of accomplishment. Choosing a sport your child can grow and improve in gives your child an opportunity to build self-esteem. Together, with positive reinforcement from you their parent, they will gain confidence and have a more positive view of themselves.

Learn Goal Setting
I’m sure you’ll agree goal setting and success go hand in hand. Participation in sports gives your child a fun, practical way to learn about goal setting. They’ll see, experience, and learn about how goal setting works. If your child’s coach doesn’t cover goal setting, that’s okay! You as a parent can sit down with your child and set goals. By assisting your child in developing this skill, you give them a better chance at succeeding in life.

Learn and Experience Teamwork
How often have you read a help wanted ad where the employer wants a “team player” or a candidate that “works well with others”? I see it all the time. How much more valuable are you as an employee when you can put differences aside and get the job done? Sports teach children about teamwork and about how their actions affect other people. If they can’t learn to work together with teammates while playing a sport they enjoy, how will they be able to work with co-workers they may or may not like while performing a job they may or may not enjoy? This is an important lesson to learn. Encourage your child to be a team player and, as a sports parent, keep tabs on whether or not your words and actions promote this trait in your child.

Develop Time Management Skills
Adding extracurricular activities to your child’s schedule encourages development of and time management and prioritization skills. Teach your child that taking care of responsibilities, such as school work and cleaning up after themselves, comes first. This gives them their first taste of prioritization. Next, help your child formulate a plan which enables them to efficiently handle their responsibilities while still leaving time for sports practices and competitions. For example, show your child how working on homework instead of playing outside during their after-school program helps them finish their homework in time for practice each day. Then go ahead and make that part of your plan.

Learn About Dealing with Adversity
Everyone makes mistakes. Everyone has problems. How well you handle these mistakes and problems directly affects happiness and quality of life. Many people “get in a slump” and can’t get out of it. Others continue making the same mistakes over and over again. In sports, we always try to minimize errors, but we’re human. Mistakes happen. Even professional athletes make bad choices and make bad plays, but it’s not the mistake that counts. What you do from that point forward carries much more significance. If your child learns how to deal with adversity, errors, and challenges in sports, chances are, they’ll be able to translate that skill to real life and effectively minimize mistakes and/or bad decisions as well as competently recover from set backs.

Have Fun!
Positive experiences play an essential role in raising a happy, healthy human being. Sports provide numerous opportunities for positive experiences both for your child as an individual, and for your family as a whole. “Sports parents” are blessed with the chance to watch their child have fun while learning and developing as an athlete and as a human being.

Scrimmage Day

This past Saturday was scrimmage day for all teams in all divisions.  The entire day was filled with teams having a mini practice followed by a scrimmage, on both sides of the gymnasium at the Santa Monica YMCA.  Players got familiar with their teammates and finding a feel for the game.  For some players, it was their first time playing in a basketball game.  Scrimmage day is dedicated to helping kids learn how to play the game, and communicate with their teammates, and most importantly, enjoy the game of basketball.

Jace O’Brien of the Mets bringing the ball up against the Rangers defense in Minor scrimmage action.
Minor division Mets and Rangers with post scrimmage hand shakes.
Minor league White Sox and Tigers scrimmaging
Asher Eng of the Minor Phillies puts the shot up against the Nationals defense on Scrimmage Day.

The Marlins Alejandro Poza is able to launch a shot over the outstretched hand of the Braves Dagmawi Ayele in Minor scrimmage action.

Opening Day

Sunday was opening day for half of the teams at the Santa Monica YMCA.  Excitement was in the air, as kids were eager to play, and parents were there to encourage and cheer on all players.  Kids learned good sportsmanship and had a fun time playing in front of friends and family.


BLUE JAYS GET PECKED BY ORIOLES —Sunday, January 13th — Opening Day for Winter Season Basketball at the YMCA included a battle for the birds, as the plucky Blue Jays got winged by the Orioles, 22-10. A packed crowd of parents got to witness the Blue Jay way, displayed by incredible play from Sylvie Levitt (6 points, 6 rebounds!), Scarlett Harris (2 points, 4 rebounds, 1 steal), plus 1 awesome bucket and 3 rebounds from Tanner Lehmkuhl!  Submitted by Coach Pete Harris

Eloise Siegler of the Orioles being guarded by the Blue Jays Scarlett Harris in Rookie league action.  Photo by Lisa Demsky

Our Rays came out strong in the first half of our first game of the season against the Twins.  Vitalina Moncher hit two shots and Luca Samson and Aaron Dyner each hit a shot as we built an 8-1 lead going into the second half.  Not unusual for a first game in Rookie League, neither team shot well.  We were fortunate to get more steals and rebounds and thus had a higher volume of shots; which is often a key to victory at this level.
Although we couldn’t drop another bucket in the second half, we did play solid defense in holding the Twins to just one bucket in a very satisfying 9-4 victory.  Both teams had plenty of quality shots, but the ball wasn’t dropping.  Rosalina Storstein, Teddy Franklin, and Johnny Richardson also played well and played hard to help in the Rays win.  Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher

Orioles vs Blue Jays

After a relatively even scrimmage between these two teams Saturday, 24 hours later Sunday triggered some change.  One, Jackson Harper who didn’t play in scrimmage had a beast of a game for the Orioles earning him player of the game w/ 10 points, 8 rebounds, and 3 steals.  Making some decent noise along side him, was Tristan Hayes w/ 8 points, 6 rebounds, and 3 steals on a career best for the little guy…both players did their work in just 3 quarters after agreeing to sit the full 4th quarter to give their fellow teammates extra playing time.

Blue Jays had their share of close shots that easily could have fallen in and they played tough, but remained scoreless through the 1st half.  Orioles Eloise Siegler showed she can hang with the boys for sure chipping in 2 points along with her tough defense and 4 rebounds and a steal. Spencer Nelson held his own grabbing a couple rebounds and a steal…twin brother Ross Nelson also showed his game face snagging a pair of steals as well in a first game of his young career.  First season player and preschooler Bryson Nelson definitley played above average for his age and experience with a pair of rebounds, an assist, and a near basket.  Fellow 1st time player Cruz Hecklin hit the ground running and dropped his first 2 point basket right out the gate in his 1st game along with a rebound and a steal.  Colson Moore, rounding out the pack of newcomers, proved his defensive skills by helping the Orioles slow the Blue Jays offense throughout the game.

The Blue Jays showed their girl power w/ Sylvie Levitt marking up the stat sheet with 6 points ands a slew of rebounds, and Scarlett Harris chipping in a bucket, rebounds, and a steal, along with other teammates adding help, but in the end Orioles were able to safely win with a 22-10 final score.  Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes


The Giants Abby Ma looks for an open teammate, in Bantam league action against the Diamondbacks.  Photo by Lisa Demsky

Player of the Game, James Petrovich, led the Giants to a close 17-16 victory over the Diamondbacks with 8 points, 6 rebounds, 3 blocks, 3 steals, and one assist. Harlan Mansfield added 3 points including one free throw and four rebounds to the victory. Jacopo Stabilini, Vihaan Nawathe, and Jack Salaski also contributed with 2 points each. A solid rebounding performance kept the Giants on top for the game with Stabilini grabbing 2, Abby Ma with 3 rebounds, and Sadie Stiehm snatching 3. Defense played a big part of the close victory with steals from Stiehm (2), Nawathe (1), Jaxton Moore (1), and Sam Hastings (1). Helping propel the Giants to victory with assists was Stiehm (2) and Owen Benham (1).
An all-around impressive performance of teamwork, and a warm welcome and applause for Abby Ma, Sam Hastings, and Jack Salaski who each played their first-ever game of league basketball!! Go Giants!  Submitted by Coach Wendy Hermosillo and Jason Moore


Player of the game, the Phillies Aayan Lakhani drives to the hoop, against the Braves defense in Minor division action.  Photo by Michael Jones-Morales

Marlins Beat Mets in Season Opener

Making their debut at the Santa Monica YMCA for the Minor League, the Marlins challenged the Mets for their season opener. The Marlins came out strong leading the first quarter with 11 points. Sophie Levi had 100% field goal percentage with 7 points and even hit an opening 3- pointer. Hunter Esposito also had an impressive opening quarter with 4 points. Into the second quarter, Alejandro Poza played strong defense and scored a basket to keep the team up into the half.

The Marlins started the second half strong with Esposito scoring another 4 points and Poza with another basket. Tarek Shaken showed his intense defense while Marko Zelenovic, William Ellison, and Ben Van Bilderbeek assisted with 4th quarter passing and assists.

This was Luke Woodward’s first game as the head coach of the Marlins and he was very impressed with the teams dynamic. “We have some great players this season and I’m excited to see what everyone is capable of. If we play hard and work together, we have the potential to win the championship.”

The Marlins went on to beat the Mets 23-13 and Sophie Levi was awarded as player of the game.  Submitted by Coach Luke Woodward

The Mets opener started rough with Sophie Levi hitting a 3 pointer against them right off of the opening tip-off.

This set a slow offensive pace at the start for the boys in Orange.  The Mets had a tough challenge to learn a new zone defense against a hot handed Marlins team who built a strong lead.  Camden Goetz led the 1st half with the Mets lone bucket.

The 2nd half proved to be a massive improvement in all aspects of the game for the Mets.  A pair of buckets from both Jace O’Brien and Evan Chang along with a score from Atobek Nasimov cut into the Marlins lead.  The zone defense started to gel and some great team basketball showed out for the Mets.  The Marlins were just too hot to catch as, Hunter Esposito-Doi found the bottom of the net too many times.  Submitted by Coach Brian Phelan


Astros Beat Angels in Exciting First Game

For their first game of the season the Astros played the Angeles of the Major League in an evening game at the Santa Monica YMCA. Eli Levi hit an early 3-pointer to start the quarter and then another quick basket to keep the lead into the second. Kayvon Aloadi scored two points while Elliot Wechsler had a very impressive opening quarter scoring a 3-point shot and another layup.

Into the second quarter, Rama Karimi used his speed to score two layups and Luca Bainbridge battled it out to score 4 points. The Astros continued to lead the Angels at the half. The Angels came into the second half playing a full-court press which was very effective and helped them to close the scoring gap. Sasha Yansen and Danilo Samardzija each scored two points while Levi and Wechsler each scored 3-pointers. Into the 4th quarter, the Astors kept their lead with the help of Kyle Habib who scored one basket and Sasha Yansen whose defense helped seal the win.

This was Luke Woodward’s first time as head coach of the Astros and he was proud of his team’s hard work ethic. “Every player on the team hustled hard. When we got pressed the first time it was a challenge, but the team figured out how to break it and we ended up winning the game. If we can continue to play with this intensity we will have a great season.”

The Astros beat the Angels 51-42 and Elliot Wechsler was awarded as player of the game with an incredible 16 points.  Submitted by Coach Luke Woodward

The Astros Elliot Wechsler proudly holding his “Player of the Game” honors, in his team’s victory over the Angels.

After watching the very big and talented Astros squash a team in the practice game the day before, our Angels knew we would have to play a flawless game to have a chance. 

Unfortunately, we were far from flawless and fell behind quickly.  With so many big players on the Astros, it was impossible to do much in the paint, but we did get plenty of open looks from the 3 and from mid-range.  Very few would fall and we were consistently down by about 15 throughout the second and third quarters.

Ironically, the tide turned somewhat when the smallest player on the court, Timosha Moncher, started driving to the hoop.  Timosha hit 4 buckets underneath the basket on strong circus-like drives against the giant Astros.  Sam Rubin then got untracked and hit some from deep and the game tightened in the first half of the 4th quarter.  We couldn’t sustain the momentum and lost by double digits.  Dom Kajota played a great game defensively and hit two buckets from deep.  We weren’t a factor in the paint on offense and defense, so we will need to work on rebounding, boxing-out, and helping-out over the next few weeks.  Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher

This week’s Profile:

Each week, Swish has a profile of a coach, player, or someone in the program who inspires all of us involved in Santa Monica YMCA basketball.

This week’s profile features the Schuster family.  Father Jonathan has been a coach with the program for the past couple years, and has really helped to give confidence to many young kids, with his positive reinforcement style of coaching, along with his vast knowledge of basketball.

His son Ryan is one of the youngest players to have played in the Minors, and is not only a very talented player, but very well liked by his teammates for his unselfish play, and his encouragement to all players.  Ryan is a multi-sport athlete, who also excels in soccer and baseball.

DocDrew:  What do you enjoy most about coaching at the Santa Monica YMCA?

Jonathan:  This is my 4th head coaching round at the Y. There have been some ups and downs but through it all I love teaching and learning. I also value the time I’ve been able to spend with my son Ryan. I strongly encourage all parents to either head or assistant coach.

DocDrew:  Which are some of the most important lessons that you want your players to learn?

Jonathan:  I emphasize basic basketball fundamentals and I enjoy watching a player transfer what we teach in practice into a game. I want to the kids to have fun but also learn how to compete and exhibit good sportsmanship.

DocDrew:  What would you like to see in the future for youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?

Jonathan:  Pete Arbogast created an incredible league and I want the Y to retain that culture as is moves forward into new leadership. I would love the league to bring in college or professional coaches/ players to speak and/or conduct clinics. From a technology standpoint, I think it would be great if the Y could stream games and/or create some type of Y channel on the net.

DocDrew:  What do enjoy most about playing basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?

Creating new friends, being a leader and playing the game of basketball.

DocDrew: Which are your favorite memories or moments in your basketball career at the Santa Monica YMCA?

Ryan:  When I won MVP of the Rookie League and when I won my first MVP of the game.

DocDrew:  Who are your favorite players and why?

Ryan:  Steph Curry because he’s a great 3-point shooter and Ben Simmons because he’s on a team that’s really fun to watch and his number is the same as the first one I ever wore in basketball, #25.

Ryan with sister Alexa, and Laker legend James Worthy

The Schuster family has always been there for the Santa Monica YMCA, and we can’t thank them enough for all that they have contributed to the youth basketball program.  


Sunday, January 13th


Yankees 9, Red Sox 18

Blue Jays 10, Orioles 22

Rays 9, Twins 4


Dodgers 12, Padres 12

Rockies 16, GIants 17


Mets 13, Marlins 25

Braves 9, Phillies 12


Astros 51, Angels 42


Teams are awarded 5 points for a win, 3 points for a tie, 1 point for a loss, 0 points for a forfeit.  Tournament games have greater point value.  Teams are listed in their place in the standings with W-L-T and team points


Red Sox 1-0-0, 5 points

Orioles 1-0-0, 5 points

Rays 1-0-0, 5 points

Twins 0-1-0, 1 point

Blue Jays 0-1-0, 1 point

Yankees 0-1-0, 1 point


GIants 1-0-0, 5 points

Dodgers 0-0-1, 3 points

Padres 0-0-1, 3 points

Rockies 0-1-0, 1 point

Diamondbacks 0-0-0, 0 points

Cubs 0-0-0, 0 points

Pirates 0-0-0, 0 points

Reds 0-0-0, 0 points

Cardinals 0-0-0, 0 points

Brewers 0-0-0, 0 points


Marlins 1-0-0, 5 points

Phillies 1-0–0, 5 points

Braves 0-1-0, 1 point

Mets 0-1-0, 1 point

Nationals 0-0-0, 0 points

White Sox 0-0-0, 0 points

Tigers 0-0-0, 0 points

Rangers 0-0-0, 0 points


Astros 1-0-0, 5 points

Angels  0-0-1, 1 point

Athletics 0-0-0, 0 points

Mariners 0-0-0, 0 points

Rangers 0-0-0, 0 points

Royals 0-0-0, 0 points

Upcoming schedule

All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA









Thank you very much,

Dr. Paul Drew, assistant youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA,  editor and publisher of Swish

in News, Sports
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