Welcome to the eighth 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.
Ever wonder the origins of the current NBA champions, the Golden State Warriors? You might be surprised to know that they originally came from Philadelphia, and moved to the San Francisco Bay Area in 1962, and more importantly, they were borne out of the Philadelphia SPHAs, (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) and headed up by Eddie Gottlieb, a Philadelphia native who tried, through various leagues and teams, to bring about both national and Philadelphia-based basketball associations to the country. He was player-coach for a long time, eventually winning a title with the Warriors in the early days of the NBA.
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By Karen Guenther
In 1917, a group of Jewish high school graduates in Philadelphia formed a basketball team that competed against other local teams. Affiliated with the Young Men’s Hebrew Association (YMHA) at first, the team soon became known as the SPHAS (South Philadelphia Hebrew Association) after the YMHA withdrew its sponsorship because it considered the sport too violent. Except for a couple of seasons in the 1920s, the team kept the name SPHAS until it disbanded in 1959 after achieving a long record of success.
Eddie Gottlieb (1898-1979), Harry “Chickie” Passon (1897-1954), and Edwin “Hughie” Black (1897-1986) organized the team after graduating from South Philadelphia High School. Black and Gottlieb, who then attended the School of Pedagogy at Temple University, joined with Passon and other friends to compete in the minor league American League of Philadelphia for two seasons with the support of the YMHA. Next, the SPHA sponsored the team, and even though the organization soon withdrew its support, the team retained the name. By the early 1920s, the SPHAS no longer needed sponsorship after Gottlieb, Black, and Passon opened a sporting goods store to provide their own uniforms (by the end of the decade, Passon bought out his partners to form Passon Sporting Goods, which became Philadelphia’s leading sporting goods store). The SPHAS played in the American League until 1922, then spent one season in the Manufacturer’s League, which mostly consisted of company teams.
Active as a team from 1917 into the 1950s, the SPHAS were moderately successful in both the Eastern Basketball League and American Basketball League. After being sold by Eddie Gottlieb in 1950, the SPHAS became the Washington Generals, the team best remembered for consistently losing to the basketball entertainment team, the Harlem Globetrotters. (Special Collections Research Center, Temple University Libraries)
Philadelphia Jews ardently supported the team, which continued to play with a majority of Jewish athletes. Other teams also had Jewish players, but they were most dominant on the SPHAS. Fans packed the ballroom of the Broadwood Hotel on North Broad Street to watch the SPHAS Saturday night games, then went dancing after the games. The team also retained a connection with Temple University, which served as a local college pipeline for players. The team won its first professional title at the end of the 1923-24 season, while playing in the Philadelphia League. Under Gottlieb’s leadership, the SPHAS became one of the top teams in Philadelphia and traveled to play outside the regional league. After one season (1926) in the short-lived Eastern League, Gottlieb scheduled games against teams competing in the American Basketball League and prominent barnstorming teams, including the Original Celtics and New York Renaissance (the Rens).
After playing for one season (1926-27) as the Warriors in the American Basketball League, the team once again became the SPHAS and joined a revived Eastern Basketball League for 1929-30. Clearly the best team in the league, with a new star in future Temple University basketball coach Harry Litwack (1907-99), the SPHAS won the league’s championship in three of the four years of its existence.
Success continued between 1933 and 1947, as the SPHAS reached the playoffs twelve times and won seven championships in a new American Basketball League (ABL), formed in 1933. The team continued to play in the ABL after it reverted to a minor league following the 1945-46 season, with less success. Meanwhile, Gottlieb became coach and general manager of the Philadelphia Warriors as a franchise in the new Basketball Association of America (forerunner of the National Basketball Association) and he brought some of the SPHAS’ top players with him. Litwack, who also coached Temple’s men’s basketball team, took over as coach of the SPHAS.
In 1950 Gottlieb sold the SPHAS, and former star Louis “Red” Klotz (1920-2014) found a new role for the team as one of three touring opponents for the Harlem Globetrotters. Klotz changed the team’s name, first to the Washington Generals in honor of President Dwight D. Eisenhower (1890-1969) and later to the Baltimore Rockets. Under Klotz’s leadership, the SPHAS went from being a championship-caliber team to the brunt of the Globetrotters’ hijinks. The SPHAS officially ceased operations in October 1959 but could look back on success as one of Philadelphia’s championship basketball teams from the first half of the century. To the end, the team retained its predominantly Jewish identity.
Eddie Gottlieb assumed many roles in his basketball career, including coach, owner, and promoter. Under his leadership the Philadelphia SPHAS, a team he had a hand in creating in 1917, achieved their greatest success, capturing multiple championship titles and establishing themselves as a force to be reckoned with in basketball.
Gottlieb was instrumental in the merger between the Basketball Association of American and the National Basketball League, which ultimately became the modern, premier basketball league, the NBA (National Basketball Association). Gottlieb demonstrated a brilliant mind for basketball in coaching the SPHAS to championship success, but he also enjoyed success as owner of the Philadelphia Warriors, which won an NBA championship in 1956. Gottlieb was inducted into the Naismith Basketball Hall of Fame in 1972.
Karen Guenther is Professor of History at Mansfield University and author of Sports in Pennsylvania, published by the Pennsylvania Historical Association.
Copyright 2017, Rutgers University
This was a very exciting and close game in the first half, as our Rays lead the Twins 4-2 after the first quarter and 8-6 at the half on buckets by Rosalina Storstein and Aaron Dyner; while Vitalina Moncher controlled the paint for us. The second half was a different story, as the Twins got hot and started hitting from everywhere; while our shooters had no such luck. We had plenty of shots, but nothing would fall. At the same time, we didn’t show our usual aggression on defense. Thus, we suffered a disappointing loss, but the Twins did play very well and deserved the victory. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
With the Orioles missing a key player, our Rays figured we would jump out to a lead and coast to victory, but the Orioles played great defense from the start. After baskets by our Vitalina Moncher and their Tristan Holden , the game was only 2-2 after the first quarter. Fortunately, our defense remained strong from start to finish and did not allow another basket by the Orioles. Vitalina would hit another bucket and Aaron Dyner would drop 3 buckets to lead us to a comfortable win.
The key story in this game was who else scored for our Rays. Vitalina was under orders by her coach (dad) to feed the ball all game to players who don’t get to shoot often or are too timid to shoot. Later in the game, I gave the same instructions to Aaron and our two key players were wonderful at it. Everyone got multiple chances to score and just about everyone did. Teddy Franklin played very well and got a bucket; much to the delight of all. Kai Badat scored his very first bucket of his short Y hoops career. That would have been enough to have our Rays hoop family leave the gym very happy, but the highlight of the game came when the always-smiling Mariama Belew scored her first basket in her three seasons here at the Y. As we close out the season, this was a wonderful team win. submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
March Madness started early this year with an entertaining late-afternoon game between the Reds and the Giants.
The Reds jumped out to a 4-0 1st quarter lead thanks to an early bucket by Elliot Ma, and Felix Idell’s fast-break score off the Leo Epstein assist. The Giants responded well with a 10-4 run in the 2nd quarter to take the lead going into halftime.
The second half was even better. Erol Besincioglu connected on a runner off the glass to go along with his 5 rebounds. Alex Ma added 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 1 assist while keeping the team organized on offense.
As momentum continued to swing back and forth, Koa Entsminger, Lara Masood and Sienna Shickler were solid; playing good man-to-man defense, helping the Reds keep the game close going into the 4th quarter. Down 14-12 to start the 4th, Leo Epstein found ways to make even more of an impact on the game, finishing with 4 points, 6 rebounds, 1 steal, and 1 assist. Elliot Ma and Alex Ma were clutch on defense down the stretch, giving the Reds a chance at the end.
As the teams traded baskets in the final 2 minutes of the game; it came down to whoever had the ball last. Twelve seconds left…down 22-20…no time outs. The Reds quickly inbound the ball after the Giants made-basket. Felix Idell gets the ball, quickly dribbles up the court, finds daylight at the 3-point line, and drills a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the game.
Final score Reds 23 Giants 22. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood
Our Brewers took on the Padres in a Saturday Bantam League match up with 1st place at stake for both teams. Sebastian Jukanovic continued his stellar play with two early baskets that gave us an early lead. In the 2nd quarter the game tightened up and at half was a close affair. In the the 2nd half, Sammy Levi, and Alan Larkin got going with multiple baskets and Noah Hagooli- Bolonas chipped in a clutch late shot as well. A big shout out to Julian Weinerman, who after a month away, provided a huge lift for us playing strong defense on the Padres top scorers all game, At the end, we held our breath as the Padres had multiple free throws to pull out a victory. They came up just short and we hung on with another exciting victory 24-21
Saturday, March 2, the Giants played an exciting game against the Reds. It was close throughout the game. In the closing seconds, James Petrovich made a crucial two point basket to put the Giants up 22 – 20. However, in the last play the game, with seconds, left, Felix Idell made a three pointer to put the Reds up 23 -22. It was an awesome game on both sides, and one of the most exciting all season!
Abby Ma and Vihaan Nawathe led the Giants scoring, both with 6 points each. Sadie Stiehm and Petrovich each scored 4 points, and Harlan Mansfield rounded out a solid performance with 2 points. Mansfield also had 7 rebounds, 1 block, and a steal. Mansfield showed what teamwork was, leading with three assists, followed by Petrovich, Ma, and Stiehm each with one assist.
This was also the most well rounded performance by the Giants. They lit up the boards to keep the game close. Petrovich and Nawathe led the team with 9 rebounds each, Ma with 2, Stiehm with 4, Mansfield with 7, Jaxton Moore with 5 boards, and Jacopo Stabilini with one rebound.
The Giants also had some great defensive plays, with Petrovich snagging 3 steals, and Ma, Stiehm, Nawathe, and Mansfield each grabbing a steal to help keep the game close. Great job to the Reds and Giants for a memorable game! Submitted by Jason Moore
The Rangers Adriani Potomianos secures the rebound against the Angels. Photo by Nick Toren
Our Angels played their poorest game of the season, with too many missed shots and missed opportunities to get a win. After we spent practice time on boxing-out, the A’s still out-worked us in the paint and earned the 31-24 victory. Timosha Moncher lead us with 10 points and Dom Kajota added 9. One of those games where you just put it behind you and move on. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
The Astros Kyle Habib put on a sharpshooting display worthy of “Player of the Game” honors. Photo by Tram Habib
The Rangers were missing some key ball-handlers, so our Angels decided to play a relaxed zone instead of our usual full-court press. This kept the game more fun and enjoyable for all and allowed some players from both teams to get more shot attempts than usual. It was nice to see Taylor Chen scoring and Sheamus Daniels had the best game of his Majors career. Jesse Lister also scored and played well, as did Sebastian Fouquette. Amir Jahromi and Lorenzo Stabilini each had a few buckets to go with their solid work in the paint.
Dom Kajota (17) and Timosha Moncher (15) hit everything from 3’s to lay-ups, as the combination of their speed and the absence of key players on the Rangers was too much for the Rangers on this day. With all our Angels working hard and contributing, this was a very nice team win. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
The Rangers Eli Eng dribbles against the defense of the Angels Timosha Moncher. Photo by Nick Toren
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 is the Shickler family. Proud parents Mark and Catherine always attend their two daughters’ (Siena and Marina) games, not only to support them, but to support all players in the program. Siena is currently playing for the Bantam league Reds, and Marina is playing for the Minor league Phillies. These sisters show that their love for the game is not about winning, but building long and lasting friendships with their teammates, and playing the game for fun.
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about playing basketball at the YMCA?
Marina: I like to work as a team and share victories and happiness with my teammates and coaches. I like the suspenseful and close games and showing how aggressive I can be. It is also fun to win player of the game awards and going against new opponents. When I’m not playing with my team, I enjoy practicing with my dad and sister.
Siena: What I enjoy most is driving, being aggressive, making assists, rebounding, dribbling fast, teamwork, and making friends.
DocDrew: What are your most memorable or favorite moments in your basketball career at the YMCA?
Marina: So far, my favorite game and the one I will probably remember for a very long time was the game I had eared my very first player of the game award during my last game of my first season. It was so important to me that I still have the paper inside a frame, hung up on the wall! I think that I got that award because my last two free throws broke the tie against the other team and it won the game.
Siena: I like the all-star games the most because you meet more kids/players.
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about having your girls play basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Catherine and Mark: This is the third season for the girls and they both love it. We really like how well organized the Santa Monica YMCA basketball program is with a lot of great staff and volunteers who really care about the kids. We really enjoy seeing so much improvement in their basketball skills, the high emphasis on sportsmanship and team play, and how happy they are.
The Shickler family giving magical blessings from Hogwarts.
The Santa Monica YMCA thanks the Shickler family for all their support to the players, coaches, and the program.
Saturday, March 2nd
TOURNAMENT SEMI FINALS (6-4 POINTS)
Rays 11, Twins 20
Red Sox 12, Yankees 9
Rockies 7, Cardinals 4
Padres 21, Brewers 24
Giants 22, Reds 23
No games scheduled
TOURNAMENT SEMI FINALS (6-4 POINTS)
Astros 43, Mariners 35
Angels 24, Athletics 31
Sunday, March 3rd
Rays 15, Orioles 4
Red Sox 14, Blue Jays 6
No games scheduled
“A” TOURNAMENT SEMI FINALS (6-4 POINTS)
Marlins 20, Mets 16
Phillies 22, Nationals 32
“B” TOURNAMENT SEMI FINALS
Rangers 36, Braves 24
TIgers 41, White Sox 39 OT *White Sox received 3 points in standings for tie in regulation
Astros 61, Royals 37
Angels 51, Rangers 44
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.
Rays 6-2-0, 33 points *Rays and Red Sox are (1-1-0) against each other, but Rays have better record of (1-1-0) against Twins, than Red Sox (0-1-0) against Twins
Red Sox 6-2-0, 33 points
Twins 5-3-0, 28 points
Yankees 4-4-0, 24 points
Orioles 3-5-0, 20 points
Blue Jays 0-8-0, 8 points
Brewers 6-2-0, 32 points
Padres 5-2-1, 30 points
Dodgers 5-1-1, 29 points
Rockies 5-3-0, 28 points
Cardinals 4-4-0, 24 points *Cardinals beat both Diamondbacks and Reds head to head
Reds 4-4-0, 24 points *Reds beat Diamondbacks head to head
Diamondbacks 4-4-0, 24 points
Pirates 3-5-0, 20 points
Giants 1-7-0, 12 points
Cubs 1-6-0, 11 points
Marlins 6-2-0, 33 points
Phillies 5-3-0, 29 points
Nationals 5-3-0, 28 points *one loss by forfeit
Mets 4-4-0, 24 points *one loss by forfeit
Rangers 4-4-0, 23 points *one loss by forfeit, Rangers beat Tigers head to head
Tigers 4-4-0, 23 points *one loss by forfeit
White Sox 2-5-1, 18 points
Braves 0-8-0, 8 points
Astros 7-1-0, 37 points
Athletics 6-2-0, 33 points
Angels 5-2-1, 31 points
Mariners 3-3-1, 21 points
Royals 2-6-0 16 points
Rangers 0-8-0, 8 points
All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA
THURSDAY, MARCH 7, 2019
5:25 PM Dodgers vs Cubs
SATURDAY, MARCH 9, 2019
10:30 AM Orioles vs Blue Jays
TOURNAMENT 3RD PLACE GAME (6-4-2 POINTS)
11:40 AM Rays vs Yankees
“B” TOURNAMENT 3RD PLACE GAME
12:50 PM White Sox vs Braves
“A” TOURNAMENT 3RD PLACE GAME (6-4-2 POINTS)
2:00 PM Mets vs Phillies
“B” TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP GAME (6-4-2 POINTS)
3:10 PM Tigers vs Rangers
TOURNAMENT CONSOLATION GAME
4:20 PM Royals vs Rangers
TOURNAMENT 3RD PLACE GAME (6-4-2 POINTS)
5:30 PM Mariners vs Angels
SUNDAY, MARCH 10, 2019****CHAMPIONSHIP SUNDAY****
10:30 AM Dodgers vs Giants
11:40 AM Padres vs Cubs
12:50 PM Rockies vs Reds
2:00 PM Diamondbacks vs Brewers
3:10 PM Pirates vs Cardinals
TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP (7-5-3 POINTS)
4:20 PM Red Sox vs Twins
“A” TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP (7-5-3 POINTS)
5:30 PM Nationals vs Marlins
TOURNAMENT CHAMPIONSHIP (7-5-3 POINTS)
6:40 PM Athletics vs Angels
MONDAY, MARCH 11, 2019
4:20 PM PLAYERS VS PARENTS GAME
5:30 PM PLAYERS VS PARENTS GAME
TUESDAY, MARCH 12, 2019
4:20 PM ? BLUE JAYS VS ROOKIE ALL STARS
5:30 PM ? BRAVES VS MINOR ALL STARS
6:40 PM ? RANGERS VS MAJOR ALL STARS*
**THESE GAMES WILL ONLY BE PLAYED IF THE BLUE JAYS, BRAVES AND/OR THE RANGERS DO NOT WIN IN ANY OF THEIR FINAL REGULAR SEASON (TOURNAMENT) GAMES. PLAYERS COMPETING FOR ALL STAR TEAMS WILL BE NOTIFIED BY EMAIL PRIOR TO THE GAME.
SATURDAY, MARCH 16, 2019****ALL STAR SATURDAY****
10:30 AM ROOKIE ALL STAR GAME
11:40 AM ROOKIE STARS VS BANTAM STARS
12:50 PM BANTAM ALL STAR GAME
2:00 PM BANTAM STARS VS MINOR STARS
3:10 PM MINOR ALL STAR GAME
4:20 PM MINOR STARS VS MAJOR STARS
5:30 PM MAJOR ALL STAR GAME
6:40 PM MAJOR ALL STAR GAME
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, assistant youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish