February 27, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

DocDrew’s Swish Issue 5, Volume 3

By Dr. Paul Drew

Welcome to the fifth issue of volume three 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.

This past May 5th was “Cinco de Mayo” which is a celebration of the Mexican army defeating the superior French army in the Battle of Puebla in 1862.

In honor of the pride of Mexico, the following article, from June 2017, is about their most beloved youth basketball team, The Triqui, and the Mexican Indigenous Basketball Academy.  It shows when adversity and difficulties are facing someone, hard work and dedication can help to overcome those challenges in life and lead to success.


Barefoot and beyond: Basketball academy builds hope in Mexico

Members of the Mexican Indigenous Basketball Academy’s A-team scrimmage during an early-morning practice at the school’s campus near Oaxaca City. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN
Tim Duncan was caught flat-footed by the Triqui players when the Spurs shared the court with them in Mexico City in 2013. Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

The San Antonio Spurs won the 2014 NBA championship after finishing with a league-best 62 wins, but one loss didn’t show up on their record that season. Before a December 2013 game in Mexico City against the Minnesota Timberwolves, the Spurs were blown out by a team of small boys without shoes.

Those 10- and 11-year-old kids — the A-team from the Mexican Indigenous Basketball Academy (ABIM in Spanish) — had made headlines around the world a couple of months earlier by winning an international tournament in Argentina while playing barefoot. They barely reached the waists of the NBA stars, but they flew past the Spurs, crossing over Patty Mills and draining layups over Tim Duncan. The Spurs moved slowly; they had decided to take their shoes off like the young boys, but unlike the kids, they weren’t used to playing ball barefoot.

The teams laughed and spoke through the universal language of basketball. The only pro who could communicate in Spanish with the youngsters, members of the indigenous Triqui tribe from the mountains in the southern Mexico state of Oaxaca, was Manu Ginobili.

“He gave us a tip, that we’d have to work hard at the sport, but also in our studies so that we can get ahead — and never to give up,” Maximiliano Celestino Rodriguez recalled in Spanish.

Ginobili’s message meant a lot to the basketball-loving kids from some of the most impoverished and illiterate regions of Mexico, and four years later they are on the verge of their next big accomplishment. Their coach and mentor, Sergio Ramirez Zuñiga, is in the final stages of organizing scholarships to American and Spanish schools so the A-team members can continue their high school careers and be one step closer to their college dreams.

Tim Duncan was caught flat-footed by the Triqui players when the Spurs shared the court with them in Mexico City in 2013. Edgard Garrido/REUTERS

Another big change since their days in the spotlight? They no longer play barefoot thanks to the increase of donations and other funding that came with the academy’s exposure.

“At the beginning it was a bit uncomfortable, but little by little, we got used to using shoes,” Maximiliano, now 15, said at one of the academy’s campuses outside of Oaxaca City. “Now it’s more comfortable.”

But shoes were not the only thing they’ve had to get used to. In the Triqui region, most children never finish elementary school and are put to work. Both boys and girls are often married by the age of 15.

“I worked in the fields with my parents before,” Maximiliano said. “They told me that school wasn’t important going forward.”

On an early May morning, Maximiliano and the other members of the A-team ended their practice with a cheer counting the numbers off in their native tongue, “1-2-3-Triqui!” In the academy, the 7-9 a.m. practice is only the beginning of a full day. To stay in the program, the players must attend classes and maintain an 8.5 grade average (out of 10). But Maximiliano doesn’t mind. He likes school now and hopes to attend college, something no one in his family has ever done, and study civil engineering.

The players from Mexico’s indigenous Triqui tribe gained attention a few years ago by winning tournaments without wearing shoes, but they don’t compete barefoot anymore. Miguel Tovar/LatinContent/Getty Images

THE ABIM WAS FOUNDED by Zuñiga in 2010 with a single campus in an isolated Triqui community, but in 2014 two locations were added — a second-tier school in the seaside resort of Huatulco and the A-team’s current complex outside of the state capital of Oaxaca City.

After the barefoot boys’ success brought international recognition to the academy, Zuñiga was able to expand the program thanks to money he makes from giving lectures and leading workshops as well as government funding. In addition to the 150 boys and girls who live full time at the three campuses, the program has basketball initiatives in many communities that benefit around 1,500 other children.

Zuñiga grew up in Mexico City and played several seasons in Mexico’s professional basketball league before retiring to pursue his education. One of his wife’s relatives had done volunteer work in the Triqui region, and he wanted to help after hearing about the culture’s underage brides, polygamy and the poverty and violence in the area. He lived in the region for a stretch in 2009 and 2010, spending at least a week in each of the 32 Triqui communities

Coach and academy founder Sergio Zuñiga runs his son, Dylan, and Bernabe Martinez de Jesus through drills. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

“It was sad to see the adult’s issues affecting the Triqui children, because the children are the future,” Zuñiga said. “I realized the only way I could positively affect the situation was to focus on the children, and not the adults.”

The region had been dealing with heightened levels of violence. Weeks before Zuñiga’s arrival, two human rights activists were murdered while investigating the deaths of two local journalists. The leaders of the region were wary of Zuñiga’s intentions.

“They said I was in the secret service, that the government had sent me to spy on them, to study them,” he said.

Zuñiga made promises to the kids and their families — that he’d take the players to tournaments around Mexico, and then in three years he’d take them to tournaments in the United States, and in five years to Europe. He didn’t need that long.

Bernabe shares a laugh with his teammates during breakfast at the academy. Before joining the program, he usually had only one meal per day. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

Since the 2013 tournament in Argentina put the A-team on the map, the players have traveled to more than a dozen countries on three continents. They have won tournaments across Mexico, as well as in the United States, Uruguay, Germany, El Salvador and Italy. On June 30, they’ll return to Spain to defend the Barcelona Basketball Cup, a tournament they won last year.

When talking to the team members, few mentioned playing in the NBA as a goal, although they’re all big fans — especially of the Spurs. They openly discussed how it would be difficult for any Triqui to make the league because, as they continually joked, they’re not a tall people. But don’t sell them short, their coach said.

“These kids, they’re the leaders that are going to change things in their communities very soon,” Zuñiga said.

ALTHOUGH IN RECENT YEARS the violence in the Triqui region has diminished, it hasn’t stopped completely.

Bernabe Martinez de Jesus ate breakfast, laughing with his teammates, before class. He showed no signs of sadness, but later, speaking alone, his tone changed.

“A few months ago, Bernabe’s father was murdered,” Zuñiga said.

Bernabe shares a laugh with his teammates during breakfast at the academy. Before joining the program, he usually had only one meal per day. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

Bernabe and teammate Maximiliano Celestino Rodriguez grew up in the remote town of Lazaro Cardenas Copala, where the roads are unpaved and there’s no cellphone reception. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

“It’s sad that he’s no longer here,” the 15-year-old Bernabe said. “But hopefully he’d be happy with what I’m doing.”

Bernabe reflected on his childhood before the ABIM program. He said he usually had one meal a day and meat only once a month. Most days he worked in the fields with his parents, and he hardly ever attended school, which he didn’t like. But now he hopes to be a doctor and return to the Triqui region, where medical services are extremely limited.

“This is a great opportunity for me, to finish my studies,” he said. “In the region, all the kids, 12, 13 years old, are getting high, drinking alcohol, other things.

“I hope that I can change everything, to fix the ways of my town.”

Bernabe and teammate Maximiliano Celestino Rodriguez grew up in the remote town of Lazaro Cardenas Copala, where the roads are unpaved and there’s no cellphone reception. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

Bernabe and Maximiliano are both from the town of Lazaro Cardenas Copala. It takes five hours to get there from Oaxaca City on winding roads, dodging potholes and stray dogs through the scenic mountain terrain. The town is a smattering of tin-roofed houses and dirt streets, outside of cellphone reception.

Bernabe was raised in a polygamous family with two mothers. His birth mother, Paulina Guzman Garcia, is being cared for at the home of one of his 14 siblings. As she sat in a chair outside looking despondent, her gaze hardly left the ground. She doesn’t speak Spanish — only the native Triqui language — and she communicated through Guillermo Merino, a coach from the Triqui region and a protégé of Zuñiga’s.

She didn’t mention her murdered husband or the majority of her children who have immigrated to the United States in search of opportunity. She was unaware that Bernabe wanted to be a doctor and return to the community. She said it seemed like a very good idea; the community needed the help.

Walking across the town, Merino stopped at a house, calling in to a 15-year-old boy who had been kicked out of the academy for misbehaving and failing to maintain his grades. The boy didn’t seem to want to engage in a conversation, but eventually he admitted he had no intention to go back to school and instead planned to immigrate illegally to the United States because there was no opportunity in the region.

Maximiliano’s mother, in traditional Triqui dress, poses next to the basketball hoop she and her husband built at their home in Lazaro Cardenas Copala. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPNBernabe, right, plays defense against Maximiliano during practice at the campus near Oaxaca City. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

At Maximiliano’s house, his mother fed hens and chickens who roamed the property. Her granddaughter, Maximiliano’s niece, played nearby with a toy made from a tin can and a string. Tears came to her eyes as she and Merino spoke for several minutes in Triqui, and she peppered him with questions about her absent son.

She said she missed Maximiliano a lot, but she knew it was better for him to be away studying. She admitted she had trouble properly feeding him and his nine siblings. She hopes one day he’ll have a stable job and be able to help the family and the community. She said she didn’t worry about her son being in the program; she worried only about the air travel because she had heard stories of planes crashing.

A wooden basketball net no higher than six feet stood outside the house. Maximiliano’s mother said the family had to rebuild it many times because the kids dunked on it so much. She agreed to be photographed only if she could go inside first and change into her Huipil — a traditional Triqui dress.

Some rain and a canceled game didn’t stop the academy’s 13-year-old girls’ team from getting some time on the court in Putla. Nathaniel Janowitz for ESPN

The town appears to be formed around the elementary school, where in the middle sits a basketball court, as if the court itself was the town’s main plaza.

“In the Triqui region, everyone plays basketball,” Merino explained. “Every community has a basketball court. We only recently started getting soccer pitches.”

WHILE BERNABE AND MAXIMILIANO train and study at the Oaxaca City campus of the ABIM with the A-team, most of the academy’s students are at the two other campuses. The B-teams live at the Huatulco facility, while the others are at the original campus in a small town in the Triqui region called Santa Cruz Rio Venado — 30 minutes from Lazaro Cardenas Copala.

Marcelo Garcia is a member of the government in the Constancia del Rosario municipality, which encompasses the Triqui region. He works as a liaison between the communities and various youth initiatives and explained that the ABIM program has provided important access to education in a region where many never finish their studies.

“We continue to be concerned for the youths,” Garcia said, specifically discussing the girls, who often are very young when they start bearing children. “Here, a problem is that they marry at a very early age.”

Around 100 boys and girls live and study at the ABIM campus in Rio Venado.

One recent morning, the girls’ 13-year-old team piled into the back of a truck to drive 30 minutes into Putla, the municipal capital of the region, for a game against a local middle school. But it was raining by the time they arrived, and the outdoor game was canceled. The girls were undeterred.

Even though the other team was a no-show, the ABIM players jumped onto the court and began scrimmaging, kicking off their shoes to play barefoot. They laughed when they missed shots and cheered when the ball sailed through the hoop. Their smiles were contagious.

“I love basketball,” 13-year-old Andrea Medina de Jesus said cheerfully. Andrea is in her third year at the academy. Like many kids in the program, she hopes soon to move to the Oaxaca City campus now that the A-team will soon be studying abroad. But as a Triqui girl, she knows that could be difficult.

“I have to ask my parents if I can continue to study and play basketball,” she said. “I’m the first woman in my family ever to study.”

She also hopes to be the first woman in her family to have a career — she wants to be a lawyer. Basketball has given her the opportunity to continue her studies; she can only hope her traditional parents are understanding and allow her to stay on the path.


The Pugs David Casparian controls the ball, as pressure is applied by Keanu Straughter of the Maltese.  Photo by Casper Casparian
Doxies versus Chihuahuas.  Photos by Breda Carroll

Pugs vs Maltese
The Pugs and Maltese matched up for the first time since the early-season scrimmage. The first half was entertaining, as both teams traded baskets and played solid team defense. The Maltese jumped out to an 8-4 lead at the half and looked to put the game away early. Undaunted, the Pugs responded with a run in the third quarter to make a game of it.
David Casparian was in good form with 6 points, 3 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal. Luca Samson also played well; tallying 4 points, 5 steals, 1 block, and 2 rebounds.
Laila Elliott also pitched in with 2 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal.  
Arya Namathe, Reyansh Varma, and Cruz Hecklin were active on defense causing a couple of tie-ups and tracking down loose ball possessions.  Adrian Liu also played well in his second game with the Pugs. Hawkins Wakefield showed some hustle on defense, diving on the floor and scrapping for defensive possessions.
The Maltese found a way around the Pugs Man-to-Man defense and broke the game open with an 8-2 run to finish off the game.
Final score: Pugs 10 – Maltese 20.  Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood

Chihuahuas versus Doxies.  Photo by Corey Smith

This weekend saw our Yorkies suffer a disappointing 14-14 tie in a game we lead from start until the last minutes of the game.  We slowly built up an 8-4 halfway time lead that we expanded to 14-6 after 3. That is typically an insurmountable lead at the Rookie level, but nobody told that to the Terriers.  With Vitalina Moncher (4 points, many steals and rebounds) sitting out the first part of the 4th quarter, our defense was lacking and the Terriers scored 6 straight to make it 14-12.  They soon hit another to make it 14-14 and the teams exchanged very tense possessions over the final moments of the game without anyone hitting the hero shot. Although we had far too many unforced errors that hurt our cause, the Terriers did hit a few wild and crazy shots in their 4th quarter run that typically would not drop, but did on this afternoon.  In addition to Vitalina’s efforts, Grace Samy had a nice game with 6 points and plenty of rebounds and steals. Kai Badat scored our other 4 points, as he played a very nice first half to help us build up a lead. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher

The Maltese Benji Saunders dribbles against the Pugs.  Photo by Casper Casparian

Terriers vs Yorkies
With both teams missing one of their better players (Teddy Franklin for Terriers & Rosalina Storstein for Yorkies) all the rest were suited up 9 players a piece.  1st quarter started slow with a just 2-0 Yorkies lead. The half ended 8-2 Yorkies lead, and by end of 3rd quarter it was strong 14-6 lead by the Yorkies. Terriers Roman Gabriel swished a long 11+ footer in the 3rd quarter and snagged a rebound and steal in the game as well.  
It was the 4th quarter though that Yorkies couldn’t find the bottom of the net and the Terriers caught an exciting streak between Rhys Scheflen & Tristan Hayes…Hayes added 4 of his 8 total game points, along with 6 rebounds, and 4 steals overall.  Scheflen, not only played invaluable tough defense all game long, but came up big in the 4th scoring 4 big & on time points, and pulled down 5 of his total 10 rebounds, plus had a block, and 2 steals overall.
Terriers Colson Moore had a steal, Eloise Siegler had a rebound, and they plus Keira Wheeler, Dylan Geary, Riyaan Bhatt, and Triton Hayes chipped in with defense.  By end of 3rd quarter the #1 Rookie record Yorkies sizable lead turned into an exciting ending with a 14-14 even tie. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes

This weekend our Chihuahuas team had an amazing game against the Doxies . This game was extremely competitive and was decided by the buzzer. Throughout the game Chihuahuas worked very hard on defense trying to stop the fire power of the Doxies , the game had ups and downs and we got into the 4th quarter losing by 4 points . Our team moved the ball quite well and Zander Chin , Dechen Lemond and Louis Meehan scored great baskets . Special mention to Richard Haro who played tremendous defense and score his first basket of the season. Thanks to the collective effort we were able to be down by one point in the last minute. With a great defensive play we were able to recover the ball with 20 seconds . We had a time out and discussed the play . We inbound the ball with Dechen who was tasked to attack the basket and draw the defense . He could take the shot or pass to our center Zander for a shot . Dechen attacked and Doxies defense collapsed , he was trapped and passed to Zander , Zander was also trapped and passed the ball to Louis who took the last shot at the buzzer and gave us the victory by one point . What a game !  Both teams compete very hard and learned a lot about why this game is so much fun. Submitted by Coach Armando Gonzalez

The Chihuahuas Louis Meehan Smith with the game winning shot to ensure victory over the Doxies.  Photo by Corey Smith

The Doxies, sitting at 1-1-1, played their old rivals the Chihuahuas on Cinco De Mayo, right after both teams posed for stylish photos. The paparazzi attention might have gotten to the Doxies’ heads though, because they were unable to keep their win streak against the Chihuahuas (one in a row, dating back to scrimmage era) alive.
All in attendance said the action was better than any NBA playoff game so far this season, with a back and forth affair involving four ties and five lead changes. Just like last week, all of the Doxies’ scoring was provided by just one player… but this time it wasn’t Juney Jones, it was Aiden Smith.. who single handedly kept the Doxies in it with 13 points, including completing a three-point play in the first half!
Unfortunately at the end, it was (ironically) the superior size of the Chihuahuas that ruled the day. Down by one with the ball and less than 30 seconds on the clock, they ran circles around the Doxies’ normally stingy defense. Finally, with just five seconds on the clock, the big man, #11, took an uncontested jumper from four feet away, drained it, and clinched the win, 14-13.  It was a tough loss for the Doxies, but everybody played hard. . The Doxies are still heavily favored to win it all, so long as they’re at full strength!
Submitted by Coach Josh Jones

Inbound pass for the Chihuahuas.  Photo by Corey Smith


Bantam action between the Bassets and Beagles.  Photos by Breda Carroll

Never underestimate your opponent, as the Schnauzers learned the hard way.   Prior to the game in which the Schnauzers were against the Pinschers, they were sizing up the Pinschers, and felt that their own overwhelming size, plus additional players would be an easy win for them.  Never judge a book by its cover as they say, because even though the Pinschers had 5 players, one being a Rookie player to help out, they gave the Schnauzers a lesson on grit and determination. Seconds into the game, the Pinschers Dominic Drew grabbed the opening tip and made a basket.  The Pinschers exploded to an early lead in which Dominic Drew and Michael Mikhail had designed their own play of Mikey making a backdoor cut, and Dominic passing it to him in motion. This play allowed Mikey to have a career high 8 field goals, with 7 of his baskets coming off assists from Dominic.  Keanu Straughter made key defensive plays, and Aiden Harvey got big rebounds. The biggest impact was made by Rookie phenom Tristan Hayes who came to help the Pinschers. He outboxed the bigger Schnauzers, and got multiple rebounds and steals, and proved that he can play in the Bantam league. The Schnauzers made a nice run in the 4th quarter, and had good performances and points by Miles Franklin(8), Vaughn Elliott(4), and Theo Richards(2), but it was career highs for the Pinschers Michael Mikhail with 17 points, and Dominic Drew with 7 assists, who was also distributing the ball to all his teammates, and was the floor general leading the the troops to victory.  Final score Pinschers 19, Schnauzers 14. Submitted by DocDrew

Best friends joined at the hip, Pinschers Dominic Drew and Michael Mikhail were both “Player of the Game”.  Dominic had a career high 7 assists, and Michael had a career high 17 points. Photo by Karim Mikhail
The Pinschers Tristan Hayes, Michael Mikhail, and Dominic Drew were the “Big 3” in their win over the Schnauzers.  Photo by Apolonia Drew

The Scotties took on the undefeated and 1st place Spaniels in a Saturday night Bantam match-up, and to all the parents and fans in attendance, the game did not disappoint. The Spaniels showed early on why they are undefeated, using great teamwork and tough defense to take an early lead. Brandon Israels then gave us a big lift by going 2 for 2 at the foul line and we only trailed 10-6 at the half. However, despite Ben Steelman’s relentless rebounding and Samantha Leeds tough defense the Spaniels went on a quick scoring run that led to a 20-8 deficit for us in the 3rd quarter. That’s when Dylan Kravitz decided to take over and singlehandedly got us back in the game scoring 10 points in the 2nd half en route to a game high 14 points cutting the lead to 4. Despite a late Alan Larkin basket we couldn’t get any closer and lost a close but exciting game 22-18.  Submitted by Coach Bill Kravitz

The Schnauzers Theo Richards launches his shot against the Pinschers defense.  Photo by Apolonia Drew

The Beagles — fresh off a heartbreaking April 28 loss to the league-leading Spaniels — got themselves out of the doghouse and back on track Saturday with a thrilling 22 – 18 victory over the hard-fighting Bassetts.  The two teams traded baskets for most of the game keeping fans on both sides guessing who would emerge as the game’s top dog. Jacopo Stabilini (a dominant force on offense) and Taylor Summers (a monster on defense) shared “Player of the Game” honors for The Beagles.  Team Captain Daisy Siegler and always tough Veronica Marchala also delivered solid games. The victory bring the Beagles back into the Bantam League title chase with just four games remaining. They will try to stir up another win against the Corgies on Sunday. Submitted by Coach Sean Daly

The Spaniels Koa Entsminger is splitting happy about being “Player of the Game”. Photo by Joy Chantarasompoth

Spaniels versus Scotties:  Wow! Now that was a great game.  It took us a minute to find our rhythm, however once we started spreading the ball around our shots started to fall. It seems teaching taking high percentage shots is starting to payoff.  It was an all around great team effort on both sides. Just when we thought we had it in the bag, the Scotties put their foot on the gas and made a great come back. However the resolve of our team had just enough to hold them at bay. That was one of the best all around games from both teams, and was definitely what YMCA youth basketball is all about.  Submitted by Coach Tony McLaurin

The Spaniels Noah McLaurin controls the action against the Scotties.  Photo by Pia O’Brien
The Spaniels Gavin O’Brien looks over the Scotties defense and sees his teammate Koa Entsminger is open.  Photo by Pia O’Brien
The Spaniels Gavin O’Brien with his patented left handed sideline shot against the Scotties defense.  Photo by Apolonia Drew

In another nail biter, the Shelties survived a staunch Corgie team to win 20-19.  Player of the game Elliot Ma had a workmanlike game with 8 points, 5 rebounds and a steal. However, the end of the game provided for some serious dramatics.  The end of regulation ended with a 18-18 tie, however the Corgies had 2 free throws, while the Shelties had 6. Jonathan Watson of the Corgies, stepped up a calmly drained his first free throw.  His second rimmed out, keeping the score at 19-18. Rayan Etemadnia took the first set of his four free throws, narrowly missing both. Up next Wiley Scheflen, who finished regulation with a basket and nice pick and roll assist to Elliot Ma.  His two free throws also rim out. With two free throws remaining and the Corgies clinging to a 1 point lead, overtime was now looking likely. Rayan (“iceman”) Etemadnia stepped up and swished his first free throw knotting the game at 19-19. He calmly then proceeded to swish his next free throw lifting the Shelties to a 20-19 victory, and Rayan finishing with 6 points, 2 rebounds, and a steal. Aiden Lin played a solid defensive game while chipping in 4 points and 2 rebounds.  Sienna Shickler grabbed 4 rebounds. Submitted by Coach Suraj Gohill

The Shelties Elliot Ma had a complete all around game to receive “Player of the Game” honors, in his game against the Corgies.  Photo by Sherman Ma


Minors Game of the Week: Collies vs. Dalmations:
The early Saturday contest provided some great drama as the game concluded. With the Dalmations fully staffed with players and the Collies with only six players for the game, what a roller coaster ride. The game was thoroughly dominated by the Dalmations in the first three quarters with Sophia Levi playing well for the fire departments best friend. The score was 20-3 at the end of the third quarter. What started to look as a “let’s just show up and play game” quickly changed as the game entered the fourth quarter. Kalen Anderson pulled off his best Damian Lillard of the Portland Trailblazers performance that will be remembered for some time scoring 14 points in the fourth quarter. Amelia Hess also contributed with two baskets in the fourth quarter and provided some great defense. Aidan Man also contributed with key rebounding and defense down the stretch. The Collies stout defense held the Dalmations to zero points in the fourth quarter. Kalen “Dame” Anderson hit 4 3-point shots in the fourth quarter, shooting with pure ice in his veins. With under five seconds left and the score 18-20 Dalmations leading, Anderson dribbled the ball to the left side of the court, stepped up a foot behind the 3-point line and nailed the game winner as time expired! A true classic comeback for the Collies. Anderson finished the game with 17 points and a handful of steals and rebounds. At the end of regulation the score was 21-20. The  Collies hit two free throws to secure a 23-20 final. Submitted by Coach John Baracy

Player of the Game, the Collies Kalen Anderson had a 4th quarter that will be remembered for the ages, as he scored 14 points and a buzzer beater 3, to help his team overcome a 17 point 4th quarter deficit to beat the Collies.  Photo by John Baracy
The Wolfhounds Ryan Schuster is closely guarded by the Setters Aysu Agahayeva.  Photo by Marie Elena Rigo

The Wolfhounds scored their first victory of season over a tough and hot shooting Setters team. The Wolfhounds had some experience playing the Setters – as they practice at the same time and often scrimmage but the real game brought a new level of intensity. This was the 2nd week that the hounds employed a 3-1-1 half-court trap. And thanks to some great defensive pressure, it resulted in some turnovers and fastbreak opportunities.  The hounds had a balanced scoring attack. Joseph Zak led the effort with 8 points (including getting fouled on a critical 3 pointer). Ryan Chambers backed him up with 5 – including a 3 pointer. Ryan Schuster, Ronin Sullivan, Mohammed Jahromi and Alex Ghiassi also found the scoring column. Schuster and Sullivan contributed numerous steals, Jahromi was a beast on the boards and Ghiassi brought on court leadership and a HUGE block. Patrick Chiang, Wyatt Wang and Donna Enayati brought defensive intensity to the trap and all took sound and confident shot attempts. This week should be a challenge at the take on the undefeated Akitas and one loss Pointers. After an intense Monday practice, these hounds are up for the challenge!  Submitted by Coach Jonathan Schuster

The Pointers played a good game predicated upon team defense. We focused on individual defense and rebounding.  We limited the number of poor shots and tried to keep everyone involved on offense. The player of the game was Tavio Esposito who led the charge on defense with a critical steal to change the momentum of the game.  In the end we won 25-17 vs. the Collies. Submitted by coach Elan Mevasse

The Pointers Tavio Esposito was “Player of the Game” for his great all around performance.  Photo by Warren Doi

Minors: Collies vs. Wolfhounds
The Collies started this game hot and never took the foot of the pedal. Parker Cappiccille, Kalen Anderson and Max Hinton led the way for the Collies with aggressive offensive play and tough defense. The Collies, sporting their traditional gold uniforms in the outing, spread the floor well with looking for open teammates and finding the open player for baskets in transition. The Collies also dominated the boards outrebounding the Wolfhounds, sporting their traditional red colors for the matchup. In the end, the Collies proved too much with a 35-16 victory and were forced to play 3 point and key defense due to their large lead most of the game.  Submitted by Coach John Baracy


The Boxers Dom Kajota controls the action against the Greyhounds.  Photos by Rit Tun

The Boxers remain undefeated this season after beating the Greyhounds 49-34 on Sunday.  Dom Kajota got off to a strong start, knocking down 3 treys in the first quarter. He finished with 22 points, including 5 three-pointers and 3 of 4 free throws.  Quest Miller and Isaac Rockwell both had solid games, finishing with 10 points each. Jake Ronn scored a basket and is showing steady improvement. The Boxers really shined from the charity stripe, making 10 of 14 free throw attempts.  Eric Papazian was 4 for 4 from the line. At one point in the second half, the Boxers were down to just five healthy players due to injuries and illnesses. They will need to stay healthy to fend off teams seeking to knock out the undefeated Boxers.  Submitted by Coach Jonathan Wray

The Greyhounds Timosha Moncher is able to launch his shot over the much taller Isaac Rockwell of the Boxers.  Photo by Rit Tun
The Boxers Dom Kajota gave it everything he had, and earned “Player of the Game”.  He was gracious enough to let me take a photo, even though he was exhausted.
Majors action between the Danes and Mastiffs

Although I could see some of my Greyhounds were very tentative about facing the much larger Boxers, I felt all we needed was a good start to gain them confidence.  As the first half progressed, the Boxers stayed 8-10 points ahead until we made a nice run to cut it to 22-20 with just seconds left in the half. We had the momentum until we failed to box-out and rebound and gave the Boxers three chances under the their basket in the last 10 seconds and they hit a short buzzer-beater to deflate us a bit and take a 24-20 lead.  They then hit 4 of 6 halftime free throws to further dampen the Greyhounds spirits.
If both teams would have been at full strength, this looked to be a great game on paper, but I felt we didn’t match the energy of the Boxers.  We also didn’t screen well and, more importantly, didn’t switch when the Boxers screened us, so we will work hard on improving in those areas. There weren’t many bright spots for us on this day, but Travis Waters had a career high 7 points, Amir Jahromi had 7 points and worked hard in the paint, and Timosha Moncher lead us with 10 points.  With their very large center being 3x the size of Timosha, he and our other fast guards were a non-factor in the paint. There was a lot to be learned from this game and I expect a very close game if we meet again in the season-ending playoffs. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher

It was a great day for the Stabilini family as both boys received “Player of the Game”.  Lorenzo for the Major league Danes, and Jacopo for the Bantam league Beagles. Photos by Pier Stabilini

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 Steelman family:  Parents William and Melissa have their two sons Ben and Luke playing youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA.  Ben is a veteran of YMCA basketball and is currently in the Bantams with younger brother Luke who is also a veteran to YMCA basketball.

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

Ben: Having fun with friends.

Luke: Practicing my shooting, and snacks after the game.

DocDrew:  What are your most memorable moments in your basketball career at the Santa Monica YMCA?

Ben: The summer league and the chance to compete with the Culver City YMCA a few years ago.

Luke: When Marko Zelenovic sunk a three-pointer to win a game at the final buzzer.

DocDrew:  Who are your favorite players and why?

Ben: River and Marko Zelenovic because they are such great players and great friends of mine.

Luke: Dr. Drew and MJ for all they do at the YMCA.

DocDrew:  What do you enjoy most about having your boys play basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?

William and Melissa:  Lessons is sportsmanship, a laid back atmosphere, and an amazing sense of community!

The Steelman family:  William, Melissa, Ben, and Luke

You couldn’t find a nicer family that exemplifies good sportsmanship and encouragement to all the young players in our program.  When you watch these boys play, you see how much they enjoy the game, and how much they look to help all the other players at the Santa Monica YMCA.  We can’t thank the Steelman family enough for all their support, and enjoy watching the boys grow and mature into young men.




10:30 AM        COLLIES 23, DALMATIONS 20


11:40 AM        DOBIES 32, AIREDALES 29

12:50 PM        SHEPHERDS 21, MALAMUTES 39

2:00 PM        DANES 41, MASTIFFS 29


3:10 PM        CORGIES 19, SHELTIES 20

4:20 PM        BEAGLES 22, BASSETTS 18

5:30 PM        PINSCHERS 19, SCHNAUZERS 14

6:40 PM        SPANIELS 22, SCOTTIES 18



10:30 AM        DOXIES 13, CHIHUAHUAS 14

11:40 AM        PUGS 10, MALTESE 20

12:50 PM        TERRIERS 14, YORKIES 14


2:00 PM        AKITAS 26,  WHIPPETS 24

3:10 PM        WOLFHOUNDS 23, SETTERS 20

4:20 PM        LABS 35, DALMATIONS 28

5:30 PM        POINTERS 25, COLLIES 17


6:40 PM        GREYHOUNDS 34, BOXERS 49


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.


Yorkies 2-0-2, 16 points *Yorkies beat Chihuahuas head to head

Chihuahuas 3-1-0, 16 points                                    

Maltese 3-1-0, 15 points *one loss by forfeit
Doxies 1-2-1, 10 points                                        

Terriers 1-2-1, 9 points *Unsportsmanlike technical resulting in loss of one point    
Pugs 0-4-0, 4 points                                            


Spaniels 5-0-0, 25 points
Beagles 4-1-0, 21 points                                    

Shelties 3-2-0, 17 points                                        

Scotties 2-3-0, 13 points
Corgies 2-3-0, 13 points
Pinschers 2-3-0, 13 points                                        

Schnauzers 1-4-0, 9 points                                        

Bassets 1-4-0, 9 points


Akitas 4-0-0, 20 points                                        

Whippets 3-1-0, 16 points                                         

Pointers 3-1-0, 16 points
Labs 3-1-0, 16 points                                            

Collies 2-3-0, 13 points   
Wolfhounds 1-3-0, 8 points *Wolfhounds beat Setters head to head
Setters 1-3-0, 8 points                                    

Dalmatians 0-4-0, 4 points                                    


Boxers 5-0-0, 25 points                                       
Malamutes 4-1-0, 21 points     *Malamutes beat Shepherds head to head
Shepherds 4-1-0, 21 points                                         

Greyhounds 3-2-0, 17 points
Dobies 2-3-0, 13 points *Dobies beat Danes head to head                    

Danes 2-3-0, 13 points                                         

Airedales 0-5-0, 5 points                                    

Mastiffs 0-5-0, 5 points                                        

Upcoming Schedule

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




11:40 AM        LABS VS WHIPPETS












11:40 AM        DOXIES VS PUGS







5:30 PM        AKITAS VS LABS


Thank you very much, 

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

in News, Sports
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