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DocDrew’s Swish Issue 3, Volume 4

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

Summer basketball is in full swing as teams representing the Santa Monica YMCA are participating in the Culver-Palms YMCA summer youth basketball league.  The kids are up against teams that they have not met before, but even though, their opponents are competitors, there are new friendships being formed with the commonality of love for the sport of basketball.

The Santa Monica YMCA is now having registration for the Fall Youth Basketball League, at the Santa Monica YMCA or online at

Playing basketball doesn’t have to be about just playing a regulation game.  There are many other different types of games for youth that can be played to help develop skills and enjoy basketball.

The following is from the website:

8 Effective and Fun Youth Basketball Games

For those coaching young children who are still learning and being introduced to basketball, keeping the game fun and enjoyable should be a priority. As a coach you have a responsibility to teach the game and its fundamentals but you have an additional responsibility to keep in mind that sports, especially at the youth level, are played for fun.

Competition-based games are a great way for coaches to help keep the young players’ attention, implement a fun break from drills or scrimmaging, and continue to build fundamentals.

Here are eight games that will be great for both team practices and basketball camps in teaching the fundamentals in a fun, creative way.

(The effectiveness of these drills will vary based on the age group of the players, some drills are meant specifically for very young players who are new to the game.)

Sharks and Minnows

Overview:  Sharks and Minnows is a great game for all ages and will emphasize ball handling and ball control in the open court.

How to:  Select 1 or 2 players to be sharks depending on the size of your group and the ages of your players.

The sharks will start on one side of the floor between the top of the key and the half court line facing the baseline. The rest of the players will be the minnows and will line up along the baseline facing the sharks.

The sharks will not have basketballs, the minnows will each have one ball.

For the minnows the object of the game is to dribble from baseline to baseline without their ball being stolen or knocked out of bounds by a shark. For the sharks the object of the game is to eliminate as many minnows as possible within each round by stealing or deflecting their ball out of bounds.

If a minnow loses their ball, they will become a shark in the next round.

The round stops when each minnow has successfully made it across to the other baseline or has been turned into a shark.

The last minnow remaining is deemed the winner, and the game stops when all minnows have been eliminated

The last one or two minnows that remained will serve as sharks for the beginning of the next game.

Dribble Knockout

Overview:  Dribble Knockout will help players practice ball handling and especially protecting the ball as they continue to dribble and keep their eyes up to evaluate the floor.

How to:  This game will begin with the entire group of players starting inside of a designated area of the court (e.g., full court, half court, inside the 3-point line, inside the paint, inside the tip-off circle).

Each player will start will a basketball.

The object of the game is for each individual player to keep their dribble alive, and not have their ball stolen or knocked out of bounds, while attempting to steal and knock other players’ balls out of bounds.

Once players are eliminated they are done for the rest of that game, and as players continue to get eliminated, the remaining group will move to smaller designated areas.

The game ends when there is only one player remaining with a live dribble; that person is deemed the winner and then the game restarts.

Dribble Line Tag

Overview:  Dribble line tag a is game that combines basketball and traditional “tag” and allows players to work on their ball handling.

How to:  The game will begin with everyone spread out across the court, but everyone must be standing on a line on the basketball court. (e.g., baseline, sideline, 3-point line, etc.)

One or two players will be the designated taggers and they will not have a ball throughout the game.

The players who are not taggers will each have a basketball.

Each player has to remain on a line of the court at all times throughout the game as the taggers attempt to tag the other players who are not “it.” Those who are not it will run away from the taggers while remaining on the lines and dribbling the ball.

If a person who is not it gets touched by a tagger, steps off of a line or losses control of their ball they are out until the next game.

The last person who has not yet been tagged is deemed the winner and the game restarts with the last one or two players to be tagged starting as the taggers.

NBA Skills Challenge

Overview:  The NBA skills challenge is replication of the event that a select group of NBA players participate in during All-Star weekend. This challenge will incorporate dribbling, passing and shooting, and is a fun competition that involves all of the offensive fundamentals.

How to:  The court for the skills challenge should be set up with the knowledge that the player competing will start in one of the baseline corners, facing the opposite baseline.

Set up the court with 3-4 cones or objects in a straight line about 4-5 feet away from the sideline on both sides of the court (6-8 cones/objects total). The cones should be placed toward the middle of the court between both of the 3-point lines.

In the opposite baseline corner of the court there should be a passing target (This could be a shooting machine like The Gun that has a hole into which a pass could be made, or simply a chair with an X taped onto it. Be creative!)

The players will dribble through the cones and then make a pass at the target from behind a line that can just be made with tape or a cone. If they miss they must get their ball and try again until they hit it. Once they hit the target they will run to the free-throw or 3-point line (depending on the age group) and will receive a pass from a coach standing next to the target. They must make a shot from the line (the coach can decide to rebound for them or have the player get their own) and then grab their rebound, dribble through the cones on the other side of the court and finish the drill with a layup.

The course will be run one by one, and each individual player will be timed to see who completes the challenge the fastest. (You can also time the players as a group and allow them to compete and try to better their group time.)

Relay Race

Overview:  The relay race is a very basic game that will be most effective for the lowest age group of youth basketball (ages 5-7). It will enable them to practice their ball handling.

How to:  Divide your group into 2 or more teams based on size, and have each group line up single file behind the baseline.

Each team will have one ball, and the first player in line will dribble as fast as they can while controlling the ball to the opposite baseline or half-court line and back to the baseline. They will then hand the ball off to the next player in line on their team who will then run their leg of the race.

The first team to have every member complete the race and get back to the baseline wins. (You can place obstacles such as cones to dribble through within the course to make it more interesting and require more ball handling.)


Overview:  Knockout or “Lightning” is a classic shooting game that is very competitive but also enables players to practice shooting and shooting under pressure.

How to:  Have your entire group line up in a single file line on the free-throw line or behind the 3-point line (you can even play Half-Court Knockout with older groups).

Only the first two people in line will start with basketballs.

The first person will shoot from the designated line. If they make it they will rebound their ball and throw it to the next person in line (without a ball). If, they miss they must grab their rebound and score as quickly as possible from anywhere on the court.

As soon as the first player takes their shot, the second player can take theirs.

If the player behind scores before the player in front of them, the player in front is eliminated from the game.

The drill continues until there is one player left; that player is deemed the winner.

All-Star Shootout

Overview:  All-Star Shootout is a competitive shooting game for two teams.

How to:  Set up the court with spot markers or cones in different areas on around each basket. These spots can be anywhere on the court, but remember that each spot designates a place from which some player will have to make a shot. So making them too far for certain ages could be problematic.

Divide your group into two teams and have each team line up outside of the sideline at halfcourt on opposite sides of the court facing their basket.

Each team will have one basketball and one at a time a member from each team will run out onto the court and pick a spot from which they will shoot. If they make the shot they will rebound the ball and take their spot or cone back to their sideline and pass the ball to the next player in line who will then shoot.

If they miss the shot they will simply rebound the ball and pass it to the next person in line.

The first team to make a shot from all of their spots wins

Red Light, Green Light

Overview:  This is a fun game for especially younger players and allows them to work on ball handling and body control.

How to:  To start one player will be the designated judge/traffic light and that person will stand on one baseline without a basketball.

The other players will stand on the opposite baseline facing the judge—each will have a basketball in hand.

The judge starts facing away from the other players and the court. They will call out either “Green light” or “Red Light.” When they call out green light they must not be facing the other player, but when they call red light they can quickly turn around. Green light means that the competing players can run and dribble forward, red light means they must immediately stop dribbling.

The goal of the game is to be the first one to reach the other baseline without being called out, if a player continues to move after the judge calls “Red Light,” and they are spotted by the judge that player must go back to the baseline and restart.

The first person to reach the opposite baseline is deemed the winner and will serve as the judge for the next game.

6-7 year olds

August 3rd Santa Monica Stars vs Culver City team 2 Age 6-7

For the 3rd game of the Summer season, the 6-7 year old (team 6) Santa Monica Stars fought a tough battle with Culver City’s team #2.  For the 2nd game in a row the game started as cancelled due to another power outage at the Culver City Middle School, however players and parents waited it out and were granted ability to play without power until almost 2nd half when the power came back.  The Stars came out quick with a 6-0 lead, but the Culver team hit a 3 pointer that ignited their offense. By half time Culver lead 7-6. Stars did their best, and put another 4 points up, but the Culver home team got it by a basket ending the game 12-10. Several things did not go Santa Monica’s way who felt this was their game, but gives respect and credit to a tough Culver City team who played their all to the end.  Luke Steelman scored most of the Stars baskets with 8 points on another terrific performance. Tristan Hayes added one more basket. Stats weren’t recorded this game, so the overall Santa Monica team contribution is not on paper, however all players who suited up including: Logan Cappiccille, Catherine Casa, Laila Elliot, Teddy Franklin, Colson Moore, Benjamin Saunders, and Elliot Israels did whatever they could to grab rebounds, scrapping for loose balls, getting steals, and making assists.   Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes

Amazing game photos of the Santa Monica Stars against the Culver-Palms YMCA.  Photos by Casper Casparian

Game summary Santa Monica Stars vs Culver City YMCA Team 3

The Santa Monica Stars took on the Culver City YMCA’s Team 3 in a mid-morning game at Culver Middle School.

Picking up where he left off after the first game of the summer season, Luca Anderson was a force on both sides of the court.

Rhys Scheflen and Luca Samson also played at a high level.  Rhys converted a couple of offensive rebounds into easy baskets early and ran the floor well for some fast-break points.

Atticus Sparks played his first game of the season and he immediately impacted the game, scoring a couple of baskets.  Ethan Pages was a force in the paint,

and his teammates looked for him early for quick low-post scores.  Theo Decordoba and Miles Smith showed some real improvement as the game went on.  The team worked together to get Miles a couple of good looks at the basket that almost dropped in.  Theo even drew a shooting foul and went to the line for a couple of free throw attempts.

The Stars jumped out to an early lead with tough defense and unselfish play.  David Casparian, Dylan Geary, and Roman Gabriel were all active defensively, and on the boards; closing out several defensive possessions.  

Kai Badat had another excellent all-around game; pushing the ball in transition, passing to open teammates for shots, and collecting several rebounds.  Stellan Haberli also played a great floor game, pushing the ball up the court, finding open teammates and even tallying an assist on one of Ethan’s baskets.

Final Score   Santa Monica Stars: 25  Culver City YMCA Team 3:  5 Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood

8-9 year olds

Exciting game action between the Culver-Palms YMCA and Santa Monica YMCA teams.  Photos by Apolonia Drew

Coming off their first W the week before, the SM Stars returned to action last Saturday for their 3rd game of the Summer League. The first quarter was low scoring with both teams playing tight defense. But in the 2nd quarter the Stars offense took off led by Joseph Zak’s continued excellent play. Zak had not one but two three point plays leading to an offensive explosion that the whole team continued til the end of the game. Miles Franklin scored multiple times and had a bunch of rebounds, Ryan Etemadia scored for the Stars, then showed great sportsmanship by playing for our opponent in the 2nd half when they ran out of players. Bella Kariger, Dominic Drew, Vaughn Elliot and Jordan Blum all chipped in baskets as well. Dylan Kravitz had a great assist, and Gavin O Brien, Ben Steelman also had assists and played great defense. And Chase Jenkins contributed in many ways throughout the game. Final 33-17 for the victorious Stars.  Submitted by Coach Bill Kravitz

10-11 year olds

Santa Monica Team #3 recap:  We were down 5-19 at the half but rallied in the second half.  We lost 21-29. We only had 9 kids and they all worked so hard. It was impressive. Personally I have such an appreciation for the kids and the coaches.  Submitted by Pia O’Brien

12-14 year olds

I coached Jim’s #1 team since he was on vacation, my team had a bye. The team won 88-26. I am not sure what to say about the game other than every player on team #1 played very hard. I let the second team play most of the minutes to try to keep the score down but they played very well and just out hustled the Culver City team. The first team scored at will and we had to pull our press off very early in the game. Drake, Nas and the Rosenberg twins, Jason and Seth, were dominate. It was team #1’s first win so that was nice for the boys but unfortunately  the game was not at all competitive. The score at the half was 45-2. The boys showed class throughout the game by playing hard yet respecting the game itself and the effort of the other team. We did not gloat or get fancy at any part of the contest which was very impressive considering the age of the boys and the score. I was proud of the entire team. Submitted by Coach Mark Ulrich

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 of one of our favorite brother combos in our program:  Matthew and Michael Hanasab. The Hanasabs were on the Spring Majors champion, the Shepherds.  Not only do they support each other, but they help to bring the level up of their teammates with encouragement and getting all players involved regardless of their ability.  Matthew and Michael always show great passion for the game, and enjoy passing on their knowledge to the younger players in our league.

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

Matthew: I like how we are one big community and enjoy making such memorable moments. I also like how we play against and with our friends. It is always fun playing games against other teams. It is always competitive.

Michael: What I enjoyed the most at the Y is being able to play against my friends and with my friends. It is always exciting to go head to head with a friend and compete. I enjoy to practice with my friends because you crack a few jokes here and then and you always try to encourage each other.

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

Matthew: One of my most memorable moments in my basketball career at the Santa Monica YMCA is when I hit a “and one” three-pointer. Another memorable moment is when I went up to the major league. It also meant I could be on the same team as my brother, Michael .

Michael: My most memorable moment at the Y is when I scored 23 points to lead our team to a win. I remember running up and down the court shooting countless times and scoring most of my shots while taking step backs to find a way to make space between me and my defender. I was really feeling my shot that night and I will always remember those moments.

DocDrew:  Who are your favorite players and why?

Matthew: One of my favorite players is Lou Williams, he Is a leader on the Clippers. I always know he’s going to make a bunch of three-pointers or make a game-winning shot. Another one of my favorite basketball players is Kawhi Leonard.  He always leads in points and defense. Also, he is one of the best defenders of all time.

Michael: One of my favorite players is LeBron James because he takes control of the ball and keeps practicing and getting better every year. LeBron has an impact on his teammates and on people outside of the court. Another one of my favorite players is Kawhi Leonard he is a “fun guy” and is one of the best defenders of all time and knows how to lead a team and show true leadership.

Mr and Mrs Hanasab:  Michael and Matthew have been playing at YMCA since childhood. We feel very fortunate that not only they have been learning and improving their basketball skills at such a warm and safe environment, but also make memorable moments, find friends and learn valuable life lessons.

Here are some classic photos of the boys:

Matthew Hanasab
Michael Hanasab
Matthew and Michael representing the Santa Monica YMCA

The Santa Monica YMCA is greatly appreciative of all the support and dedication that the Hanasab family gives.  Their family helps to keep our youth basketball program strong.

Thank you very much,

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

in Sports
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