February 28, 2024 Breaking News, Latest News, and Videos

DocDrew’s Swish Issue 5, Volume 4

Welcome to the fifth 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.

The Culver-Palms YMCA is currently past the halfway point of their Summer Youth Basketball league with teams representing the Culver-Palms, Westchester, Westside, and Santa Monica YMCAs.  Fun times are being had by all participants, with meeting players from different areas of the Westside, and forming new friendships through the love of basketball.

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

We are no longer taking online registration for the Fall season, and you must sign up for the Fall season, in person, at the Santa Monica YMCA.  All registrations from this time onward will be on the waitlist. Players will be chosen from the waitlist based on which divisions need players to fill the rosters.

Please see the flyer below for more information:

Youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA helps to promote our three principles:  Youth Development, Healthy Living, and Social Responsibility

But youth sports can provide many benefits for kids.  The following is from

Organized Sports for Kids

Soccer, lacrosse, baseball, football—getting involved in youth sports is a rite of passage for many children, enabling them to learn physical and social skills on the playing field. Picking the best sport for your child and providing the right level of encouragement can be a challenge, but with a little research, you will find the sports program that best fits your youngster and your family’s budget and schedule.

Benefits of sports for kids

Playing sports has a range of physical, emotional, and interpersonal benefits:

Better vision. Children who spend time outdoors playing, especially organized sports, are less likely to develop vision problems.

Healthy weight. Obesity is increasing in children, but data show that kids who are more active, especially after school, are more likely to be of normal weight.

Motor skills development. Sports participation helps with coordination and learning new skills.

Social skills development. Playing on a team means learning to work with others and support them.

Self-confidence. Success as a team member and an athlete builds confidence.

Sportsmanship. Learning the rules of the game, respect for coaches and referees, and how to stay positive even when losing are all valuable life lessons.

Fun and enjoyment


Deciding on the right sport

Choosing the best sports program for your child is easier when he or she already has a passion or a talent for a particular sport. Some communities might only offer a few sports to choose from, but if your town has multiple options or if your youngster is open to trying a new activity, consider first the age and physical ability of your child to decide on a sport.

Next, get the answers to these key questions:

How well organized is the program your child is interested in?

Does the program have a vision and a mission, and do they match your values?

What is expected of parents in terms of involvement?

Are you comfortable with the practice and competition schedules, and do they fit your child’s ability?

Do the coaches select teams in a way that you find acceptable?

Is the program safe? For example, is there an appropriate ratio of adults to children? Is the equipment in good condition and is it inspected regularly? Do coaches require warm-up and cool-down exercises before and after games and practices to help prevent injury?

Will any injury your child might sustain need to be covered by your insurance or is insurance available through the sports program?

It’s important to find a sports program that matches your child’s abilities. Can your child succeed with the level of competition he or she might face? If your child has special needs because of, for example, ADHD, asthma, or a physical disability, ask if coaches can accommodate these needs. In some communities, coaches are parents just like you, so they might ask for your help and for more information about your child’s needs.

You also must consider your ability to support your child’s participation. Will you be able to get your child to all practices and games and provide any needed supplies? Being part of a sports team or program has many benefits, but it can also be costly. Your family will need to commit money, time, and resources, such as transportation. If your budget is limited, ask the program organizers if fees can be waived or reduced. You might also be able to borrow equipment or buy gently used uniforms.

Setting the right example

Once your child is part of a sports program, always remember that you are an important model for your child. Find ways to stay positive during competition. Discuss any concerns you might have about coaching style, teammate behavior, or other teams in private with the coaches.

What parents usually want most is for their children to have fun and be successful at their chosen sport, but the keys to their enjoying their sports experiences lie in your hands—first by helping them choosing the right sport and then by being a good role model for sportsmanship and commitment.

6-7 year olds

Tristan Hayes getting surrounded 
Luke Steelman with the shot
Tristan Hayes advances the ball
Colson Moore surveys the scene
Colson Moore with the free throw

Santa Monica Stars plating against the Culver-Palms YMCA on 8/24/19.  Photos by Pete Arbogast 

8/17/19:  Santa Monica Stars (team 6) vs Culver City (team 3) kicked off Saturday, and the Stars only had 3 players suited up by the start of game.  Culver was kind enough to lend 2 players to save the game to start, then a 4th Stars player came during the 2nd quarter. Overall, the Stars 3-4 kids stepped it up today showing vigilance on defense, were looking for their teammates for open passes, going after rebounds, and were able to get good looks at the basket and get some shots to fall on offense.

Logan Cappiccille dropped 5 points including a free-throw and used his size on defense to hold off Culver in the paint.  Teddy Franklin sunk 2 baskets for 4 points, and played with high energy the whole game at the guard position on defense. Tristan Hayes pushed hard all game and ended with 8 points also hustling on defense adding extra pressure.  Elliot Israels showed more aggressiveness on defense this game and was able to agitate the offense more than once because he was going for the ball.  

Coaches were proud of the kids this game since they all had no rest or subs, so played an entire game, and hustled all 4 quarters.  Also, are thankful to the Culver coach for his gracious gesture to give players as needed to make the game happen. Final score 17-8 Stars (with a little help from Culver).   Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes 

Coach Charles Ellinwood gives instructions 
8/24/19 game photos of the Stars against the Culver City YMCA.  Photos by Casper Casparian 

8/17/19:  The Stars took on The Culver City YMCA Tornadoes in a Saturday midday matchup.

Luca Anderson and Atticus Sparks combined for 13 points, 8 in the first half. After taking an early lead, the Stars faced a real challenge with the taller Tornadoes. By halftime, it was 8-4 Stars.

The second half opened up with both teams trading baskets and foul shots.  

The Tornadoes looked to put together a rally, but the defensive efforts of Luca Sampson, Miles Smith, Theo Decordoba, Oliver Harris, and Stellan Haberli tipped the scales in the Stars’ favor.  

Final score:  Stars 13 – Tornadoes 9. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood 

8/24 Team 1 vs Team 6.  Rematch between Culver City team 1 & Santa Monica Stars team 6 kicked off.  Culver came out strong and shots were falling for them all game. The Stars were slow through the 1st 3 quarters finding themself 10 points down going into the 4th.  It wasn’t until the final 4 minutes of the 4th quarter that the Stars woke up and connected for 7 unanswered points to come within 3 points and looked as if they could close the gap, but in the end was just a bit too little too late, and Culver evened up the record 1-1 on the season between the two teams.

Colson Moore had 3 points including a free throw, a steal and a big shot in the 4th that triggered the Stars late run.  Teddy Franklin was active with a steal, a pair of blocks, and a rebound. Catherine Casas had a rebound, a steal, and a nice shot for 2 points in the 4th. Luke Steelman, once again brought a strong performance with 4 points, 8 rebounds, and 4 steals.  Tristan Hayes also did his best with 4 points, 8 rebounds, 3 steals, and an assist. Elliot Israels, Arya Nawathe, Adam Norman, and Benjamin Saunders all had 1 rebound a piece and held their own on defense. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes

8/24/19.  Saturday’s early game featured the Santa Monica Stars taking on Culver City’s Team 2.

The scoring started early when Rhys Scheflen scored on a nifty 6-foot baseline jumper to put the Stars on the board.  Team 2 responded with a lay-up and a three-pointer to go up 5-2 in the first half. Leading the 2nd unit, Atticus Sparks tied the game with a three-pointer at the halftime buzzer.  

The Stars showed good teamwork by moving the ball around but quality shots were hard to come by against Team 2’s feisty defense.  Despite Team 2’s pressure, Roman Gabriel, Theo Decordoba, and Stellan Haberli all got good looks at the basket.  

Luca Samson and Rhys Scheflen were key defensive players on the perimeter, while David Casparian anchored the interior defense.  

Both teams battled for most of the 3rd quarter without a score, then Team 2 seized the momentum.  Two three-pointers and two layups put Team 2 up for good. The Star did not quit and played hard all the way to the end.  Dylan Geary , Oliver Harris, and Miles Smith all played well on the defensive end to the keep the game close. Rhys closed out the scoring for the Stars with a three-pointer to finish with 5 points.  A tough game, but a good test for the Stars. Final Score: Stars 8 Team 2 16. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood 

Roman Gabriel passing the ball
David Casparian protecting the rock
Rhys Scheflen defending 
Luca Anderson dribbling
Coach Sarah Scheflen with instructions
Dylan Geary, David Casparian, Luca Anderson, Atticus Sparks

8/25/19 game photos of the Stars special make up game against Culver City YMCA.  Photos by Casper Casparian 

8/25/19:  In a special make-up game held at the Santa Monica YMCA,  the SaMoY stars took on the Culver Y team. Coach Charles was unavailable, so Mrs. Sarah Scheflen took on coaching duties.  It started out well for the Stars by scoring two quick buckets in the first minute, then the dry spell happened after that.  Even though the Stars played great team ball, they just could not find the bottom of the hoop. Culver played good defense in forcing the Stars to take tough shots.  Luca Anderson had 5 points, and Roman Gabriel had one point for the Stars. Dylan Geary, Oliver Harris, Myles Smith, David Casparian, and Rhys Scheflen played strong defense.  The Stars were only able to add a couple of free throws at the end of the game. Final score: SaMo 6, Culver 10 Submitted by guest referee DocDrew

8-9 year olds

James Cook with the ball

Dylan Kravitz with the free throw

8/24/19.  Santa Monica YMCA Stars team #2 celebrating a good game with special guest Pete Arbogast.  Photos by Stacy Kravitz 

8/17/19:  Was not pretty for SaMo Stars team #1. 10-10 at half, and down 18-10 with six minutes to go. 

Then Theo Haberli and Kellen McDonough took over, making plays on both ends to save us.  Theo even had a deep 3FG late.

Brandon Israels and Vihaan Nawathe each played terrific defense.  Vihaan also scored twice, and Brandon made his first shot of the summer.  Fun to see. Submitted by Coach Eric McDonough

8/24/19:  The Santa Monica Stars team #1 played a strong game last Saturday with a 27 to 14 win in hot and sticky Culver City gym.  The defense set the tone from the start, with a strong team effort making it difficult for the Culver team all afternoon. Asher Zaczepinski and Josie Casas set the tone hounding their ball handlers on the parameter, and Sean Saunders made his presence felt with several blocks in the post.  On offense, balance and sharing the ball were they keys to success – nine different players scored during the game. Ryan Schuster got the team off to a strong start, attacking the defense and getting some early points on the board. Theo Haberli played the facilitator role racking up multiple assists, and Veronica Machala scored on an “and one” play as we pulled away in the second half. 

Vihan Nawathe and Theo Haberli led Santa Monica #5 in scoring with four points each. Haberli had 3 assists with well directed passes to his teammates, grabbed a rebound and three steals on defense.  Nawathe also had three rebounds and an assist. The following players contributed to a commanding and well rounded scoring performance throughout the game: Asher Eng (2), Erol Besincioglu (2), Sean Saunders (2), Veronica Machala (2), Brandon Israels (2), Miles Boelke (2), Ryan Schuster (3), Asher Zaczepinski (2), and Aiden Lin (2). In addition, the team displayed great passing skills with the following players helping with assists: Eng (2), Josie Casas (1), Boelke (1), Schuster (1).  The team held their opponents with impressive defensive skills and rebounding. Jaxton Moore had 2 rebounds; Eng had 3 rebounds; Besincioglu had a steal and 2 rebounds; Saunders had 1 blocked shot, 1 steal, and 2 rebounds; Machala had 2 rebounds; Casas had a blocked shot and 1 rebound; Boelke had a steal and 2 rebounds; Schuster had 4 rebounds, and a blocked shot; Zaczepinski had a steal; and Aiden Lin led the team with 5 rebounds. Submitted by Coach Ralph Haberli and Jason Moore 

Joseph Zak with the drive to the hoop
Joseph Zak with the free throw
Ryan Chambers looking for the pass
Dominic Drew protecting the ball
8/24/19.  Photos by Tom Chambers of the Santa Monica Stars versus the Culver Palms YMCA

8/24/19: The Santa Monica Stars team #2 had a complete all around game against a very good opponent in the Culver squad.  SaMo had multiple assists from Bella Kariger, Dominic Drew, and Dylan Kravitz. Points were scored by Ryan Chambers, Joseph Zak, Rayan Etemadnia, Jordan Blum, Gavin O’Brien, and the hot shooting Ben Steelman.  Miles Franklin had multiple rebounds and points, and contained the big guys on the opposing team, showing how strong he was. There was a lot of heat “Cook”-ing in the gym as the Cook siblings put on an amazing performance of scoring, rebounding, and beating a full court press in the final minute, in which James broke free with amazing dribbling skills and slinged the ball to his sister Annika down low, who then put it off the backboard for the bucket.  This had me screaming “That’s how you beat a full court press”. After the game, James asked me who scored the bucket, because he had been knocked down during the pass, and I told him his sister Annika, to which James replied “Oh good, I was just passing to an open teammate, I didn’t know it was my sister!” My response to James: “That makes you the most unselfish player out there, that’s why I love you and this whole team!” After the game, special guest Pete Arbogast came over to congratulate the team and tell them how impressed he was with all of their play.  Quite a compliment from a man who knows a thing or two about basketball. Submitted by Coach DocDrew 

Game photos that I took while coaching the Stars as they took on the Collins and Katz YMCA.

Ryan Chambers advancing the ball
Miles Franklin bringing the ball up the court
Coach Bill Kravitz with instructions
Gavin O’Brien about to shoot a free throw
Dominic Drew passing the ball
Vaughan Elliott in transition 
Gavin O’Brien controlling the action

8/29/19.  In a special game to help the Collins and Katz YMCA make up a lost game in the schedule, the Santa Monica Stars #2 team was invited over to the C&K YMCA.  The Stars brought Vihaan Nawathe and Veronica Machala from Stars team #1 to help out, and they didn’t disappoint. The V&V combo was instrumental in helping to set up points for the Stars with excellent passing and rebounding, along with taking good shots at the basket.

The C&K team got out to a quick lead before Dylan Kravitz hit a sweet swish shot.  Girl Power was displayed with Veronica teaming up with Annika Cook, Bella Kariger, and Jordan Blum giving the opposing boys a lesson on basketball with tough defense and moving the ball around the court.

Vihaan did a great job of distributing the ball to allow Dominic Drew, James Cook,  and Gavin O’Brien to make baskets.

It was a three for all, with Vaughn Elliott and Ryan Chambers making treys.  Ryan played superb by making a nice driving layup and getting multiple steals.

Miles Franklin was the big man, snagging rebounds, making points, and blocking shots.

James Cook had some sweet ala James LeBron spin dribble moves as he gave a couple defenders some ankle breakers, with a swish shot to make an exclamation point.

Fun game for the kids playing in a nice gym.  C&K were a little bigger and more experienced and won 36-18 in an extra long game in which the kids got to play 20 minute halves.

Coach Bill Kravitz and myself were very proud of the team camaraderie and sportsmanship displayed by the Stars in representing the Santa Monica YMCA.  We are all very proud of them. Submitted by Coach Paul Drew

Annika Cook with the shot
Jordan Blum with the free throw
Dominic Drew makes the shot
Vaughan Elliott nails the three pointer
Veronica Machala getting the pass
Veronica Machala with the shot

12-14 year olds 

8/17/19:  Game #5 for the SM YMCA #2 team Lakers. Due to picture day for all teams the crowd was unusually large creating a great atmosphere for Saturday afternoon basketball. We had 13 players and I knew we had to play everyone equal. I watched the other team warm up and realized that they were bigger than us but not as athletic as our best five. They had good ball handlers but no real super guard, but they were big. We decided to split the teams into two and a half squads each playing five minutes at a time and go from there. We started with a defensive minded five to see if they could deal with our press. The game started and the man to man full court press was not really working. Our first unit did not match up well individually defensively and they were not generating any offense, we were down 8-1 after the first rotation. We knew we had our offensive minded kids coming in so we would be ok. Unfortunately the offensive team came in and the other team had gained confidence with the lead and their players were flying up and down the court making baskets and us a little hesitant, after the second unit were down 17-1. Their crowd was smaller but now very loud! We stayed calm. We changed our defense, the third rotation would not be able to guard man to man, too small. We went with our two strongest defenders in the press Rama Karimi and Sebastian Ramirez as the guards pressing full court and we put two smaller players who usually play guards in the bottom of the 2/3 zone and added Estevan as the offensive threat. The two younger players were very hungry to play and since they are usually guards they were cheating in our zone press and moved up to half court as if they were still guards in the press. Rama and Sebastian forced the guards to pick up the ball early and the other guards with Estevan hedged way up and started to pick their passes off. We had all five in the back court trapping and creating turnovers. Estevan got going and after another five minutes we were down 17-11 but we had the secret. Dash’s team came in and we started to trap them in the back court with four instead of two and the one rover, and the game completely flipped. We scored on three’s, driving layups, mid-range jumpers, we caught fire. Dash was wooing the crowd with his offensive playing but it was the second and third units that were engaged on both ends that started to hit all kinds of shots. The younger kids were making bucket after bucket with total confidence! The whole team picked up their energy watching this and by the half we were up 10. By the middle of the second half we were up 40 points and the crowd just exploded. It was some day!!! We had 12 of the 13 players score with Estevan leading us with 15 points, the final score was 55-26. This team has so much heart, they never quit or panic, and all of them play very hard and for each other!  Submitted by Coach Mark Ulrich

8/24/19.  It was not an easy day for the Lakers last Saturday. Not easy is not always a bad thing especially for boys ages 12-15. We ran into a very talented team with seven good players who beat us pretty soundly, 52 – 40. We had 13 players, 9 of which scored in the game. We were led by Xailoh Hermosillo who had 11 points with two made threes that came down the stretch. As I said not an easy day can be good as once again the Lakers never gave up and competed right to the end of the game, even with the score out of reach. I was very proud of the boys and as I told them we just have to get back to work. We had full participation at our next practice so this is truly a good sign of kids who are not afraid to get right back up after they have been knocked down. We have 15 kids on our roster with two that are hurt so the participation this summer has been incredible. We now have a week off and look forward to getting back to playing together after the break.  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 my boss, Erika Altshule.  She is a person who wears many hats. Aside from being my boss(the best that I’ve ever had), she is in charge of summer day camps, after school camps, Camp Big Bear summer youth and holiday family weekend camps.  In other words, she does it all. Her vast experience of working with youth and families, is why I always go to her to help me get answers on how to best help kids.

She was gracious enough to let me ask her a few questions:

DocDrew:  What do you enjoy most about working for the YMCA?

Erika: I love my job, the best part is being able to work with young people and having the opportunity to teach them such an important life skills, as well as help them develop social skills which translate into all parts of life. It’s so rewarding when a child finally masters a skill.

DocDrew:  What are some of your fondest memories at the YMCA? 

Erika:  Some of my fondest memories at the YMCA are being able to work with such amazing people who have taught me so much about life. Working with the resident camp has also been one of my favorite memories. Camp is such an amazing place where everyone becomes one big family.

DocDrew:  What do you hope to see in the future for this generation of youth? 

Erika:  I hope to see all youth conquer their challenges as they grow into our future leaders.

Erika Altshule hard at work helping our current generation of youth.

The Santa Monica YMCA, its members, parents, myself, and all the youth can never thank Erika enough for her endless dedication to improve the lives or our youngest generation and help turn them into our future leaders.  

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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