By Dr. Paul Drew
Welcome to the seventh issue of volume five 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.
As I mentioned in the previous issue of Swish, the Santa Monica YMCA is proud to announce our new partner to the youth basketball program:
The Santa Monica YMCA is very honored, excited, and thankful to have the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation to help support and provide assistance for our goals of youth development, healthy living, and social responsibility, by providing jerseys, grants, and experienced trainers to help this generation of youth become our future leaders.
This amazing adventure will begin in 2020 with the start of our winter youth basketball season at the Santa Monica YMCA. Registration for the Winter season is now open to the public online at http://welcome.ymcasm.org/programs/youth/sports-play/
Or in person at the front desk of the Santa Monica YMCA.
In honor of having the Los Angeles Lakers Youth Foundation partnering with the Santa Monica youth basketball program, I will have a series of articles about the history of the Los Angeles Lakers in the following issues of Swish.
History of the Los Angeles Lakers
1947–1958: Beginnings and Minneapolis dynasty
The Lakers franchise began in 1947 when Ben Berger and Morris Chalfen of Minnesota purchased the recently disbanded Detroit Gems franchise of the National Basketball League (NBL) for $15,000 from Gems founder/owner C. King Boring, and business partner Maury Winston. They hired John Kundla as their first head coach.
Berger and Chalfen relocated the team to Minneapolis, with home games being played at both the Minneapolis Auditorium and the Minneapolis Armory. The “team” that Berger and Chalfen had actually purchased consisted only of equipment; since the team had appeared to be on the verge of folding, all of its players had already been assigned to other NBL teams. The franchise was re-christened the “Lakers” in reference to Minnesota’s nickname, “The Land of 10,000 Lakes”. Berger and Chalfen brought in Max Winter, later to become a founder and owner of the National Football League’s Minnesota Vikings, to become the Lakers’ new general manager. Winter also took an ownership stake in the team, which he would maintain until he left the Lakers in 1955.
As the Gems had recorded by far the worst record in the NBL, the Lakers had the first pick in the 1947 Professional Basketball League of America dispersal draft, which they used to select George Mikan, later to become one of the greatest centers of his time. With Mikan, new coach John Kundla and an infusion of former University of Minnesota players to replace those lost prior to the relocation, the Lakers won the NBL championship in their first season.
The next year, the Lakers switched to the 12-team Basketball Association of America (BAA) and proceeded to win the championship in that season. As the BAA is considered the direct lineal ancestor of today’s NBA, this 1949 BAA championship is recognized today as an official NBA championship for the Lakers, whereas their 1948 NBL championship is not. This makes the Lakers the most successful expansion team in NBA history, since the NBA does not recognize NBL records and considers the Lakers to be a 1948 expansion team. The next year saw the absorbing of the defunct NBL by the BAA, to form today’s NBA, and the Lakers won the championship on the backs of Mikan, Vern Mikkelsen, and future National Football League coach Bud Grant.
The Lakers’ two-year streak of championships came to an end in 1951, when they lost to the Rochester Royals in the NBA Western Division Finals. Nevertheless, they rebounded from that defeat to capture the title for the next three consecutive years, thus becoming the NBA’s first “dynasty”, having won five BAA/NBA championships in six years. In addition to Mikan and Mikkelsen, the Lakers teams of these years also featured future Hall of Famers in Jim Pollard, Slater Martin, and Clyde Lovellette. During this time, the team also participated in the lowest-scoring game in NBA history; on November 22, 1950, the Lakers fell to the Fort Wayne Pistons by a score of 19–18. This contest later proved to be a factor in the league’s introduction of the shot clock.
Injuries forced Mikan to retire after the 1954 season, and the Lakers missed him dearly. Not only that, but the NBA introduced rule changes (the 24-second shot clock and a limit of six personal fouls per team per quarter) which forced them to play an entirely new style of basketball to which they were unaccustomed. Lovellette led the team in scoring, but the Lakers fared so poorly in the 1955 season that Mikan was persuaded to come out of retirement for the 1956 season. His play was not up to his former standards, however, and halfway through the season, he retired again, this time for good. The 1956 Lakers would go on to make the playoffs, only to lose to the St. Louis Hawks.
After Mikan’s retirement, attendance at Lakers games dropped off sharply. In 1957, the team was nearly sold to Kansas City interests who planned to relocate it there, before a local group helmed by businessman Bob Short purchased the team and kept it in Minneapolis. The new ownership was unable to cure the team’s financial ills, however.
The Lakers found their way back the playoffs in 1957, when they lost to the Hawks once more. The following year was disastrous, however, as Mikan became head coach before finding he was not suited to the task. After compiling a 9–30 record, he stepped aside in favor of Kundla, but the Lakers found themselves last in the league that year with a 19–53 record.
The Turtles yet again survived another battle against the talented Zombies this week. The score does not reflect the true talent of the Zombie team as they had a ton of shots that simply didn’t drop. Coach G. was really proud of his players as they continued to show impressive improvement week after week. Hawkins Wakefield, after missing the last game, showed great hustle against the Zombies. Daniel Gruft was diving for balls on defense! Cruz Hecklin scored his first baskets of the season and Archie Lewis showed that he is becoming a serious defensive threat. Austin Bernier continued to shine as he was making baskets that were well outside the paint. Nevoh Zach had some great defensive stops and his rebounding was second to none. Henok Tesfaye brought a high level of enthusiasm and worked very hard throughout the game. Coach G. was proud of all of his players, especially River Greenwell (his son) who won Player of the Game as he scored a basket, made a free throw, captured a few rebounds and blocked a shot! Submitted by Coach Chris Greenwell
Animals Win a Close Game Against the Rascals 10 – 8. Player of the Game Colson Moore led the Animals to a close and exciting 10 – 8 victory over the Rascals. These two teams battled it out in a rematch from last weekend to determine playoff seeds. Colson scored 8 points, 7 steals, and two rebounds to help his team win a close game. Keanu Straughter was instrumental on defense getting 5 steals of his own, a rebound, and a blocked shot.
Colson started a scoring drive in the 2nd quarter with a great jumper from the right side to give the Animals their first points of the game. As the second half started, the Rascals came back. Colson answered with another 2 points in the third quarter. Colson came alive in the final quarter after the Rascals took an 8 – 6 lead. Colson snagged two crucial steals from the Rascals and ran them back for field goals giving the Animals the lead. Jason Gaines came through with an exciting fourth quarter basket, which was his first basket of the season to help propel the Animals to a victory. Jason also had 5 rebounds to round out a great game.
Once again Maria Belew came through big with 5 rebounds and 5 steals. Mariella Belew also had 2 rebounds of her own. June Carducci had a blocked shot and a steal. Mickey Zhang got two rebounds, and Zayn Al-Shawe came through again with a solid 5 rebounds. All in all, it was an exciting game that not only came down to points, but crucial steals and rebounds by the entire team. Submitted by Jason Moore
Game Summary – Bluesbreakers vs Yardbirds: The Bluesbreakers squared off against the Yardbirds for the second week in a row. The game figured to be a defensive battle, and it lived up to the hype.
Both teams got early looks at the basket, but shots were not falling thanks to solid defensive efforts from each side. Stellan Haberli (5 points, 2 rebounds, 1 block) converted a jump shot in the paint to get the Bluesbreakers on the board. The Yardbirds responded with a basket of their own in the paint to tie the score at 2-2. Some nice defense by Miles Smith (2 rebounds, 1 steal) and Zeke Sarr (2 steals) kept the game tied. Efe Gocen and Adrian Yen each pulled down a rebound to also help close out defensive possessions.
Joaquin Jimenez (1 point, 2 rebounds, 1 block, and 1 steal) sank a free throw at the end of the first half to put the Blues up 3-2. Joaquin’s defense was especially good, leading to lots of extra possessions for the team.
The second half was even more of a defensive struggle as both sides looked to break the game open. Playing in just her second game of the season, Qiao Ren collected her first career rebound, and a timely one at that. Arayam Abjani stepped up huge for the team and anchored the defense with an outstanding effort that earned him Player of the Game honors. Arayam finished with 6 rebounds and 2 clutch steals. The Yardbirds made a late push to take the lead back, but the Bluesbreakers did not yield. After the buzzer sounded, some post-game free throws settled the score. Oliver Harris of the Yardbirds knocked down a free throw, Stellan Haberli went the line and added another point to make the final score Bluesbreakers 6 – Yardbirds 3. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood
YARDBIRDS GET A CASE OF THE BLUES AGAIN — November 3rd. Dare I say our whole team was excited and ready for a rematch with the Blues, yet sometimes the basket has a proverbial lid on it? We’re always strong on defense, but my wife guesstimates we went 1 for 14 shooting from the field (God bless, Richard Haro), and only 1 for 4 from the free throw line (God bless, Oliver Harris). We had a chance to win down to the final possession, but throughout the game our passing was a bit too slow and our shots were rushed. Allow me to use this space to emphasize again Richard Haro’s evolving, admirable game, as this contest he added 3 BLOCKS to his usual stat line of 2 points, 3 steals and 1 rebound. He’s surely getting some Rookie League MVP consideration by now! As for the Blues, like us they have forwards who can rebound and guards who can dribble. Hopefully, next time we see them, the ball goes in our basket a little more. Final Score: Yardbirds end up the 2-Seed going into Tournament play, losing to the 1-seeded Blues, 6-3. Submitted by Coach Pete Harris
The Pretenders played their 6th game this past Saturday afternoon against the shorthanded but athletic Beat squad. Trying to build on our two game winning streak, our team once again played strong all around defense keeping the score close throughout the first half. Victoria McNary played a great all around game, scoring 6 points, stealing the ball consistently, getting rebounds and had a great first half assist to Taylor Summers. The 2nd half the Beat started to pull away as our shots just wouldn’t fall. Then Dylan Kravitz hit his first 3 pointer of the year and all of a sudden it was a 13-11 tight contest entering the final minutes. It stayed that way until the end when both teams had numerous free throws to try and win the game. Unfortunately for us, our shots didn’t go in and The Beat came away with a hard fought 15-11 win. Submitted by Coach Bill Kravitz
The Clovers continued their winning ways and remain undefeated with a victory over the Delfonics. In this game, all Clover Players scored a basket. Standout performances by the Clovers Guy and Leo Sikora, Leo Mooney, Jonathan Shu, Henry Olivier, and Ryan Schuster, helped the Clovers get the early lead, by employing their patented half court trap. Next weekend should be a good test for the Clovers as they face the Drifters. Submitted by DocDrew
After a semi-lackluster game last week, the Clovers bounced back with harmonic and inspired play to defeat the Delfonics 53-32. The Clovers came out on a mission to increase their focus, intensity, team play and fundamentals – They accomplished all 4. Much of last practice was spent on using the backboard when shooting within 5 feet and the Clovers carried that skill into the game. They also exhibited better boxing-out techniques and off-ball screens. Perhaps the most exciting part of the game, was watching all the Clovers cheering and supporting their teammates. For the second time this season all 11 Clovers managed to score at-least one basket. The Clovers know it all starts on the defensive end and their trap and defensive pressure was at its peak.
Building on a solid performance during the last few weeks, Player of the Game, Henry Olivier logged 6 points and 2 rebounds. But his stats don’t tell the whole story. He was all over the floor and beautifully played the passing lanes and was consistently on the floor grabbing loose balls.
Jonathan Shu had a subtle but dominating performance scoring again in double figures with 10 points and grabbing a team high 9 boards. Both Leo Sikora and Ryan Schuster had s similar stat lines with 8 points, 7 rebounds and an assist…. Schuster had one of his best all-around games of the season. Leo Mooney was again solid at the point and through his pressure D dictated the games tempo… and 5 points 4 rebs.
Guy Sikora and Patrick Chiang dropped 4 each and Dominic Drew, Rayan Etemadnia, Rowan Booher rounded out the scoring with 2 points. Booher, Etemadnia and the Man also pulled down 4 boards.
The Clovers round out the regular season against a well-coached and very big and tough Drifters team. Let’s see if they can keep up the defensive momentum and unselfish play as the head into the playoffs. Submitted by Coach Jonathan Schuster
The Godfathers beat the Parliaments last Saturday, picking up their first win this season. Noah Kratz got things going for the Godfathers with a nice baseline jumper in the first quarter. Amir Jahromi was dominant throughout, finishing with a double double (14 points, 11 boards, and 3 blocked shots) earning himself player of the game honors. Bruno Picazo led in scoring with 16 points, going 2 for 2 from the line. Shiva McIntosh scored 9 points and was strong on defense. Bruno and Shiva each had multiple steals. Isley Williams also stepped up, hitting a couple nice shots, including a three-pointer in the third quarter. Mo Jahromi and Alex Wray both hustled and supported their teammates with rebounds and smart passes. The Godfathers showed what they are capable of when they play hard and play as a team. Submitted by Coach Jonathan Wray
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 the Szabo family. Coach Peter is coaching his first season of youth basketball with his son Mecs on the Rascals. Peter has been a recruiter by bringing many new kids to the program that are all on the Rascals. Peter has brought enthusiasm to the league with not only his great attitude and approach, but also all the excitement generated from his new kids to the program on his team, with the leader in enthusiasm, his son Mecs, and even more from the youngest and future player Gethin, all under the control of team mom Chelsea. I was able to wrangle a couple Rascals to get some questions answered:
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about playing basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Mecs: Offense. I like shooting and passing to my teammates.
DocDrew: Who are your favorite players and why?
Mecs: Emma Kapczynski because I like passing to her. And I like Kyrie Irving because I like how he dribbles.
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about coaching youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Coach Peter: Spending time with our son & seeing the team gel as the season goes on. We started off with 11 kids, some of whom knew each other, but most didn’t. Now seeing them cheer each other on and support their teammates has been a blast to watch.
DocDrew: Who inspires you as a coach?
Coach Peter: The bad coaches I had growing up. I loved playing sports but had some pretty lousy coaches. Lots of yelling & threatening. I never understood why we had to be yelled at all the time. I always swore if I had kids and got to coach them, I would make sure everyone had fun and enjoyed playing.
DocDrew: what do enjoy about having your children participate in youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Chelsea (Coach Peter’s wife): I love that not only is Mecs learning the skills and rules necessary to play basketball but he’s learning to do it through a lens of good sportsmanship.
The Santa Monica YMCA is truly thankful to have the Szabo family become a part of our program. They bring positive reinforcement and support to all the youth that participate, and help build confidence in learning and helping the kids enjoy the game of basketball.
Happy birthday to the boy who is my inspiration to take on being a youth sports coordinator, my son Dominic. I wouldn’t be where I’m at today if it wasn’t for his motivation that he gives me. Love you!!
Heartbreakers 18, Runaways 6
Bosses 14, Police 16
Pretenders 11, Beat 15
Impressions 58, Whispers 25
Clovers 53, Delfonics 32
Parliaments 36, Godfathers 44
Temptations 26, Commodores 43
Animals 10, Rascals 8
Turtles 17, Zombies 5
Yardbirds 3, Bluesbreakers 6
Delfonics 29, Whispers 30
Platters 20, Drifters 30
Supremes 36, Miracles 44
Spinners 35, Wonders 38
Culver Middle School(Culver-Palms YMCA Fall League)
Culver Palms (U8) 12, Santa Monica YMCA 6
Culver Palms (U10) 6, Santa Monica YMCA 20
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.
Bluesbreakers 4-2-0, 22 points *Bluesbreakers beat Yardbirds head to head twice, and beat Turtles head to head
Yardbirds 4-2-0, 22 points *beat Turtles head to head
Turtles 4-2-0, 22 points
Zombies 3-3-0, 18 points *Zombies beat Animals head to head
Animals 3-3-0, 18 points
Rascals 0-5-0, 5 points
Pretenders 4-2-0, 22 points
Revolution 3-1-1, 19 points
Police 3-3-0, 18 points
Heartbreakers 2-2-2, 18 points
Beat 3-1-1, 18 points (-1 for UTF)
Cars 2-1-1, 14 points
Bosses 2-4-0, 14 points
Runaways 0-5-1, 8 points
Clovers 6-0-0, 30 points
Impressions 5-1-0, 26 points
Whispers 4-3-0, 23 points
Drifters 4-2-0, 22 points
Coasters 2-3-0, 13 points
Delfonics 1-6-0, 11 points
Platters 1-4-0, 9 points
Express 0-4-0, 4 points
Commodores 6-0-0, 30 points
Wonders 4-2-0, 22 points *Wonders beat Spinners head to head
Spinners 4-2-0, 22 points
Parliaments 3-3-0, 18 points
Miracles 3-2-0, 17 points
Temptations 2-3-0, 12 points (-1 for UTF)
Godfathers 1-5-0, 10 points
Supremes 0-6-0, 6 points
All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA
R=Rookies, B=Bantams, MN=Minors, MJ=Majors
97 10:30 AM B Cars Bosses
98 11:40 AM OPEN
99 12:50 PM B Runaways Beat
100 2:00 PM MN Platters Coasters
101 3:10 PM MN Drifters Clovers
102 4:20 PM MN Impressions Express
103 5:30 PM B Pretenders Revolution
104 6:40 PM OPEN
105 10:30 AM R Turtles Rascals
STANDINGS AS OF 11-4-19/QUARTER FINAL
106 11:40 AM R Zombies Animals
STANDINGS AS OF 11-4-19/QUARTER FINAL
107 12:50 PM B Beat Cars
108 2:00 PM B Heartbreakers Police
109 3:10 PM MN Coasters Express
110 4:20 PM MJ Temptations Miracles
111 5:30 PM OPEN
112 6:40 PM OPEN
Culver Middle School(Culver-Palms YMCA Fall League)
1:30 PM 6-7 division vs Santa Monica YMCA
3:30 PM 8-9 division vs Santa Monica YMCA
4:30 PM 10-11 division vs Santa Monica YMCA
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish