By Dr. Paul Drew
Welcome to the eighth 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.
We are more than ⅔ thru our Fall season, and teams are jockeying for positions in the season ending tournaments that will start later this month for the Bantam, Minor, and Major divisions. The Rookies already started their tourney this past weekend. League champions for each division will be determined by which team has the most points throughout the entire season. During the regular season, teams earn 5 points for a win, 3 points for a tie, 1 point for a loss. Tournament games have greater point value. In theory, it’s possible for a team to win the season ending tournament, but not have enough points to win the league championship. This is why every game counts throughout the season.
The Winter season of youth basketball has filled up very quickly; however, there are spots still available at this time of publication of this article. Registration for the Winter season is available 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 YMCA youth basketball program, I have a series of articles about the history of the Los Angeles Lakers in the Swish. I now present part two of the series.
History of the Los Angeles Lakers
1958–1968: The Baylor/West duo – Move to Los Angeles and Celtics rivalry
Last place, however, meant the first pick in the draft, and the Lakers chose wisely, picking Elgin Baylor, who went on to win the NBA Rookie of the Year Award after averaging 24.9 points per game and 15.0 rebounds per game. In 1959, Baylor and Mikkelsen were able to lead the team past their recent nemesis, the Hawks, and into the Finals, where they fell to the then-emerging Boston Celtics in the first four-game sweep in NBA Finals history. This marked the start of the long rivalry between the two teams. 1960 saw the Lakers start poorly, but they managed to make the playoffs with a meager 25–50 record. They were defeated again, however, by the Hawks.
In 1958, the Brooklyn Dodgers of Major League Baseball moved to Los Angeles and quickly became a huge financial success. Short did not fail to notice this. After considering moves to Chicago and San Francisco, he decided to move the franchise to Los Angeles prior to the 1961 season, making the Lakers the NBA’s first West Coast team. The Lakers did not change their name after this second move, despite the general scarcity of natural lakes in southern California. Minneapolis, meanwhile, would remain without an NBA franchise until the debut of the Minnesota Timberwolves in 1989.
Besides the relocation to Los Angeles, a second big change to the team was the addition of point guard Jerry West. A third was the hiring of West’s college coach Fred Schaus to helm the team, and a fourth was the post-season addition of Francis Dayle “Chick” Hearn as the Lakers’ play-by-play announcer. Hearn would go on to hold that post for the next 41 years.
The new Los Angeles Lakers, behind Baylor’s 34.8 points per game and 19.8 rebounds per game, improved on the previous year’s results before losing once more to the Hawks in the Western Conference Finals. The duo of Baylor and West proved to be lethal and they both finished among the NBA’s top 10 scorers for the next four years. Baylor was called to active military duty during the 1961–62 season following the Berlin crisis and was only available on weekends. Nevertheless, Baylor and West went on to average 38.3 and 30.8 points per game respectively during the regular season. The Lakers were able to pull together and make the NBA Finals, only to lose in heartbreaking fashion to a now-dominant Celtics team. Baylor set a record for most points scored in a playoff game with 61, which stood for 25 years and is still an NBA Finals and regulation game record. The Celtics defeated the Lakers twice more in the Finals over the next three years.
September 1965 saw another team upheaval when Short sold the team to Canadian-American entrepreneur Jack Kent Cooke for $5 million. Also, rookie Gail Goodrich joined the team.
On November 20 of that year, the Lakers played the San Francisco Warriors in Las Vegas. The game was notable because Chick Hearn was not present to announce it. He had gone to Fayetteville, Arkansas to announce a college football game, and inclement weather had prevented his flight from being able to leave in time for him to make it to Las Vegas for the Lakers game. It was only the second game he had missed for the Lakers since starting with the team in 1961. It was also the last game he would miss for the next 36 years. Beginning on November 21, 1965, Hearn announced the next 3,338 consecutive Laker regular season and playoff games. As for the team that season, the Lakers would find themselves in the Finals once again in 1966, promptly losing to the Celtics once again.
The Lakers moved to Cooke’s brand-new arena, The Forum, in 1967 with new coach Bill van Breda Kolff. That year saw the team repeat its now-bitter pattern, losing to the Celtics in the 1968 NBA Finals.
In Quarterfinal Rookie action, the Animals came out strong to beat the Zombies 10 to 4. Player of the game Mariella Belew helped lead the Animals with two rebounds and a crucial fourth quarter basket, which was her 1st points of the season to give the Animals the final momentum for the win. Keanu Straughter came through with 2 rebounds, a blocked shot and assist to help the team. Elliot Israels had his best game putting up a season high 5 boards which was crucial for this victory as it came down to defense and rebounding.
Colson Moore also came through big with 6 rebounds, 3 steals, and scored 2 points. Mariama Belew again had a great game, getting 4 points, led the team with 4 steals, and also had 3 rebounds. Jason Gaines was also active on the boards grabbing 4 rebounds. Weston Bren also had a steal and 1 rebound. Mickey Zhang had his first steal of the season.
Zayn Al-Shawe had a solid game with 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and an important 4th quarter basket to help seal the game for the Animals. It was a great team effort where defense and effective rebounding played a big role. Submitted by Jason Moore
Pretenders vs Revolution
The Revolution met the Pretenders in a battle for first place in the Bantam division. In a game with playoff-level intensity and atmosphere throughout, the Revolution came out strong, playing trademark tough defense and crashing the boards against a determined and physical Pretenders side. The game was very close and swung back and forth with the Revolution having a difficult time getting the ball to drop on the offensive end, but making some nice plays including a layup on a fast break by Wiley Scheflen (4 points, 5 rebounds, 3 steals and 1 assist) that drew an intentional foul, with Player of the Game Elliot Ma cooly sinking both free throws to add to his game-high 6 points, 5 rebounds, and 4 steals. Axel Trussler chipped in with 4 rebounds and 2 steals, with Rhys Scheflen contributing 3 boards and a steal, Brooks Stuber grabbing 5 big rebounds, Alden Wong a key rebound, Alex Ma 2 rebounds, and Teddy Chang 2 rebounds and 2 points. Jonathan Watson had a great all around game, pouring in 4 points and grabbing 3 rebounds, and Benjamin Saunders was a monster on the glass mopping up a game-high 10 rebounds as well as a steal. The Revolution went ahead 16-14 at the end of regulation, and prevailed in the end as the Pretenders sank only 1 of their 5 second–half free throws. Final score Revolution 16, Pretenders 15. Submitted by Coach Sarah Scheflen
November 2, 2019 – Police 16 Bosses 14. The Bantam Police and Bosses shook off the Halloween calories with an exciting afternoon game. The Police edged out the Bosses 16 -14, led by Player of the Game Jaxton Moore who scored 8 points, 5 rebounds, and had one steal. Theo Richards scored 6 points and Nick Varo had 2 points which helped give the Police the edge over the Bosses.
Tristan Hayes was all over the boards grabbing 6 important rebounds and an assist. Also on the boards was Logan Cappiccille, Ryan Drew, and Xander Zheu each with a rebound. Roman Gabriel snagged 2 rebounds and an assist to help the team effort. Submitted by Jason Moore
Bosses upset Cars: The Bosses have been improving weekly, although it doesn’t always show up in the box score. This weekend, we played hard and played well for all 32 minutes to earn an upset win over the Cars. Aaron Dyner, in addition to playing excellent defense, would score first, but our 2-0 lead would eventually be an 8-2 deficit at halftime. Davis Forkner arrived from soccer at halftime; which brought an emotional lift to our other players and some hope that we could come back.
Slowly, but surely, we inched closer to the Cars. Davis and Ryan Lim dropped the key buckets and both played tough defense, as we caught up and then took a lead into after-game free throws. Ryan would hit 2 free throws to ice the game and the Bosses fans and players went home very happy. Credit Vitalina Moncher for tenacious defense in the paint to help keep us in the game. Evelia Brea, Terry Gunderson, and Mason Alvarez played very well and were key contributors to our victory. Submitted by Coach Rick Moncher
The Runaways got off to their strongest start of the season against The Beat this past weekend due to the smooth shooting of Kammie Chen as she scored the first four points of the first quarter. That was followed up by an exciting buzzer beater from Siena Shickler, who took the ball coast-to-coast to hit a shot from the free throw line as time expired, giving the Runaways a 6-4 lead.
In the second quarter The Runaways continued to give the ball to Kammie who had the hot hand, and she drained two more field goals. Aggressive defensive from Alex Zelenovic and Dahlia Sharifi kept the game close while the aggressive offense from Eloise Sielger earned her a trip to the free throw line to close out the first half.
The Runaways cooled off in the second half and The Beat began to pull away but Alexa Sharifi’s tenacious offensive rebounding led to a put-back basket, her first make of the season. Tara Gohill, Lara Masood, and Delilah Holsey displayed excellent passing skills to keep The Runaways offense moving at a high level which earned the team 6 free throws to end the game. Catherine Casas made 1 of 2 free throws and Alexa made 1 of her free throws as well, for her third point of the game. In the end it wasn’t enough as The Beat were able to pull out the victory 19-12. Submitted by Coach Jeff Holsey
Police & Heartbreakers took it to the court and Police had their roughest and lack of momentum game of the season… on the other side Heartbreakers fought with relentless fierceness for rebounds, and got more shots off. Police played tough, but the Heartbreakers just brought too much overall and the Police let the game get out of hand falling to Heartbreakers 20-7 after 4 quarters. In the fight for the Police, Jaxton Moore had 4 rebounds, 3 points, 3 steals, and a block. Theo Richards had 4 points, 1 steal and 1 rebound. Brandon Israels had 6 rebounds, and 1 block. Roman Gabriel had 6 rebounds. Nick Varo had 2 steals, 1 rebound, and 1 assist. Logan Cappiccille had 2 rebounds, Tristan Hayes had a rebound and steal, and Ryan Drew grabbed a rebound. Jackson Garrett had an assist and Xander Zhou played his best defense. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes
11/2/19 Clovers vs Delfonics: After a semi-lackluster game last week, the Clovers bounced back with inspired play to defeat the Delfonics 53-32. The Clovers tackled their mission to increase their focus, intensity, passing and fundamentals. Our last practice spent using the backboard when shooting within 5 feet and paid off big during 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 hustled all over the floor, beautifully played the passing lanes and was consistently 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 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 game’s tempo… and notched 5 points 4 rebs.
Guy Sikora and Patrick Chiang dropped 4 each and Dominic Drew, Rayan Etemadnia and Rowan Booher rounded out the scoring with 2 points each. Booher, Etemadnia and the Man also pulled down 4 boards.
The Clovers round out the regular season against a well-coached and tough Drifters team. Let’s see if they can keep up the defensive momentum and unselfish play as they head into the playoffs! Submitted by Coach Jonathan Schuster
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 new coach and referee Christian Straughter and his son Keanu. Christian is coaching his son Keanu, in the Rookies, and soon will be coaching his daughter Aaliyah and son Keanu in the Bantams this coming Winter season. Christian has brought a whole new level of energy and excitement for the kids in our program, and Keanu has brought enthusiasm for playing the game of basketball.
Christian not only displays his talents as a referee and coach, but is a high level amateur player that recently won a men’s league championship with his teammate Ian Roper, our assistant youth sports coordinator. As a player, Christian can understand how a young athlete is feeling when on the court, and can help a child develop their skills, and as a devoted father, can help with the emotional needs of his players, and how to best understand what works for one child as compared to another child.
Often times, as I play a game of HORSE with Christian in the gym, we talk about what’s best for the development of all the kids in the program. I have yet to win a game of HORSE against Christian, but I always feel like a winner after he gives me my daily beating.
Christian and Keanu were gracious enough to answer some questions for Swish:
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about playing basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Keanu: I enjoy making shots and my dad coaching me.
DocDrew: Who are your favorite players and why?
Keanu: Lebron James because he’s a Laker and my teammate Mariama because she’s really good.
Coach Christian: Penny Hardaway, Kobe Bryant, Allen Iverson, and Paul Pierce because he is the greatest player to ever come from my hometown and high school “INGLEWOOD”.
DocDrew: What do you enjoy most about coaching youth basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Coach Christian: I enjoy watching young players improve. I enjoy watching the joy of a player making a basket for the first time. The face the kids make are truly priceless, and the parents are so excited for the kids. It’s a truly unique experience and every kid is different in the reaction.
DocDrew: Who inspires you as a coach?
Coach Christian: Phil Jackson is a coach that I draw inspiration from because he wouldn’t panic and call timeouts. He would just let the players figure it out, and allow the game to just play and force players to do what was done in practice. Practice is where basketball truly begins (sorry Allen Iverson, we’re talking bout practice) and the game should reflect what we just practiced. I can’t make players do anything, but I can create a honest and fun environment that offers suggestions of how to play hard. The last thing I learned from Phil Jackson is to just talk to your players, shake everybody’s hand and have a conversation and you’ll start learning who they are.
I personally want to thank the Straughter family for all their support to the youth basketball program at the Santa Monica YMCA. Especially want to thank Christian for always being there when I need help and advice. His shot is why I call this periodical “Swish”.
Cars 11, Bosses 14
Runaways 12, Beat 19
Pretenders 15, Revolution 16
Platters 11, Coasters 7
Drifters 25, Clovers 35
Impressions 32, Express 25
Turtles 11, Rascals 14
Zombies 4, Animals 10
Beat 14, Cars 18
Heartbreakers 20, Police 7
Coasters 27, Express 17
Temptations 57, Miracles 44
Culver Middle School(Culver-Palms YMCA Fall League)
Culver/Palms YMCA 6-7 division 12, Santa Monica YMCA 6
Culver/Palms YMCA 8-9 division 9, Santa Monica YMCA 6
Culver/Palms YMCA 10-11 division 10, Santa Monica YMCA 30
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.
Turtles 4-3-0, 23 points *Turtles beat Animals head to head
Animals 4-3-0, 23 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
Zombies 3-4-0, 19 points
Rascals 1-6-0, 11 points
Beat 4-2-1, 24 points (-1 for UTF) *Beat won over Revolution head to head
Revolution 4-1-1, 24 points
Heartbreakers 3-2-2, 23 points *Heartbreakers beat Pretenders head to head
Pretenders 4-3-0, 23 points
Cars 3-2-1, 20 points
Police 3-4-0, 19 points *Police beat the Bosses head to head
Bosses 3-4-0, 19 points
Runaways 0-6-1, 9 points
Clovers 7-0-0, 35 points
Impressions 6-1-0, 32 points
Drifters 4-3-0, 23 points *Drifters beat Whispers head to head
Whispers 4-3-0, 23 points
Coasters 3-4-0, 19 points
Platters 2-4-0, 14 points
Delfonics 1-6-0, 11 points
Express 0-6-0, 6 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
Miracles 3-3-0, 18 point *Miracles beat Parliaments head to head
Parliaments 3-3-0, 18 points
Temptations 3-3-0, 17 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
113 10:30 AM R Bluesbreakers Animals
SEMI FINAL 6-4-2 POINTS
114 11:40 AM R Yardbirds Rascals
SEMI FINAL 6-4-2 POINTS
115 12:50 PM R or B vs Culver 6-7 at Santa Monica YMCA
116 2:00 PM MN Express Platters
117 3:10 PM MJ Miracles Commodores
118 4:20 PM B Cars Revolution
119 5:30 PM OPEN
120 6:40 PM OPEN
121 10:30 AM R Bluesbreakers Turtles
122 11:40 AM R Yardbirds Zombies
123 12:50 PM MJ Spinners Parliaments
124 2:00 PM MJ Wonders Temptations
125 3:10 PM MJ Collins/Katz YMCA Godfathers
126 4:20 PM MN SaMo YMCA Collins/Katz YMCA
127 5:30 PM. OPEN
128 6:40 PM OPEN
Culver Middle School(Culver-Palms YMCA Fall League)
2:30 PM Culver/Palms YMCA 8-9 division vs Santa Monica YMCA
4:30 PM Culver/Palms YMCA 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