By Dr. Paul Drew
Welcome to the second issue of volume six 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.
February is Black History Month, and I will start with this issue of Swish, a series of articles, now through February, from the Black Fives Foundation. Please visit their website www.BlackFives.org
This is an amazing organization that helps to educate all young players and fans of basketball about the early pioneers of the game that have influenced following generations, and will continue to influence the game of basketball for future generations to come.
The following is from The Black Fives Foundation and founder Claude Johnson
Our Mission: The Black Fives Foundation works to research, preserve, showcase, and teach the pre-1950 history of African Americans in basketball while honoring its pioneers and their descendants.
Purpose: We work with the pre-1950 history of African American basketball teams (the “Black Fives Era”) in order to:
Promote educational advancement,
Stimulate interest in history and the humanities,
Teach leadership and character development,
Enrich appreciation of culture and the arts,
Build fitness and health awareness,
Encourage community-based youth programming,
Illuminate sports industry career opportunities,
Advocate for the recognition of the era’s pioneers and their descendants, and,
Enable these efforts through innovative uses of technology as well as via traditional means.
The Black Fives Era In Perspective
Just after the game of basketball was invented in 1891, teams were called “fives” in reference to their five starting players.
Basketball, like American society, was racially segregated. Teams made up entirely of African American players were often known as “colored quints,” “Negro cagers,” or “black fives.”
The sport remained divided from 1904 — when basketball was first introduced to African Americans on a wide scale organized basis — until the racial integration of the National Basketball League in the 1940s and the National Basketball Association in 1950.
The period in between became known as the Black Fives Era, when dozens of all-black teams emerged, flourished, and excelled.
African Americans were making moves in basketball generations before the N.B.A. was born.
At first, those teams – sponsored by churches, athletic and social clubs, “Colored” YMCAs, businesses, and newspapers – had few places to play, since gymnasiums and athletic clubs were whites-only.
But when the phonograph emerged in the early 1900s, black music – ragtime, jazz, and blues – became so popular that a dance craze swept America. Almost overnight, sheet music and player pianos in the parlor gave way to dance halls and ballrooms.
Positive and culturally affirming opportunities in the entertainment industry replaced the insulting, degrading minstrelsy of the past.
For observant and enterprising African American sports promoters, these spaces became ready-made basketball venues on off nights, featuring music by top black musicians and dancing afterward until well past midnight.
In urban industrial centers like New York, Washington, Pittsburgh, and Chicago, black people were in motion.
New migrants from the South as well as new immigrants from all parts of the Caribbean, Africa, Central, and South America were looking for ways to meet each other and assimilate.
As a result, Black Fives Era basketball games went beyond the sport itself and became meaningful social events.
Though commonplace today, the marriage of basketball and music was an African American innovation that grew out of necessity, opportunism, timing, and broad cultural awareness by community leaders.
This is why so many early game advertisements included the headline, “Basket Ball and Dance.”
There never existed a black professional basketball league akin to baseball’s Negro Leagues. However, independent African American teams played within a well-organized nationwide barnstorming circuit.
They commanded national attention in the Negro press and headlines in local papers while battling for the annual right to be called “Colored Basketball World’s Champions.”
The Black Fives Era spanned what were perhaps America’s darkest yet most colorful years, a rich period that included the First Black Migration, the emergence of the phonograph and radio, the growth of entertainment culture, the explosion of jazz, ragtime, and the blues, vice reform, lynchings and race riots, the ballroom dancing craze, Prohibition, the Roaring ’20s, the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Depression, two World Wars, and the Golden Age of Sports.
Out of many, one African American team, the New York Renaissance (aka Harlem “Rens”) stood apart as arguably the most successful basketball team of the century, irrespective of race or ethnicity.
From 1923 to 1948, the Rens won 2,588 of 3,117 games – a staggering winning percentage of 83% sustained over a 25-year period!
The Rens ushered in the Harlem Renaissance period, smashed the color barrier in pro basketball, and helped pave the way for the Civil Rights Movement.
The teams and players of the Black Fives Era created something from nothing, with no road map, no instructions, and no recipes, despite many fears, doubts, and obstacles – and for little more than the love of the game.
With definite plans, collective purpose, and relentless pursuit, they kept climbing to higher levels of success on increasingly bigger stages, in front of ever growing audiences.
All the while they fostered hope, aspiration, pride, unity, pragmatism, and self-esteem among African Americans during a time — the most pivotal period in black history of the last century — when those attributes were prerequisites for sheer survival.
The men and women of the Black Fives Era were true basketball pioneers whose desire simply to play their best and innovate the game opened doors for generations of African American players.
In doing so they left a worldwide legacy that inspires not only ballers, but also all of us to this day. Now you can find out more!
1/18/2020: The Comets faced off against the talented Wildcats on Saturday. The Wildcats came roaring out of the gates and took an early 6 to 0 lead in the first quarter. The Comets dug down deep, turned up the defensive pressure, and went on an 8 to 0 run to come out ahead by two points at the half. The second half was classic SM YMCA basketball on both sides of the court for both teams. For the Comets, Luca Samson was named Player of the Game for the second week in a row, racking up 6 points, 4 rebounds, and a season high 5 steals. Dylan Geary had 2 rebounds, 3 steals, and 2 big jump shots in the second quarter to put the Comets ahead of the Wildcats going into halftime. August Fenderson had 1 steal and 1 rebound while controlling the ball around the perimeter throughout the game. Sydney Summers stepped up in the second half, pulling 2 rebounds and 1 steal. Henry Kendall owned the blocks, including a rebound and a steal. Rapha Darsky put pressure on the Wildcats scoring threats and moved well with and without the ball throughout the game. Brandon Tae-Soo Kim was ferocious on defense and showed steady poise on the offense end of the court. Oliver Nabel played consistent Comets basketball all game long, keeping up the pressure on the Wildcats guards. Liam Broihier had a stellar second half with 1 steal and the defensive play of the game, laying out to tip the ball away and break up the Wildcats last fast break opportunity in the closing seconds. Final score: Wildcats 10, Comets 10. Submitted by Coach Kevin Geary
SUPER BEES REENACT THE MOVIE “HOOSIERS!” — January 18th. On gameday the Super Bees were down to 7–sometimes 6 kids–on the team, and as you know, 6-year-old’s are human just like NBA players, and they tire. However, no breaks could be given… And our kids proved unbreakable. Oliver Harris got the scoring started with 2 points in the 1st quarter then he hit a free throw at halftime that ended up being the difference. Player of the Game, Rex Stone was our “Jimmy Chitwood” with all the rest of our buckets, 6 points to go with 5 rebounds and 1 steal (have a party, Rex!). Point guard James Haro was a defensive dynamo with 4 steals and 3 rebounds. But our force in the paint was Maddox Preston who amassed a whopping 9 rebounds, yet none bigger than the last one he caught that narrowly missed for the other team. Thus, the Super Bees persevered by the slimmest of margins over the tall & talented Coronets, 9-8. What’s next for these cardiac kids? Only next Sunday @ 2 will tell…. submitted by Coach Pete Harris
The talented Thunderbolts were short-staffed last weekend as they took on the talented Dusters. Missing from the action were star players Dylan Mills, Eloise Siegler, Austin Bernier, Nevoh Zach, and Xander Zhou. Coach G. was really nervous about taking on the Dusters without a full line up, but fortunately, the Thunderbolts have two additional coaches who share equal responsibility for putting the kids in a position to win. The Thunderbolts are fortunate to have Spencer Nelson’s dad Justin as a coach on the team as his presence really had Spencer in a groove defensively against the Dusters. Also in the coaching mix is Luca Anderson’s dad Amos who played a huge role in keeping our players calm, cool, and collected during gameplay. Sampson Anderson had the most playing time during this game as his height, athleticism and leadership were needed in order to help secure the win. Levi Hamilton showed a strong performance by scoring his first bucket of the season, as did his teammate River Greenwell who utilized skills learned from “Coach Corey” his personal trainer. River snagged a rebound, secured the ball and put it right back up for a solid score. Spencer Nelson was fantastic on defense and he exhibited a winning attitude despite the Thunderbolts being down early in the game. Luca Hayutin demonstrated that he is a great ball-handler and shooter as well. Luca Hayutin also played a strong defense against the Dusters. Gabriel Chibane was a top scorer on the team as well and a tremendously important player on defense. All in all, it was a fantastic team effort. The Thunderbolts won the game 16 – 8 and the player of the game was Luca Anderson. Submitted by Coach Chris Greenwell
The Fury and Caminos faced off for their 1st game of the season. The 1st quarter stayed pretty even ending 6 to 6, but during the 2nd quarter Caminos put on the heat and Fury found themselves down 16-8 at the half. Third quarter the Fury made a push bringing it 14-16 at one point, but by the end of the 4th Fury’s defense wasn’t enough to stop Caminos who took it 29-18 which included a last second 3 pointer shot made by the Caminos. Fury was missing possibly their best player Sunday and a few other good players, but that said, the Fury still showed they can score the ball and defend even if it couldn’t get the job done this game.
Gabriel Hendifar, did a bit of everything for the Fury and lead the team with 10 points, 6 steals, 4 rebounds, and a block…he played a killer game. Ari Javid added 4 points, 3 steals, and 2 rebounds. Tristan Hayes had 2 points, 3 rebounds, and 2 steals. Roman Gabriel had 2 points and 3 rebounds. Nick Varo pulled down 5 rebounds, and grabbed a steal. Ryan Drew snagged 4 rebounds. Christopher Brehme played the best defense he could vs the tough Caminos. Submitted by Coach Holden Hayes
Action shots of the Camaros versus Judges. Photos by Apolonia Drew.
In week two of the Santa Monica YMCA’s 2020 winter youth basketball season, fans and parents alike were treated to three highly competitive major league match-ups that is a great sign of things to come for the remainder of the season.
The first game — the Stingrays vs. the Cobras — was a tightly-contested match that came down to the wire. In the first half, the Stingrays’ ball movement was superb, resulting in many easy points around the basket for interior scorers Kayvon Abadi and Luca Bainbridge. On the perimeter, Jason Tun did a fantastic job controlling the offensive and creating opportunities for his team. For the Cobras, Joey Little’s dribble skills sparked some offensive of it’s own, while Jaxson Glowacki controlled the boards. At the half, the Stingrays were able to hold a slight two point lead over the Cobras with a score of 20-18.
The second half had many other contributors for both teams make their mark on the game. In the 3rd quarter, guard Lorenzo Stabilini had a highlight-worthy pass that threaded the defense and led to an easy basket underneath. In the 4th quarter with the game tied up at 30-30, Sasha Yansen of the Stingrays sank a jumper off-the-glass, which was immediately matched by a three-point swish by the Cobra’s own Connor Sullivan. For the rest of the 4th quarter, both teams battled to maintain their slight leads, which never exceeded past a couple points. With just 12 seconds left, Alex Wray swished a beautiful mid-range jumper, which secured a 1 point lead as time ran out, giving the Stingrays the 34-33 advantage going into free throws. However, clutch free throw shooting by Stabilini, Sullivan and Glowacki finalized the score to be a 38-35 win for the Cobras. Both teams played with hustle, and should be proud regardless of the score.
The second game of the day pitted the Firebirds against the Barracudas. Once the opening tip was won by the Firebirds, it was clear that this game would consist of both teams playing scrappy and tough. Great hustle plays and baskets by Sebastian Ramirez and Jesse Lister respectively got the Firebirds off to a strong start, while the Barracudas’ Jack Froom matched them with multiple 1st quarter baskets to give the Barracudas an early lead. However, In the 2nd quarter, the Firebirds’ Julian Bao demonstrated his passing skills, which cumulated in easy points for the team and gave them the necessary momentum to build a strong lead. Xailoh Hermosillo’s and Oliver Ghiassi’s jump shooting were some of the many notable patterns that contributed to the 31-17 cushion held by the Firebirds. Despite the deficit, the Barracudas displayed hustle and drive throughout the game. Bruno Picazo had athletic drive-and-kick plays to shooters like Keenan Bryant, who made three three-pointers throughout the course of the game. Leo Mooney did a great job hunting down loose balls, and Dean Phelan contributed a couple of made baskets of his own. However, the Firebirds remained sturdy, and came away with an impressive 56-31 win.
Summaries submitted by Santa Monica High reporter Sam Kohn
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 Petros brothers, Adi and older brother Nathan. Oftentimes, I will come into my office, and see the boys practicing their game, and they come over to say hello, and tell me what they are up to, and offer any of their help with the program in regards to helping other young players.
In the past year, I’ve witnessed both of them mature, and become more open to advice and to helping the younger kids at the YMCA. The Petros family has been a part of our program and the YMCA since the boys were very young, and I always enjoy their company and family spirit that they bring to the YMCA.
DocDrew: What are your most memorable moments in your basketball career at the YMCA?
Nathan: Last season, I played on a team called the Parliaments. In one of my games, we were playing one of the best teams in the league and my confident self launched a three pointer from a little bit in front of the half court line. As I scolded myself for shooting such a idiotic shot, I was astonished when I looked back at the rim to see the net all tied up around it and all my teammates running at me with smiles plastered across their faces. When I figured out what all the commotion was about, I was over filling with pride as I found out that the prayer that I had sent up had gone in! For the rest of the game I went on to drop a triple-double along with a buzzer beater, and for the rest of the season, I never had the same fear of shooting again. The annoying little Nathan that everyone knows has been melted away by this one game. This remarkably crucial game of my basketball career, has morphed me into a much more mature person who has become earnestly determined to have his name to go down in history.
Adi: One of my favorite moments of this season was when I hit 3, 3s in a row in one astoundingly lucky game. After hitting all those 3s, it felt like I had elevated my game to a whole new level. From there on, these threes felt like a message from God to push me to forget my fears and take more challenging shots. Also, the Santa Monica YMCA has been the leading power in assisting me to be a much better person outside of the court.
DocDrew: Who are your favorite players and why?
Nathan: My favorite player is Michael Jordan because when ever I see a clip of him playing, I am intrigued to see if one of his crazy shots will go in. Also, seeing Jordan play, I am reminded slightly of myself. A couple of times, I will see him launch a three – pointer, and after a couple of those, he would drive to the basket and do one of his signature dunks. This reminds me of myself because when I am playing, I always look to launch a three but sometimes, when the defense learns their lesson, I reluctantly drive to the basket for some type of flashy layup (since I cannot dunk yet).
Adi: My favorite basketball player is the world renowned Lebron James. One reason why I like Lebron is because when he was only a rookie, he became an All-Star. This has inspired me to follow in his footsteps. Another reason that Lebron tantalizes me, is because. of his fearlessness The leading reason I say this, is because he is not afraid to drive to the hoop to execute a rim-shattering dunk. The last reason I love Lebron is because I think he is super cool. I am exceptionally fond of his calm natured style of play,
DocDrew: What do enjoy most about having your boys play basketball at the Santa Monica YMCA?
Henry and Mimi: Our boys Nathan and Adi Petros started to go to the SM-YMCA since they were little. The SM-YMCA is like a second home to them. We find it to be a safe place to leave our kids to practice their basketball and swimming. The YMCA stuff is very friendly, caring and attentive to our boys. They are always ready to help them with anything they need. They met a lot of their friends here. Our boys learn not only sports skills at the Y but also develop long term friendships with the people they meet there. Stuff like MJ cares enough to take a moment to teach them quick drills, when seeing wrong shots or techniques being displayed. What makes the SM YMCA unique is that everyone is close and know each other and cares for one another.
Nathan and Adi are the example of what the Santa Monica YMCA wishes for our basketball players, and that is to help them become our future leaders through working with teammates and giving back to the community. I know that these boys will be successful in whatever they wish to do, thanks guys!
Cyclones 8, Rebels 14
Super Bees 9, Coronets 8
Wildcats 10, Comets 10
Darts 8, Falcons 10
Mustangs 15, Impalas 34
Camaros 34, Judges 20
Novas 12, Chargers 36
Daytonas 25, Torinos 19
Fury 18, Caminos 29
Thunderbolts 16, Dusters 8
Sabres 8, Challengers 14
Chevelles 18, Toronados 34
Daytonas 11, Chargers 32
Cobras 38, Stingrays 35
Firebirds 56, Barracudas 31
Roadrunners 51, Cougars 35
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.
Super Bees 2-0-0, 10 points
Wildcats 1-0-1, 8 points
Coronets 1-1-0, 6 points
Comets 0-0-2, 6 points
Falcons 1-0-1, 6 points
Rebels 1-0-1, 6 points
Darts 0-1-1, 4 points
Cyclones 0-2-0, 2 points
Caminos 1-0-0, 5 points
Thunderbolts 1-0-0, 5 points
Toronados 1-0-0, 5 points
Challengers 1-0-0, 5 points
Chevelles 0-1-0, 1 point
Dusters 0-1-0, 1 point
Fury 0-1-0, 1 point
Sabres 0-1-0, 1 point
Chargers 2-0-0, 10 points
Daytonas 1-1-0, 6 points
Torinos 1-1-0, 6 points
Impalas 1-0-0, 5 points
Camaros 1-0-0, 5 points
Novas 0-2-0, 2 points
Judges 0-1-0, 1 point
Mustangs 0-1-0, 1 point
Firebirds 2-0-0, 10 points
Cobras 1-1-0, 6 points
Roadrunners 1-1-0, 6 points
Stingrays 1-1-0, 6 points
Barracudas 1-1-0, 6 points
Cougars 0-2-0, 2 points
25 10:30 AM MJ Barracudas vs Cobras
26 11:40 AM MJ Roadrunners vs Firebirds
27 12:50 PM MJ Cougars vs Stingrays
28 2:00 PM R Falcons vs Comets
29 3:10 PM B Challengers vs Chevelles
30 4:20 PM B Sabres vs Toronados
31 5:30 PM B Fury vs Dusters
32 6:40 PM B Thunderbolts vs Caminos
33 10:30 AM R Rebels vs Darts
34 11:40 AM R Falcons vs Cyclones
35 12:50 PM R Comets vs Coronets
36 2:00 PM R Super Bees vs Wildcats
37 3:10 PM MN Torinos vs Chargers
38 4:20 PM MN Novas vs Daytonas
39 5:30 PM MN Impalas vs Camaros
40 6:40 PM MN Judges vs Mustangs
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish