Welcome to the sixth 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.
Registration for the Spring Santa Monica YMCA youth basketball season is now open to the public. Registration forms are available in the lobby of the Santa Monica YMCA. We are currently on waitlist, but I encourage you to sign up, because spots will open.
February is Black History Month, and I will continue in this issue of Swish, with the 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.
New York Renaissance (‘Rens’)
Location: Harlem, New York City
Home Court: Renaissance Ballroom
Nickname: “Rens”, “Harlem Rens”, “Big R Five”
Colors: Navy, Gold
Manager: Robert “Bob” Douglas
The New York Rens were the first all-black fully professional African-American owned basketball team, formed in Harlem in 1923. That year, basketball manager Robert “Bob” Douglas made a deal with Harlem real estate developer William Roach, the owner of the new Renaissance Ballroom and Casino.
Douglas owned and managed an all-black basketball team called the Spartan Braves, which was a leading contender for the black national championship title. His basketball club had no home court. The Renaissance Ballroom, with its perfect location in the center of Harlem, its spacious floor, and its balcony seating that looked down from above, would be the ideal venue.
Douglas asked Roach if the Spartans could play their home games at his ballroom in return for changing the name of the team to the “New York Renaissance” in order to promote the dance hall far and wide.
After some negotiating, Roach agreed. Douglas, now armed with a permanent home court, next introduced full-season player contracts to lock in his players, and the Big “R” Five became America’s first all-black, black-owned, fully professional basketball team. The “Rens” attracted the best African American talent in basketball.
The team’s original lineup included Clarence “Fats” Jenkins and James “Pappy” Ricks, as well as Frank “Strangler” Forbes and Leon Monde.
During that period, the Rens routinely beat white national champion basketball teams like the Original Celtics, the Philadelphia SPHAS, the Oshkosh All Stars, and the Indianapolis Kautskys. The irony is that the leagues in which these teams played did not allow African American players or teams to join.
In 1939, the New York Rens won the inaugural World Championship of Professional Basketball, an invitation-only tourney with a field made up of America’s twelve best pro hoops teams. The title game saw the Rens defeating the Oshkosh All Stars. Oshkosh had been the champion of the National Basketball League, a whites-only league.
Though the 1933 New York Rens were enshrined as a team, surprisingly only four Renaissance players have ever been enshrined individually: Zachary “Zack” Clayton (2017), John “Boy Wonder” Isaacs (2015), William “Pop” Gates (1989), and Charles “Tarzan” Cooper (1977). Gates and Cooper were both possibly the best centers in the game during their time. Isaacs, a fiery competitor and floor leader, was like the glue for the team. Clayton was the “center of the defense.” In addition, Rens owner Robert “Bob” Douglas was inducted as a contributor in 1972.
There are several Rens players who deserve consideration for individual enshrinement in the Naismith Hall of Fame, including Clarence “Fats” Jenkins, Willie “Wee Willie” Smith, and Clarence “Puggy” Bell.
Bell and Clayton are enshrined in the New York City and Philadelphia Basketball Halls of Fame, respectively. Another player, William “Dolly” King, is enshrined in the Long Island University Sports Hall of Fame.
SUPER BEES SAVE SEASON OF COURSE IN THE 4TH — February 23rd. In basketball, sometimes teams and players (and coaches) quit before the end of a game or season. That wasn’t the case for the Falcons or the Super Bees in this contest. The lead changed nearly every quarter, and the contest came down to the last shot. From our side, one of our heroes was Theo DeCordoba who hit a free throw at halftime, later got a bloody nose then made it back in for the final minutes. James Haro was one of our fearless leaders and amassed 2 points, 2 rebounds and 3 steals. Oliver Harris also had a “little kid triple double”—2 points, 2 rebounds, 2 steals. And thank you, Arya Nawathe for putting a season‘s worth of work together in the 4th with 3 steals, 3 rebounds and what turned out to be the game winning basket (overall he had 8 points, 7 rebounds, 6 steals!). The Falcons had the chance to win or tie with 2 free throws at the very end, but the Super Bees ended up prevailing by the slimmest of margins, 13-12. See you in the playoffs next weekend! The Super Bees have a shot at the title, and I know some kids who will be running hard. Submitted by Coach Pete Harris
Sun. 2/23/2020, 10:30am Comets vs. Cyclones: The Comets played their best basketball of the season against the mighty Cyclones on Sunday. Multiple Comets players had their personal best performances in the 22 to 8 point win. Luca Samson was a leader on the court with a season high 14 points, 8 rebounds, 4 steals, 1 blocked shot and 1 assist, along with numerous other assist opportunities for his teammates. Player of the Game Sydney Summers was unstoppable on the blocks, pulling down a season high 10 rebounds, in addition to 1 steal and numerous scoring and assist attempts. Liam Broihier was at the top of his game with 2 points, 1 assist, 3 rebounds, and 3 steals. August Fenderson had 2 points, 1 steal and 1 rebound. Raphael Darsky scored 2 points along with 3 rebounds. Dylan Geary kept the pressure on as he earned 2 points, 6 rebounds, 2 steals, 1 assist and 1 blocked shot. Oliver Nabel had 4 rebounds, 1 steal and 1 assist. Brandon Tae-Soo Kim, Julian Zambrano and Henry Kendall all contributed one both ends of the court, helping the Comets secure a first place seed going into the end-of-season tournament. Final score: Comets 22, Cyclones 8. Submitted by Coach Kevin Geary
Game Summary – Rebels vs Wildcats: The Rebels and Wildcats squared off for the first time since the opening day scrimmage.
After not playing for two weeks, the Wildcats had to learn how to shake off some rust. The Rebels jumped out to an early lead with tough defense and some good shooting.
Aryan Abjani put the Wildcats on the board with a nice basket in the paint. He finished the game with 2 points, 7 rebounds, and 1 steal. Zachary Ruderman pulled down two tough rebounds in the first quarter to help keep the game close. Drew Nelson also did a great job playing defense, grabbing a couple of rebounds in the paint against much taller players. Emmeline Kraus did a great job of passing the ball to her open teammates. She also pulled down a rebound and got a steal to go with it.
After falling behind 8 – 2, Joaquin Jimenez scored a free throw at the halftime break to cut the deficit to 5. A quick water break and some halftime adjustments were made to try to get back in the game. Joaquin really stepped his defense in the 2nd half to limit the Rebels’ looks at the basket. Aryan was a force of nature on the boards, and giving great effort on the defensive end. Auden Travnikoff did a great job on the defensive end, play solid man-to-man defense. The team still needed some baskets to make the game competitive. Auden stepped up and scored 2 baskets in the 3rd quarter (the first of his career) and really provided a boost of momentum for the Wildcats. Adrian Yen also did a great job moving the ball, sharing it with his teammates for good looks at the basket.
After closing the gap to 1 point, the 4th quarter saw both teams going back and forth. Each side was able to close out their defensive possessions. Midway through the quarter, the Rebels’ Weston Brea did a great job of weaving his way through the Wildcat defense and scoring a decisive bucket. Down 3 points after the clock expired, the Wildcats had some unkind bounces at the free throw line.
Final Score: Rebels 10 – Wildcats 7. Submitted by Coach Charles Ellinwood
Sat. 2/22/2020, Santa Monica YMCA vs. Culver City YMCA: Santa Monica YMCA players faced off against a talented Culver City team on Saturday. Culver City was on fire from the start, with their stars sinking 3 pointers, masterfully driving to the hoop, and forcing turnovers. Santa Monica never gave up though, turned up the pressure, and stopped the bleeding by the second quarter. A valiant team effort was displayed by Juliana Hsiang (an offensive and defensive machine), Andy Hsiang (holding down the perimeter), Hunter Ma (high scorer for the team with 8 points), Dylan Geary (battling against the aggressive Culver City defenders and earning hard fought trips to the free throw line where he scored 3 points), Bryson (owning the blocks), Arya (showing poise throughout), Adrien Yen played strong defense], and Oliver Nabel (playing tough throughout and sinking 1 free throw). Final score was 26 to 14 in favor of Culver City. Submitted by Coach Kevin Geary
Sunday, 2/23/2020, 2:00 PM Rebels vs. Wildcats: Throughout the season the Rebels have had different players step up and contribute during tough games. This week the Rebels would need that strong team mentality as they matched up against the relentless Wildcats. The Rebels got off to a fast start offensively behind buckets from Theo Franklin who had 2 points, 2 steals, 1 rebound, 1 assist and last week’s Player of the Game Roman Sweeney who recorded 2 points, 8 steals and 1 rebound. Jason Gaines Jr.’s strong interior defensive and rebounding helped contain the Wildcats’ offense early on and earned him Player of the Game for his 5 rebounds and 2 steals. Zeke Sarr scored his first in game bucket of the season to finish with 2 points, 1 steal and endless defensive pressure. Weston Brea, who had 4 points and 1 rebound, added another bucket to give the Rebels a hard-earned halftime lead of 8-3. However, the Wildcats’ tough defensive pressure kept the Rebels scoreless in the 3rd quarter while they added 4 points to bring the score to 8-7 heading into the fourth. The Rebels’ team defense and hustle was essential to closing out the game. Mariella Belew and Daniel Gruft each had key steals in the 3rd quarter to slow down the Wildcats’ momentum. They finished with 1 rebound, 1 steal and 2 rebounds, 3 steals respectively. Xavier Bramlette had his best defensive game of the season and ended with 1 rebound and 1 steal. Daniel Batra helped slow their ball movement and added 3 rebounds. Overall, a total team effort to pick up their 5th win of the season. Submitted by Coach Jeff Brea
Coronets vs. Darts: The first meeting of the season between the Darts and the Coronets was a defensive tug of war with the outcome undecided until the very last minutes of the contest. It was anyone’s game up until the final few minutes of the 4th quarter when a couple big baskets by Oguz Aghayev sealed the deal and brought home sweet victory for the streaking Darts, who now find themselves in the midst of a three game winning streak. Hopefully they haven’t peaked too soon as a tough matchup looms large this coming Sunday, March 1st. Ross Nelson also had a strong game for the Darts, scoring twice and also chipping in with a couple rebounds and steals. Cruz Hecklin and Kaya Dahukey were big on the boards and Bunta Hatano made some great passes to his team mates showing a knack for finding the open man and great court vision. Submitted by Coach Chris Chambers
The Challengers and Fury battled Saturday evening in an exciting game that kept the fans on their seats into the final two minutes. The Challengers fought back hard on defense to keep the Fury at bay and take the game. This team showed that winning a game requires more than scoring and requires a team effort! The team did a phenomenal job on rebounding and steals. Mariayama Belew (2 rebounds), Evelia Brea (2 rebounds), Colson Moore (2 rebounds), Brandon Massett (1 rebound), Stephen Jirnih (2 rebounds), Aliyah Straughter (2 rebounds), Keanu Straughter (1 rebound and 1 steal), and Dane Stephans (1 rebound) all made it hard for the Fury.
Evalia Brea also had an exciting 2nd quarter jumper for 2 points. Aliyah Straughter also scored an end of game free throw to bring the final score to 19. Jackson Harper played a solid game with four blocked shots on defense, a steal, and a rebound. Harper scored 4 points from the field and two additional half time free throws for 6 total points. Aidan Smith was hot on the boards with 7 rebounds and scored 7 points, including a deep three point basket from the top late in the 1st half, and received PLAYER OF THE GAME. Atticus Sparks also scored 2 points, had 2 steals, and had 5 boards. Submitted by Jason Moore
Mustangs 21 – Daytonas 22: The Mustangs played their hearts out in a back and forth, down to the wire loss to the Daytonas. The game was exciting from the tip off, when Archer Aguilar snagged the ball after tip off and ran the ball back for 2 points in the opening seconds. The action never let up with hard fought defense, rebounding, steals, and blocks by all of the Mustangs. The game came down to final free throws, and River Zelenovic and Jaxton Moore each made free throws to bring the team within one point. The Mustangs played an excellent game!
Jacapo Stabilni led the scoring with 6 points and had 4 boards and a steal on defense. Macy Zelenovic and Marina Shickler had commanding games on defense and rebounds which helped keep this game close. Macy had 6 rebounds, a block, and 3 steals. Macy also added 3 points with a field goal and free throw at half time. Shickler had a solid game with 7 rebounds, 2 blocked shots, a steal, and an assist. Luis Zambrano also had a great game adding 2 points with an exciting jump shot, and had a rebound and 2 steals on defense.
Aguilar also had a great overall game with 3 total points (including a free throw), 3 steals, 3 rebounds, and 2 assists to help his team score. Jack Carter had a great game also scoring a field goal and free throw for 3 points, and 5 rebounds for the game. Jaxton Moore played hard with 2 rebounds, a steal, and a free throw. Marco Zelenovic helped keep the Daytonas in check with a solid defensive performance, in addition to 2 steals and 2 rebound. River Zelenovic was also all over on defense making it tough for the Daytonas to get shots off. River had 3 steals, 2 rebounds, and a free throw. Ben Steelman too, was up and down that court, coming at the Daytonas from all angles, and preventing many field goals and had 3 rebounds on the game. Rohan Sujan also helped keep the Daytonas at bay and had a rebound and 2 steals to help his team. Submitted by Jason Moore
Mustangs battle hard against the Chargers
The Mustangs made a valiant effort against a tough Chargers team on Saturday morning. The team had some great effort on the boards and defense. Jaxton Moore (1 rebound), Marina Shickler (1 block, 3 steals, 5 rebounds), Rohan Sujan (1 steal, 1 rebound), Macy Zelenovic (4 rebounds), Marco Zelenovic 4 rebounds), and River Zelenovic (5 rebounds) all played hard.
Jaxton Moore also had a free throw from the line at the end of the game for 1 point. Marina Shickler also had a field goal and two free throws for 4 points on the game. Rohan Sujan also scored a field goal for 2 points. Archer Aguilar also had three free throws and a field goal for a total of 5 points to round out the effort against the Chargers. Submitted by Jason Moore
Stingrays vs Roadrunners: The Roadrunners keep fighting to stay alive in the season. Even though there have been ups and downs, the team continues to fight hard for the wins. Roadrunners pulled the upset by defeating the second place Stingrays. Guards Miles Aguilar, Ness Uskert, Adi Petros, Max Brown, and Noah Sabo played like All-NBA defenders. They collectively shut down their guards and limited their effectiveness. They also had a great plus/minus by limiting turnovers. Roadrunners had really good inside play from Amir Jahromi – rebounding and going strong to the hoop. His brother Mohammad chipped in heady play in the second half. Nathan Petros had a big jumper in the 4th with the game on the line. Noah Sabo also showed his sweet shot with big buckets. Sam Rubin played playoff basketball. Running the court, creating turnovers, and running the offense. LeBron level play. Great game Sam. It was a great win and sets the stage for the playoffs. Roadrunners playing well down the stretch and applying the season’s lessons. Submitted by Coach Brian Mayer
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 coach Chris Chambers who is coaching the Rookie Darts and assisting with the Major Stingrays. Chris was a standout player for the Santa Monica high school basketball varsity team. Chris is in his first season as a coach in our program, and brings his enthusiasm to the youth. I gave Chris the difficult task, that I give all new coaches, making him coach Rookie kids. Chris shows concern and caring for all his players, and often discusses with me, about what is the best approach for each of the kids on both teams that he works with. I had the opportunity to ask Chris some questions for the Swish.
DocDrew: How are you enjoying your first season as a coach?
Coach Chris: Well, I am enjoying it. As many of us have witnessed in the rookie league there is a palpable joy when one of the players makes a basket. (Sometimes even if it’s for the opposition!) First of all, the players’ faces just simply light up. And that excitement and sense of accomplishment is felt by the players, their parents and the coaches. I like to think the same feelings are had with great passes or defensive plays and I try to encourage and acknowledge those plays as much as scoring. Usually even more so.
DocDrew: What are the challenges and rewards that you experience as a youth basketball coach?
– Developing effective practice plans
– Maintaining a semblance of structure and order on practice days
– Coaching without the leverage of playing time being optional
– Working effectively with varying degrees of skill level and behavioral/emotional maturity
– Seeing the players improve on a weekly basis
– Hopefully inspiring the kids to enjoy or even love the game of basketball
– Seeing the players smiles when they walk in the gym on practice or game days and the megawatt smiles when they make shots in practice or score during games
– Talking with the parents about their kids and how they are discovering different aspects of the game and developing an affinity for the sport and the culture
DocDrew: Who inspires you as a coach?
Coach Chris: I draw my inspirations from a very wide range of sources. I mean, truthfully, I am inspired by my brother who has coached teams and individuals at all levels of ball. I’m inspired by Dr. Paul Drew who pours so much of his energy into this league. Also by people I have never met. People like David Stern and Adam Silver, the former and current commissioners of the NBA. I am inspired by historically great figures like Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and coach Jim Valvano, two guys who inspired countless others with their messages and energy. I’m inspired by lots of different basketball players, both collegiately and professionally, old school players that I grew up watching as well as todays pros. Additionally, I take inspiration from traveling, reading, music, arts and architecture as well learning new languages like French or new sports like golf. I am inspired by my beautiful girlfriend. And I’m not saying that just in case she ends up reading this. C’est vrai! It’s true!
It’s not very often that someone comes to coach in our program, and he or she has no children of their own, and wants to give back to this generation of youth. Chris is a great coach, and an even greater person. Thank you Chris for your dedication to this program and making a difference in the lives of our children.
Chargers 39, Mustangs 14
Impalas 29, Novas 27
Judges 24, Daytonas 15
Torinos 15, Camaros 38
Thunderbolts 17, Sabres 18
Dusters 18, Chevelles 16
Challengers 19, Fury 15
Toronados 9, Caminos 22
U9 at Culver Middle School
Santa Monica YMCA 14, Culver/Palms YMCA 26
Comets 22, Cyclones 8
Coronets 5, Darts 12
Falcons 12, Super Bees 13
Rebels 10, Wildcats 7
Torinos 40, Impalas 48
Mustangs 21, Daytonas 22
Cobras 38, Cougars 45
Stingrays 44, Roadrunners 49
Toronados 25, Fury 17
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.
Comets 5-0-2, 31 points
Rebels 5-2-0, 27 points
Wildcats 4-2-1, 25 points
Super Bees 4-3-0, 23 points
Darts 3-3-1, 21 points
Coronets 3-4-0, 19 points
Cyclones 1-6-0, 11 points *Cyclones beat Falcons head to head
Falcons 1-6-0, 11 points
Toronados 5-1-0, 26 points*Toronados beat Challengers head to head
Challengers 5-1-0, 26 points
Dusters 4-2-0, 22 points*Dusters beat Caminos head to head
Caminos 4-2-0, 22 points
Sabres 3-3-0, 18 points
Fury 2-4-0, 14 points*Fury beat Thunderbolts head to head
Thunderbolts 2-4-0, 14 points
Chevelles 0-6-0, 6 points
Chargers 5-1-0, 26 points
Impalas 5-1-0, 26 points
Camaros 5-1-0, 26 points
Torinos 4-3-0, 23 points
Judges 3-3-0, 18 points
Novas 2-5-0, 15 points *Novas beat Daytonas head to head
Daytonas 2-5-0, 15 points
Mustangs 0-7-0, 7 points
Firebirds 6-0-0, 30 points
Barracudas 3-2-1, 20 points
Roadrunners 3-4-0, 19 points*Roadrunners beat Cobras head to head
Cobras 3-4-0, 19 points
Stingrays 2-4-1, 17 points
Cougars 2-5-0, 15 points
All games are played in the gymnasium of the Santa Monica YMCA
100 10:30 AM MN Chargers Camaros
101 11:40 AM MN Impalas Judges
102 12:50 PM MJ Firebirds Roadrunners
Standings as of 2/17/20-Semi Final (6-4-2 points)
103 2:00 PM MJ Barracudas Cougars
Standings as of 2/17/20-Semi Final (6-4-2 points)
104 3:10 PM B Dusters Challengers
105 4:20 PM B Chevelles Fury
106 5:30 PM B Toronados Thunderbolts
107 6:40 PM B Caminos Sabres
108 10:30 AM R Darts Cyclones
“B” Rookie semi final, standings as of 2/24/20
109 11:40 AM R Coronets Falcons
“B” Rookie semi final, standings as of 2/24/20
110 12:50 PM R Rebels Wildcats
“A” Rookie semi final (6-4-2), standings as of 2/24/20
111 2:00 PM R Comets Super Bees
“A” Rookie semi final (6-4-2), standings as of 2/24/20
112 3:10 PM MJ Firebirds Cobras
Standings as of 2/17/20
113 4:20 PM MJ Barracudas Stingrays
Standings as of 2/17/20
114 5:30 PM MN Judges Mustangs
“B” Minors semi final, Standings as of end of 2/29/20
115 6:40 PM MN Novas Daytonas
“B” Minors semi final, Standings as of end of 2/29/20
Thank you very much,
Dr. Paul Drew, youth basketball coordinator at the Santa Monica YMCA, editor and publisher of Swish