The lonesome doves are not forgotten at Harry’s

Saturday will be a special day for some and a dreary day for others.

UCSB is hosting “Date Night at the ‘Dome” for Saturday’s men’s basketball game against Cal Poly, with a 2-for-1 ticket special in honor of Valentine’s Day.

Despite being happily married, Westmont basketball coach John Moore spoke up for the lonesome ones at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. After UCSB assistant coach Jono Metzger-Jones announced the offer, Moore raised his hand and asked:

“What if you don’t have a date?”

Metzger-Jones had a brilliant solution, explaining that since there are McDonald’s coupons on the back of every ticket, you might as well take advantage of the offer.

There’s nothing better than drowning out the Valentine’s Day blues by scarfing two Extra Value Meals all by yourself.

The Gaucho men are unfortunately at the bottom of the Big West standings, but at least they’re not alone, as Cal Poly is also 3-7. UCSB lost a 19-point halftime lead to Cal State Fullerton early in the week before picking up a much-needed victory at Irvine on Saturday.

“We’ve got young players that are extremely talented, and the future is extremely bright,” said Metzger-Jones. “We’re planning on making a big run here to finish this thing out.”

The UCSB women are on the other side of things at  a perfect 10-0 in the Big West, and Lauren Pederson has set a school record by making her last 29 free throws. Director of Basketball Operations Araceli Gil said the team hopes to have injured seniors Jenna Green and Sha’Rae Gibbons back this weekend.

“We know that every team in our conference is gearing for us, obviously,” said Gil.

The Thunderdome will be gearing for breast cancer awareness when Oregon State comes to town on February 24. The Gauchos will be having their “Think Pink” promotion, in which everyone will be encouraged to wear pink and there will be a $1 ticket special offer.

Gil’s old coach, Santa Barbara High’s Andrew Butcher, was at Harry’s hoping to forget about last week. The Dons lost to Ventura 51-22 and Buena 49-34, and Butcher said his team was ready to get on the court at the Thunderhut to face San Marcos in front of a rowdy crowd. They would go on to beat the Royals later on Monday. Butcher introduced sharpshooter Jessica Ramirez, who scored 14 points in her first quarter of play this year, and Adi Hernandez, whom he said has had as big an impact on the squad as any player.

Chris Vines has had quite an impact on the San Marcos boys basketball team this year as the second leading scorer as well as top blocker and rebounder — pretty impressive considering he’s a guard. Vines went 4-for-4 from beyond the arc, including two big threes late in the fourth quarter, in Saturday’s win at DP in front of a standing-room only crowd.

Coach Jarrod Bradley also brought along workhorse Addison Day, who kissed a nice bank shot off the glass against the Chargers. The Royals will look to win another crosstown rivalry game on Tuesday night against Santa Barbara at Rob Gym in what should be a great environment for a crosstown showdown.

The Dons have been led by star Roberto Nelson this year, but coach Chris Hantgin brought a few players who don’t find themselves in the spotlight as much but still have a big impact on their team. Ralph Padilla, Dylan Aronson and Joe D’Alfonso were described as “the heart of the team” by Hantgin.

“They always show up, they always give a great effort and they’re team guys… They really appreciate being a part of the program,” said the coach.

After taking on the Royals, the Dons will play Dos Pueblos on Thursday.

“It’s going to be a very emotional week, and it’s going to be a very exciting week,” said Hantgin.

Like the boys team, the San Marcos girls were able to pull off a close win against Dos Pueblos last week. But unlike the boys, the girls didn’t have a lead until the fourth quarter. The Chargers trailed by as many as 11 points in the third quarter, but Female Athlete of the Week Kelley Chilton, left, nailed three of her four treys in the second half.

“She’s small, but gosh she’s mighty,” said coach Kristyn Miller of Chilton, who was awaiting x-rays to see if she had broken her nose for the second time this season.

Miller also introduced standout post player Marissa Unzueta as well as senior captain Jazz Parvin, who has been out all season with an ACL injury but may bet to see minutes on Senior Night Wednesday against Ventura.

It’s a big week for the Bishop Diego girls basketball team, which plays at Malibu on Tuesday and rival Carpinteria on Thursday. Both the Cardinals and Warriors are battling for second place in the Frontier League behind Santa Clara.

“If (Carpinteria Coach Dan Mercer) isn’t here it’s because he’s scouting trying to get his team more prepared,” said Cardinals coach Jeff Burich, who brought along starting point guard Ariel Perez and Kelsey Stimson, whom he called “the perfect practice player.”

Burich said that most of the team is still battling illness, and with eight players that can be tough. Bishop wrestling coach John Sandoval doesn’t have to worry about fielding a full team, however, because he only has four guys to begin with.

The Cardinals have found success nonetheless, as two grapplers — RJ Escamilla and Anthony Tornelo — will be moving on to CIF competition. Sandoval brought Escamilla, a 152-pounder, and 215-pounder Joe Yonke with him to Harry’s.

Like Burich, Carpinteria boys hoops coach John Ward was dealing with an illness earlier this week. Manny Rodriguez, who accounts for about 40-percent of the Warriors’ offense, was out with the flu against Oak Park but returned to score 22 points despite still being sick in a win over St. Bonaventure.

“We’re peaking at exactly the right time,” said coach John Ward, who offered an alternative name for this coming Saturday: “Singles Awareness Day.”

The acronym created by that name says it all.

Male Athlete of the Week Nick Wagner (left) of Dos Pueblos wasn’t sad at all on Saturday. He earned upper-weight MVP honors after defeating two-time champion Chris Valdivia for the heavyweight title at the Channel League wrestling championships at Buena.

Chargers coach Anthony Califano was also accompanied by league champs Chuy Lopez, Mario Elias and Joseph Story. Also at the luncheon was standout Connor Dorais, who left the meet in an ambulance and a neck brace after being slammed to the mat, but should be okay to return in a week or so.

Califano also pointed out an interesting fact about the city’s Channel League wrestling coaches — he wrestled at San Marcos and now coaches at DP, San Marcos coach Tony Becerra wrestled at San Marcos, and Santa Barbara coach Jesse Plowman wrestled at Dos Pueblos.

Becerra said he was very happy with the season the Royals had, especially with three league champions in Zach Belway, Tyler Mallard and Jordan Bishop. Bishop lost only won match all year, and all of his victories came via pin. Julian Lake, who finished second to Story in the 189-pound class, was also at Monday’s luncheon.

Kirsten Moore’s Westmont women’s hoopsters are 18-3 thanks to the likes of DP grad Amber Stevens, who had 28 points and 12 steals in a win over Concordia and nine points, nine rebounds and five assists in a blowout win over Hope International.

The next few weeks will be daunting for the Warriors, as they face seven-consecutive ranked opponents to close out the Golden State Athletic Conference season.

The Warrior men and women host The Master’s on Saturday, and John Moore made a spur-of-the-moment offer in an attempt to out-do the Gauchos.

“We’re offering 3-for-1 tickets, and we’re also providing the dates,” he said. “And the great bonus is that we’re also providing nachos from the snack bar.”

It was obviously a joke, but the Warriors are going to have to be all business down the stretch as they stand at 6-7 in the conference.

Moore advised everyone to count losses as a blessing.

“After you lose, you have to do one thing, and that is to persevere,” he said.

So, if you find yourself down and out this weekend, persevere by going to catch a basketball game.


Ramiro Ceja earned this month’s award for his dedication to being a great teammate and his love for competing. His most recent season was in floor hockey, and he had 15 goals in a recent tournament to lead his team to victory. He thanked everyone in attendance for the honor.