Johnny Ward getting the job done at Carpinteria

A JW is still roaming the basketball sideline in the Carpinteria High gym.

Johnny Ward was pacing back and forth in front of the Warriors bench, talking to his players, complaining to the referees, pointing at a substitute to check into the game, watching the action with his arms folded and checking in with his scorekeeper.

Just like his dad.

After following his dad around at basketball camps as a little kid, playing for him as a youngster and teen and sitting next him as his assistant coach, Johnny Ward is now the lead man on the sideline.

There was feeling of familiarity in Carpinteria’s home opener Tuesday. Johnny was wearing a white shirt and tie, his sister, Nancy, was at the table doing the scorebook. The only thing missing was a red V-neck sweater his father was fond of wearing at games.

“I don’t have enough and his are a little too big for me,” Johnny joked.

John Ward, Carpinteria’s basketball coach and athletic director, passed away from cancer on Sept. 29.

His son, Johnny, 22, has taken over the basketball program, assisted by on-campus teacher and coach Henry Gonzalez. And everything is fine, thank you.

Young Ward’s Warriors got off to a sloppy start and then went on an 11-1 run in the second quarter to blow out crosstown rival Cate 42-18. The victory improved their record to 2-0.

“It went well, holding them to 18 is not bad,” said Ward, who told his team at halftime he would do 50 pushups if it held Cate under 20 points.

The Warriors started to penetrate Cate’s zone and scored on inside shots and offensive rebounds

The Rams switched to a man-to-man in the second half but it didn’t help. Carpinteria was able to get to the basket on drives.

Paul Aguilar led the Warriors with 11 points, Trevor Madden added six points and Cesar Aguilar, Tommy Arellano, Andrew Sova and Eric Truillo each scored four.

Wesley Greason scored five to lead Cate.

Coaching basketball is in Johnny Ward’s blood.

“I think he’s going to be an excellent coach,” said Gonzalez. “He’s already on his way to becoming that. He’s had a lot of experience. He was taught quite a bit from his dad, John. He’s just going to carry that Ward tradition of being a good coach and being able to have a good relationship with the kids as well.”

“So far I think I’ve done pretty well,” said Johnny. (The players) are all listening and all doing what we ask. It’s nice having Henry there.

“I’m not used to having to be the lead man, but so far so good,” he added. “We’re 2-0 and I can’t complain with that.”

Asked if there were any moments when he caught himself acting like his dad on the sideline, Johnny said, “Our world’s dumbest out-of-bounds play we run is successful and I do exactly what he does. As soon as we score, and no disrespect to anybody, I look at the other coach and it frustrates him. I remember my dad turning and laughing and clapping and having fun with it. That’s what I’m trying to do.”

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