Channel League hoops is one to watch, hear

Male athlete of the week: Cate's Ema Boateng

Cheers to Channel League basketball.

With Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table Press Luncheon being the last of 2011, most of the league’s teams were feeling cheery heading into the holidays.

And with good reason.

San Marcos’ boys team is coming off their third straight championship at the Coast Union Tournament and Santa Barbara’s girls remain undefeated after seven games. Dos Pueblos’ girls team has a tournament title under its belt already this season and the Santa Barbara Dons boys just won three-of-four games at the Arroyo Grande Tournament

“”San Marcos boys basketball had a great week last week,” said Royals head coach Jarrod Bradley, who was impressed with his team’s ability to top the quality of teams in the tournament.

Bradley will be a sports radio guest on AM 1450 tomorrow afternoon from 4 to 6 p.m.

“Talking about Channel League basketball and really hyping up athletics in Santa Barbara,” he said.

The radio appearance coincides with the opening of the boys Channel League season on Wednesday. The Royals travel to crosstown foe Dos Pueblos on Wednesday before taking on defending CIF-ss champion Ventura in the Thunderhut on Friday.

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Bradley brought players Greg Zajic and Cade Ridenour, who knocked down five 3-pointers and scored 20 points in the Royals’ title-clinching win over St. Joseph.

Bradley also mentioned former Channel Leaguers Roberto Nelson, who’s at Oregon State, and James Ennis, at Long Beach State, as topics for the radio show. Former Charger Julyan Stone is at an even higher level, having  just signed with the Denver Nuggets on Friday.

Nelson’s alma mater, Santa Barbara High, opens up league play on Friday and has won three of its last four. The one game the Dons lost was by a single point.

“I’m happy with where we are right now considering that we’ve had 10 practices,” said Dons head coach David Bregante. “I think we’re getting better. The kids are getting excited about competing and having some success.”

Dos Pueblos' Taryn Ouellette is introduced to the crowd by her coach

On the girls side, Andrew Butcher’s unbeaten Dons don’t begin league play until 2012. Butcher brought three players to Harry’s, Desiree Coleman, Melissa Lemus, and Amanda Temporal.

His most recent NCAA product, Tess Emerson, will be playing at the Thunderdome on Friday for Pepperdine against UCSB.

Dos Pueblos’ girls coach Jelani Hicks was there to talk about his own team’s successes as well as represent Joe Zamora and the boys team.

Mansai Conner, Daniel Vickers, Chiara DiMarco, Jessica Escalante, Taryn Ouellette, and Natalie Hilton were introduced to the crowd by Hicks.

Female athlete of the week: Cate's Annie Weis

Other luncheon highlights:

Karen Feuer was named Sportsperson of the Month. Feuer has run Santa Barbara High School’s Evening for the Athletes program for three years now, helping raise more than $50,000 for Dons athletics.

“Whether driving, putting together a large event or organizing a banquet, Karen can always be counted on,” said Santa Barbara Athletic Director Nan Verkaik.

Karen is a parent of high school athletes and has also given time to the tennis and baseball programs specifically.

Ema Boateng and Annie Weis make this week’s set of Athletic Round Table Athletes of the Week an all-Cate School affair.

Both soccer players, Weis and Boateng led their respective teams to quality results last week. Weis, a senior, scored seven goals and added an assist for good measure in a three-game stretch in which the Rams won 2-of-3 games at the Grace Brethren Tournament. The loss was at the hands of Sierra Canyon, which is a defending CIF-ss champion.

Boateng is the returning CIF-ss Division 7 Player of the Year and has gotten off to a great start this season. Boateng scored twice in Friday’s 4-3 loss to Pacifica but came back on Saturday to spearhead one of Cate soccer biggest victories in school history. Boateng scored the second goal in a 2-0 decision over JSerra, which was ranked No. 1 in Division 1 and No. 10 in the country according to ESPN.

—Carpinteria High School coaches Dan Mercer and Lucy Carleton brought players, Tania Arroyo and Cristina Valdez for soccer, and basketball players Lauren Mingee and Lauren Taira.

“I guess I brought some pretty well-rounded Laurens,” Mercer said after highlighting everything they do off the basketball court.

Matthew McPeters was awarded as Special Olympics’ Athlete of the Month.

McPeters, who went to Santa Barbara High and works at UCSB, sparked a late-inning rally for his softball team with a hit to help them come back from a 4-2 deficit to win the game.

McPeters – a Special Olympics athlete for five years – also competes in floor hockey and bowling.

—UCSB women’s basketball assistant Heather Zurich quickly recalled the Gauchos’ tough last-second loss to UNLV over the weekend and invited people to come and watch them host Pepperdine at the Thunderdome on Friday.