SBART Luncheon: There’s nothing laid back about Baker’s play

Jack Baker is joined by Santa Barbara High assistant coach Joe Bregante at Monday's  SBART press luncheon.

Jack Baker is joined by Santa Barbara High assistant coach Joe Bregante at Monday’s SBART press luncheon.

Don’t let Jack Baker’s laid-back demeanor fool you. When he steps on the basketball court for Santa Barbara High, he means business.

“If it’s your first time watching a Santa Barbara game, you’ll see him on the court and he’s so laid back and having a good time. You don’t know if he’s awake or not,” Santa Barbara assistant Andy Gil told the crowd at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. “Then he goes out there and gets nine blocks.”

Baker was named the male Athlete of the Week for his performance against Ventura: 18 points, 19 rebounds, and nine blocked shots. He’s a big reason the Dons are 16-2, 6-0 in Channel League and ranked No. 3 in CIF Division 3A.

“He’s really grown and developed into a great player,” Gil said. “His timing is impeccable; he knows where the ball is going to go. If he’s not getting a rebound, we don’t know who else is.”

Gil also introduced sophomore post player Ben Clay, who lately has provided quality minutes off the bench.

San Marcos coach Dave Odell couldn’t say enough about the Royals’ student section, known as “The Pride.”

“I think they’re the best in high school sports,” said Odell.

During player introductions at last Friday’s home game against Dos Pueblos, the Pride pulled off quite a stunt. The lights went out and the students started waving red glow sticks.

“My guys were jacked up. We jumped out to an 11-2 lead,” Odell said. “I’ll attribute it not to my pregame comments but to the Pride.”

Odell said Wesley Ghan-Gibson was the X factor for his team in the game. He made all of his shots and free throws while playing with an injured leg.

Dos Pueblos coach Joe Zamora said that he’ll be counting on the play of senior Erik Olson during the second and third rounds of league play. The Chargers are 3-4. The coach also introduced Anthony Trujillo, the first freshman he’s had on a varsity roster.

Bishop Diego assistant coach Patrick Davis said the Cardinals have aspirations to go far in the CIF playoffs. “We’re looking to win it all.”

He brought two of his nine returners on the squad, center-forward Will Busch and point guard and team captain Jason Price.

Curt Pickering said Laguna Blanca is 9-6 and 4-0 in the Condor League.


San Marcos Chuckie Roth introduced two of his young standouts, sophomore Kate Coski and freshman Paige Hauschild. He said Coski “is the strongest girl on our team.”

She has provided clutch play off the bench. “She’s a kid who responds really well,” said Roth.

Hauschild was just 13 when she started playing on the varsity. Roth said his assistant coach complained about Hauschild not doing some things in practice. His response: “Do you remember what you were like when you were 13? I certainly couldn’t do half the things she’s doing.”

She leads the team in scoring, minutes played and steals.

Santa Barbara High coach Mark Walsh introduced Betsy Hendrix, the team’s leading scorer who is headed to UCSB, and sophomore Jessie Brummett.

He said Hendrix “has provided great leadership and stability since she’s been here. She’s a huge part of our team.

On Brummett: “I knew she was a good player, but I didn’t know she’d be playing this well this early,” said Walsh. Brummett leads the Dons in assists and steals and is second in drawn ejections.

The Dons play their final home game on Thursday against Dos Pueblos.


San Marcos coach Macie Berlin said her team got a big momentum boost with its 3-1 over Santa Barbara in the Super Saturday Showcase at Peabody Stadium. It was the Royals’ first road win after several ties

Berlin introduced first-year varsity player Ashley Julio, whose confidence has grown, and Erin Riley, a three-year player who has come back from torn anterior cruciate ligaments in both knees.

“This is her junior year and she’s come back absolutely fearless,” Berlin said. “She scored her first goal against Santa Barbara. She has the heart of a lion.”

Carpinteria’s Lucy Carleton said it’s been a challenging year playing in the Tri-Valley League. She introduced three members of the squad: Monica Garcia, Denise Arreola and Tatiana Requejo.

Bishop Diego assistant coach Gabi Escamilla said Jessica Brosnan, Liz Verduzco and Rachel Urbie-Raya have been a big part of the team’s success. The Cardinals are 8-4-2 and 2-1-1 in the Frontier League.


Carpinteria coach Leo Quintero said he’s looking forward to the second half of TVL play after the Warriors went 0-3-2 in the first half.

“We’re up to the challenge and will battle for a spot in the playoffs,” he said.


Guarding against overconfidence and staying focused makes the second round of league challenging.

Santa Barbara coach Andrew Butcher said his team is entering the “hardest part of the season. Right now it’s tough because you’re playing teams that you beat two or three times and they’re good teams. And beating those teams again… I don’t know.”

The Dons are 17-3 and 2-1 in Channel League.

He introduced Amber Melgoza, who is coming off games of 31 and 32 points, the savvy Dezzy Coleman and the dependable Michaila Miller.

Jeff Burich of Bishop Diego said his team is eager to get back on the court after a tough two-point loss to La Reina. He introduced Morgan Wallace and Brooke Heller. The Cardinals (11-6, 4-1) are ranked 7th in Division 5AA.

Carpinteria’s Dan Mercer introduced his “bigs:” freshman Harmony Reed and sophomore Macy Frazer. “Both come from basketball families,” he said.

Mercer noted that with 12 games in the Frontier League, his young team (6-9, 1-4) still has shot at the playoffs. “We think we can win a few in the second round. I think our future is right now.”


Westmont coach Mark Basham said he has a solid squad with strong senior leadership.

His Nos. 1 and 2 doubles teams are two of the best in the NAIA.

“That will help us get a really good start as we go into each match,” Basham said. “We’re dynamic and enthusiastic.”


UCSB assistant Dave Campbell said reality hit hard after the Gauchos lost at Cal State Fullerton.

The Gauchos, 3-2 in the Big West, play first-place UC Irvine (4-1) on Thursday at the Thunderdome. The Anteaters have the tallest player in Division 1 basketball, 7-6 Mamadou Ndiaye.

“He moves very well. You’ll see him at the next level, the NBA,” said Campbell.

Westmont coach John Moore said he started senior Marcus Farand and the team beat Hope International to snap a three-game losing streak to start GSAC play.

He said Farand is one of those players who strives to make his teammates better.

“He only started one other game. He started against Hope and he brought everything he had, just like in practice. He had 10 points and 11 rebounds.

“The coach has finally got it figured out. That’s the guy I’m going to put in the starting lineup.”