SBART Luncheon: It’s tournament time in Santa Barbara

Roxy Sandoval, left, and Skyler Stokes lead the San Marcos girls basketball team.

Roxy Sandoval, left, and Skyler Stokes lead the San Marcos girls basketball team.


Aaron Solis wasn’t singing that Andy Williams holiday tune — “It’s the most wonderful time of year…” — at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

He might as well have been when got up to speak about Santa Barbara High’s 36th annual Tournament of Champions, one of the longest running girls basketball tournaments in the state. The TOC is one of many prep basketball events on the local sports calendar over the next three weeks.

“I love this time of year,” Solis, a teacher and coach at San Marcos, said. “It’s tourney time with the Bird Cage, the Gold Coast, TOC and the Carpinteria boys tournament (Jim Bashore Classic). It’s lots of fun.”

The TOC, which runs Dec. 19-23, features a high-powered field.

“This year it’s just absolutely loaded,” said Solis.

Dos Pueblos wrestler Jonathan Coronado was recognized as Male Athlete of the Week. Female Athletes of the Week Mattea Kilstofte and Madison Hale were competing in Orange County.

Dos Pueblos wrestler Jonathan Coronado was recognized as Male Athlete of the Week. Female Athletes of the Week Mattea Kilstofte and Madison Hale were competing in Orange County.

The field includes four teams in the CalHiSports state top 30, 10 teams that played in last year’s state tournament, including a state champion and a runner-up, and multiple champions and runners-up from the Southern, North Coast, San Diego and Central sections of the CIF.

Host Santa Barbara, the Division 3 state runner-up last year, opens against Hanford, the Central Section Division 1 runner-up.

Before the game, the Dons will retire the jersey of Kristin Knapp Cole, said coach Andrew Butcher.

As Kristin Knapp, she earned high school All-American honors for the Dons. She went on to play four years at the University of Notre Dame and played professionally in Sweden.

A SBART Hall of Fame inductee, Knapp Cole has coached at several Division 1 programs, and is currently an assistant at the University Texas-Arlington.

Santa Barbara: Butcher introduced Jada Howard, Jocelin Petatan and Xochitl Lopez-Torres, who were part of last year’s team that won the program’s first CIF section title and regional title and finished second in the state. He said Howard is an outstanding 3-point shooter and has the ability to score 30 points in game. Petatan is the team’s best defender and Torres was “the spirit of last year’s team.”

The Dons open the Gold Coast Tournament on Wednesday against Lompoc at San Marcos. On Thursday, they play a Bakersfield-Centennial team that played in the state tournament last year.

Bishop Diego: Coach Jeff Burich said he loves that this year’s team is so unselfish with the basketball.

“I hope it’s a sign of good things to come,” he said.

Burich said senior Deja Goodwin is like having another coach on the team, helping the younger players adapt to the system. “She’s a coach and a mentor for the other kids,” he said.

Hannah Rogers has been a force inside for the Cardinals. “We changed the whole offense based on her,” said Burich. “She sets the tone for us. She’s tough to guard.

The Cardinals host their Bird Cage Classic this week. Cabrillo, Orcutt Academy, Cate, Thacher, Santa Clara and Bishop Diego make up the field.

San Marcos: Skyler Stokes and Roxy Sandoval are two key players for coach Chris Hantgin’s team. Stokes is the leading scorer (12.5) and rebounder (6.0) and Sandoval is the playmaker.

Sandoval missed the Royals’ last game against Villanova Prep, a five-point loss, but Hantgin said the team did all right.

“To not have her and compete the way we did, was encouraging,” he said.

The Royals played five games last week and will play five more this week.

“They’re learning a lot and I’m learning a lot, not just about them but about girls basketball,” said Hantgin, who is in his first year coaching girls basketball.


Dos Pueblos: Assistant John Slavin said head coach Joe Zamora likes to challenge his teams with tough opponents in the early season.

“The University of Kentucky wasn’t available on Saturday night,” Slavin quipped. “So, he scheduled Mater Dei, the returning state champion from last year.”

The Chargers lost 88-32 against a team loaded with Division 1 recruits.

The challenging schedule continues this week for the Chargers as they play five games in six days at the Ventura County Tournament.

Two key players for DP are point guard Jayson Williams and post player Nick Ditmeijer.

“Jayson does a really good job setting up our offense,” Slavin said. “Nick is a first-year varsity player and has some very fine post moves. We’re looking for big things from him.”

San Marcos: Coach Landon Boucher praised the toughness and heart of junior Tyson Miller. After learning he had a partially torn tendon in his knee, Miller was left with three options, the coach explained. He could receive cortisone shots, have surgery —which would end his basketball and track seasons — or play through the pain.

He opted to continue playing and showed in a recent win over Arroyo Grande that he can still make an impact. Boucher said Miller guarded AG’s talented point guard and held him to a basket. He also scored six points and grabbed seven rebounds.

“To see him put out the effort at AG was special,” Boucher said. “He put out a gutsy effort against a good point guard.”

The Royals host a tough Righetti team at the Thunderhut on Tuesday night.

Santa Barbara: Coach David Bregante said the Dons lost to a very athletic and strong Valencia team in the final of the Simi Valley Tournament.

He introduced Max Henderson and Chris Givens, both of whom made big contributions during the tournament. Henderson buried five straight 3-pointers in a win over Cleveland. “He’s one of our best defenders; he’s aggressive and strong,” Bregante said.

On Givens: “He had a big game against Simi in the semis. He scored nine points in the fourth quarter which broke open a close game,” said Bregante.

The Dons host Arroyo Grande on Tuesday and Nipomo on Friday.

Coach Steve Stokes made his luncheon debut. He’s coaching a Patriots team that has six freshmen and three sophomores.

“They’re talented players, but we also go through growing pains,” he said.

He lauded  sophomore Caleb Jones for his work on the boards (he averages 10 rebounds a game) and for being a good teammate.

“Something we value is being a good teammate, holding guys accountable and challenging them,” said Stokes.

The Patriots play at the Ojai Valley Classic this week.


Westmont women: Despite losing its first two GSAC games, coach Kirsten Moore is still really excited about her team.

“We got to clean up some stuff, and I think we learned a lot from those games,” she said about the losses to Vanguard and Concordia.

The Warriors face another tough GSAC opponent in The Master’s on Thursday at Murchison Gym. The Mustangs won two of three meetings last season, which included a playoff game.

Westmont men: Coach John Moore said his young team got a little complacent and lost at home against Concordia after beating No. 1 Vanguard on the road.

“What’s often the case with a young team is how do you deal with complacency,” said Moore. “That’s the greatest challenge in athletics.

“We played well but we gave away the game,” he added. “I really have to do a lot more coaching than I’ve had to do in recent years. And I’m looking forward to it.”


San Marcos: Coach Macie Berlin said she saw a lot of deer-in-the-headlights eyes in the Royals 3-1 season-opening loss against Oxnard.

“It was a learning experience in the opener,” she said.

Berlin introduced sophomore Lucia Lynn, who made an impact on the left side and scored in her varsity debut. She also brought junior Olivia Jones, a three-year varsity player. “She’s a player the (opposing) coaches usually comment on at the end of game because she’s so tenacious,” Berlin said. “She’s so powerful and so quick.”

This was the last press luncheon of 2014. The luncheons will resume on Monday, Jan. 5, 2015.