SBART Luncheon: Big donation, All-City football team highlight first meeting of 2015

The defensive unit of the Presidio Sports  All-CIty Football Team.

The defensive unit of the Presidio Sports All-CIty Football Team. The team was introduced at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon.

The Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table rang in the new year with a bang.

At Monday’s first press luncheon of 2015, Pete Georgi, a member of the board of directors for the Lauren Ashley Herrera Foundation, presented SBART president Laurie Leighty with a check for $10,000.

The Lauren Ashley Herrera Foundation has been a big supporter of the Round Table. The foundation was started in 2000 after the sudden death of Lauren Ashley Herrera, who was just about to enter Bishop Diego High.

“The parents established the foundation in her name, and we raised funds through a number of golf tournaments we’ve held,” Georgi said. “Over a 10-year period, we’ve raised $500,000 through these tournaments.

“It’s fitting that we want to support the Athletic Round Table.”

Also on the agenda at Monday’s press luncheon was the introduction of the Presidio Sports All-City Football Team. All 27 players, representing Bishop Diego, Carpinteria, Santa Barbara, San Marcos, Dos Pueblos, Cate and Laguna Blanca, were in attendance to be recognized and receive certificates.

Monday’s speakers included coaches from boys and girls basketball and soccer.


Santa Barbara: Amber Melgoza has been scoring a ton of points for the 12-3 Dons, but assistant coach Jess Martinez pointed out it’s all a team effort.

“We get a lot of points from other players, not as much as she does,” he said. “Amber also gets a lot of assists from our team. All our players help her to attain what she is getting.”

He introduced two of those contributors, Liliana Ponce and Kimberly Gebhardt. Ponce stands 5-2 but plays like she’s 6-2, Martinez quipped. “We put her on (the opponent’s) best offensive player and she frustrates them to bits. She gets in there and gets rebounds and gets the fast break started. We call her the Tasmanian Devil of the team.”

On Gebhardt, Martinez said the sophomore does as many things for the team as a junior or senior would do. He said Gebhardt is ranked 19th in rebounding and 12th in steals in CIF Division 2AA.

The Dons return to the court Jan. 13 for their Channel League opener at San Marcos.

Carpinteria: Coach Dan Mercer saw something special in Monique Sanchez years ago. “I’ve been watching her since the fourth grade and following her progress,” he said.

Sanchez, a sophomore, is the second leading scorer and rebounder for the Warriors. The coach is excited about her future. “Her ceiling is very high,” he said

Mercer also introduced junior Sierra Diaz and senior Sienna Caudillo. He said Diaz has a knack of stealing the ball on the press. “She plays with a lot of passion,” he said.

Mercer learned first hand about the toughness of Caudillo. “She flattened me in practice,” he said.

The Warriors were 3-4 going into a Monday night game against Bishop Diego.

San Marcos: First-year coach Chris Hantgin said his young, inexperienced team has a great attitude, works hard and plays together. He brought guard Katilynn Miller and forward Sierra Hearron.

Hantgin said he uses Miller in a variety of positions on the court. “She has great savvy and an understanding of the game,” he said.

Hearron, a forward, is the team’s second leading rebounder. “She is a good athlete with a lot of upside,” Hantgin said. “She has great chemistry with her teammates.”

The offensive unit of the Presidio Sports All-City Football Team.

The offensive unit of the Presidio Sports All-City Football Team.

San Marcos:
Coach Landon Boucher has been impressed with improvement and growth Scott Everman has made as a player and a person in just one year. “It feels like two to three years instead of just one year,” he said.

Everman’s play and overall game against De La Salle at the 32-team D1-Bound Tournament drew the attention of a Pepperdine assistant coach and an assistant from UC Irvine, Boucher said. “… Scott could always score the ball, but to see him develop as an overall player is a testament to how hard he’s worked and how much he cares about the game. Frankly, it’s helped us a lot. That’s why we’ve been having some success lately.”

Santa Barbara: After playing 17 games since the end of November, coach David Bregante said he’s looking forward to some quality practice time with his team.

“In games, it seems like the kids just keep doing the same thing they’re doing. You need practice to break bad habits,” he said. “We’re going to get a couple this week, so that’s going to be great.”

Bregante pointed out the Dons have been in the finals of three tournaments and lost each one.

“You never like to lose, but I really believe the losses have helped us. I think we’ve really grown as a team, we’re getting better.”

He introduced two starters, Bolden Brace and Ben Clay. Brace earned all-tournament honors in all three tourneys the Dons played.

“He has a chance to be a real special player,” Bregante said of Brace. “When you say you’re a special player at Santa Barbara High school, you’re a special player; you’ve had several players go on to the NBA. Right now, he’s about 50 percent of where he can be.”

Bregante said Clay is “really coming on strong.” He had a monster game in an overtime win at Oxnard last week, scoring 20 points and grabbing 18 rebounds.

“Just dominating,” said Bregante.

“The best thing about those two guys,” he added about Brace and Clay, “they’re coming back next year. Both are juniors. That makes me happy.”

Providence: Senior Matthew Eaton is leading the Patriots with a 19-point average. He also grabs seven rebounds a game. Coach Steve Stokes also pointed out that Eaton scored big on his SAT. According to the coach, his score ranks in the top five percent in the country.

Stokes said freshman Judah Luberto has played well as the starting point guard. Luberto is the second leading scorer on the team with a 12-point average.

Stokes said the team played a challenging pre-season schedule to prepare it for league and the postseason. “At the end of the year, teams are remembered by what they do in league and in the playoffs,” he said

The Patriots are ranked in the top 10 in their CIF division.

The Warriors relish the challenge of playing against higher division teams, said coach Leo Quintero. They beat Royal of Division 2 last week and take on Division 1 teams Dos Pueblos and Buena this week.

Santa Barbara:
Assistant coach Ryan Warner said team captain and four-year varsity player Erin Graf is drawing the attention of major colleges like Notre Dame. He also brought right fullback Steph Rodriguez, who has made an impact at the offensive end with two goals.