SBART Luncheon: Westmont fundraiser is for a good cows

Dos Pueblos girls soccer coach Hugh Hollis and his team captains Idalis Rodriguez, left, and Anya Schmitz.

Dos Pueblos girls soccer coach Hugh Hollis and his team captains Idalis Rodriguez, left, and Anya Schmitz.

It may be one of the oddest promotions you’ll see at a local athlete event.

At Westmont’s big Golden State Athletic Conference basketball opener Tuesday night against Vanguard, the women’s team will be asking for donations to buy a cow.

The cow is for a village in northern Uganda, where the goal is to start a dairy.

The Westmont women’s basketball team traveled to Uganda on a mission trip over the summer and learned of the tremendous needs in the areas they visited.

“It changed everyone that went. It really changed our lives seeing what we saw and experiencing what we experienced,” said Westmont coach Kirsten Moore at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon. “There were so many ways we wanted to help and give back. We saw so many needs while we were over there. The one we unanimously felt passionate about was a buying a cow, or two or three for this village in northern Uganda, where they have this goal on a farm of starting a dairy. They have one and their goal is to get six.”

Moore said a cow would feed and sustain an entire village. But it’s expensive.

That’s where the Warriors’ efforts come into play.

“We are fundraising for cows at our game. Our girls are really excited about that,” said Moore.

Fans also will see a great GSAC rivalry. “If you’ve followed our league the last few years, you know that Vanguard or Westmont wins the GSAC championship.”

Vanguard comes into Murchison Gym undefeated and ranked No. 3 in the NAIA. Westmont is No. 5. Game time is 5:30 followed by the men’s game at 7:30.

“It’s a great opportunity for us. They were picked to win the league,” said Moore.

UCSB Women: Coach Bonnie Henrickson made her first appearance at the luncheon and talked about her team continuing to improve.

“We got some young ladies who have really stepped forward, citing sophomore Makala Roper and freshmen Coco Miller and Kali Jones. She said the team will get much-needed size with the addition of 6-3 Je Che Newton, a junior college transfer who just became eligible to play. “It will be nice to get some size and girth in the paint,” she said.

The Gauchos face a tough road trip to Louisiana as they take on LSU and Louisiana –Lafayette, which has already beaten two SEC teams.

“We’ll have our hands full,” said Henrickson.

UCSB Men: Despite four losses against Pac-12 teams, assistant coach Brandon Veltri said the Gauchos “seem to be playing at a higher level.”

After completing finals, UCSB hits the cold road for South Dakota State and Vermont.

Dos Pueblos: “We have high expectations,” coach Phil Sherman said of his Chargers. “We have a lot of people returning.”

Among the returnees are Lanay Arteaga, Devan Staggs and Lynda Carpio.

After talking about his team, Sherman got on his soapbox, encouraging parents to get their girls into playing basketball.

“We really need to promote girls basketball in our area, especially from Turnpike up north,” he said. “We’re not getting a lot of girls basketball players the last two or three years. We somehow have to get girls playing basketball again. There are over 4,000 scholarships available for girls in basketball across the country. We really need to encourage parents to get their girls to play basketball.”

Santa Barbara: Coach Andrew Butcher pointed out that his team did not rebound well in its three wins at Lompoc’s Bryan Ayer Classic.

“I’m not complaining about our rebounding, I was observing that we do not rebound,” he said. “It’s a fact, it’s not a complaint. We have girls who want to defend but they don’t have any interest in rebounding … kinda strange.”

He introduced starters Jada Howard, Kimberly Gebhardt  and Amber Melgoza, the Athlete of the Week.

The Dons open play in the Gold Coast Classic on Wednesday against Santa Ynez at 6 p.m. at San Marcos.

Bishop Diego: Coach Jeff Burich pointed out that the Cardinals “graduated 85 percent of their scoring and rebounding,” but they have nine players back from a team that won a CIF championship last season.

“We’re not rebuilding,” he said. “I told them, ‘You got 5-6 minutes of playing time last year, now you’re getting 20 minutes.’”

Junior Sienna Gonzalez and senior Summer Soto are returning starters. Burich said the team feeds off the energy Gonzalez brings to the court. Soto is running the offense and still knocking down 3-point shots. She made four treys in the first game. “Bringing the ball up hasn’t hurt her shot,” said the coach.

The Cardinals host their annual Bird Cage Classic beginning Thursday.

San Marcos: Coach Chris Hantgin said junior forward Sierra Hearron has taken a much greater role this season. She’s gone from the fourth or fifth scorer to being the team’s leading scorer. “I’m excited about her progress,” he said.

Hantgin introduced his daughter, Taylor, a freshman who is the team’s point guard. “She has a lot of responsibility,” he said. “She’s learning a lot.”

The Royals open the Gold Coast Tournament on Wednesday against Lompoc.

Dos Pueblos: Assistant coach John Slavin introduced senior co-captains Jayson Williams and Mounir Mani. Williams is a three-year starting point guard who has the ability to shoot the 3-pointer.

Slavin said Williams “has done a really good job mentoring our younger players. And he’s really stepped up defensively.”

On Mani, a senior wing: “He has worked hard to become a better player. He’s going to be a difference maker for us this year,” said Slavin.

San Marcos: Royals coach Landon Boucher said senior guard Ryan McCarthy’s passion for the game has been contagious.

“There’s been an energy that’s really good. The team is focused. It’s really fun. Those characteristics are from our senior leader who really loves the game,” Boucher said. “We’re seeing the results on the court.”

Providence: Coach Steve Stokes said sophomore Chase Avery recorded a double-double and Bryan Sheets poured in 29 points in a big win over league rival Laguna Blanca last week.

Santa Barbara: The Dons have been traveling so much that coach Dave Bregante said he felt like he had “jet lag without being on a jet. Someone told me we’ve traveled 900 miles.”

Bregante lauded Ben Brown and Bolden Brace for their play at the Simi Valley Tournament. “Brown had a good tournament at Simi. He’s a good shooter. The problem I have with Ben is I can’t get him to shoot enough. I think he’s finally figuring out that’s the best way he can help us.”

On Brace (the Athlete of the Week): “When everybody talks about Bo they talk about the points he gets,” Bregante said. “But if you watch the games, he may get 20 but he’s really responsible for about 40. Bo does a lot of things. He’s really a great player.”

San Marcos:
Coach Edwin Portillo said the team really came together in the second half of its season-opening 2-1 win over Pacifica. He introduced Rayne Odell and Danielle Anderson.

Dos Pueblos: Coach Hugh Hollis introduced team leaders junior Anya Schmitz and senior Idalis Rodriguez. He said the young team is building chemistry.