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CIF Playoffs Have Been a Traffic Jam Session When Basketball Teams Hit Road

Dos Pueblos coach Phil Sherman has received solid play from Amber Belletti, left, Lauren Noggle and Camila Casanueva during the last part of the regular season and the CIF playoffs.
Dos Pueblos coach Phil Sherman has received solid play from Amber Belletti, left, Lauren Noggle and Camila Casanueva during the last part of the regular season and the CIF playoffs. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

The road is rough in the CIF playoffs, with traffic being the most stressful part for traveling teams.

The San Marcos and Santa Barbara boys basketball teams experienced the "jam session" of freeway gridlock traveling to their second-round games last Friday. San Marcos played at Gahr in Cerritos in a 3AA Division game while Santa Barbara took the long road to Colton to play Grand Terrace in the 2A Division.

“We got there 15 minutes before game time because of traffic,” San Marcos coach Landon Boucher said at Monday's Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry's Plaza Cafe. “We got ready in the car, sprinted in the locker room, and the boys had to go to the bathroom. We basically got on the court with 10 minutes of warm-up.”

But it all worked out for the Royals.

“Boy, it seemed like it helped us,” Boucher said. “We didn’t have time to think, didn’t have time to get nervous. We came out and played a good game.”

Next up for the Royals is a quarterfinal home game against Calabasas on Tuesday night.

Boucher said the Coyotes aren’t imposing but they’re a good team.

“They’re kind of like us. They don’t pass the eye test (for size) but they’re dang good. They’re a team disciplined like us."

Santa Barbara High: Coach Dave Bregante said it was an adventure driving to Colton for their second-round game against Grand Terrace.

“We left here at 1 o’clock and I thought we had plenty of time to get to Colton. We got there at 6:30,” Bregante lamented. “It was a long day in a van with a bunch of high school kids, let me tell you. Somehow we managed to get through that.”

The Dons are at home for a quarterfinal game against Lawndale on Tuesday night.

Bregante said senior Bolden Brace has been playing great in the playoffs, averaging 20 points and 10 assists.

Providence: The Patriots got a second-round bye on Saturday after Newbury Park Adventist was removed from the playoffs for using an illegal player

Coach Steve Stokes said the team had a great practice on Saturday to prepare for Tuesday’s quarterfinal game against Price in Los Angeles.

“We’ll try to learn from San Marcos and leave earlier to avoid that traffic,” said Stokes. “Price was in the open division last year. They’re not quite open-division level this year but they’re still very good.”

Stokes introduced two of his sensational sophomores Chase Avery and Bryan Sheets. Avery is a high-energy player and relentless rebounder, who set school records this season for most rebounds in a game and in a single season. Sheets is the team’s leading scorer.


UCSB Men: The Gauchos are playing well heading into the stretch run of the Big West regular season. They’ve won five of their last six, including four in row.

“We’ve done it on the defensive end of the floor,” assistant coach Brandon Veltri said.  “We’re trying to outhustle the other teams. The last three games we’ve led from start to finish.”

Veltri noted UCSB is in fourth place with four games remaining and can move up a couple of spots in the standings before the Big West Tournament.

Westmont Women: Coach Kirsten Moore said the Warriors are two wins away from winning their first GSAC regular season title since NAIA MVP Tugce Canitez played for the Warriors in 2013.

Westmont, ranked second in the NAIA, closes the regular season with games at William Jessop and Menlo.

Westmont Men: Coach John Moore ordered a “Call to Duty” for the team after its 69-50 home loss to Biola two weeks ago. The Warriors responded with wins over San Diego Christian and The Master’s last week. They are one win away from a 20-win season (19-8) and have a good chance to get a national tournament berth, said coach Moore.

“At this time of year, it’s about finding a way to help the players become the best they can be. That’s my commitment to them,” he said.


Hailey Gellert scored three goals to lead San Marcos in its CIF Division 1 quarterfinal win over Corona del Mar. Click to view larger
Hailey Gellert scored three goals to lead San Marcos in its CIF Division 1 quarterfinal win over Corona del Mar.

San Marcos Girls: Coin flips haven’t been kind to Royals coach Chuckie Roth over the years.

“In all my years of coaching high school water polo, which is 17 years now, I’ve never won a coin flip,” he said.

He finally won a flip to host a quarterfinal game and the Royals prevailed over Corona del Mar, 8-5, at Santa Barbara High.

Hailey Gellert led the Royals, scoring three goals against Michigan-bound Heidi Ritner, one of the best goalie’s in the country.

“Hailey did a phenomenal job,” said Roth.

The Royals will play Orange Lutheran in the semifinals on Wednesday at 5 p.m. at the William Woollert Aquatics Center in Irvine.

“We beat them by a goal early in the year after being down by four at the beginning. We had a little talking to and then we came back,” said Roth.


UCSB: Coach Andrew Checketts said his team is so new, “I’ve been calling a lot of guys by wrong names. I’m still learning uniform numbers and trying not to screw up the switches in the game. I imagined to make it through the weekend.”

The Gauchos swept University of San Francisco in a four-game series, getting solid pitching performances from Shane Bieber and Joe Record and good hitting from Andrew Calica and JJ Muno, who came a single short of hitting for the cycle in the opener.

“We were up too big where we couldn’t drag bunt late to try and get it. But he was thinking about it and we had to stop him,” said Checketts.

The Gauchos host St. Mary’s on Tuesday before heading to San Diego to play in the Tony Gwynn Classic. They open against Kentucky.

SBCC: “We’re off to a slow start compared to most years,” said coach Jeff Walker, whose team is 3-6 and 0-1 in the Western State Conference.

“There’s plenty of room for improvement. We lost entire our entire roster, 20 players, from last year. We have a lot of room to grow, which is the nature of community college baseball. Just when they start getting it, they leave and move on. Hopefully, these guys will get it before too long.”

Westmont: Coach Robert Ruiz reported that Warriors are 10-2 and ranked 16th in the NAIA.

He praised the impressive play of freshman Luke Coffey out of Dos Pueblos. “He has a bright future in our program,” Ruiz said.

Camila Casanueva leads Dos Pueblos into the CIF 2A quarterfinals. Click to view larger
Camila Casanueva leads Dos Pueblos into the CIF 2A quarterfinals.


Dos Pueblos: Coach Phil Sherman said junior point guard Camila Casanueva may have the body of gymnast, but she’s a battler on the court. “Don’t let that sleight frame fool you,” he said. “I can just say one comparison, Steph Curry. She’s the best shooter I’ve had in 20 years, boy or girl. That’s how much she impacts our game.”

Sherman also introduced Amber Belletti and Lauren Noggle. He said Belletti has recovered from injuries and is putting up really big numbers. “She’s one of the reasons we’ve had an upturn the last five or six games. “

On Noggle: “She’s one of the better rebounds in the Channel League,” he said.

The Chargers are home on Wednesday in a Division 2A quarterfinal game against top-seeded Rowland.

Santa Barbara: It doesn’t any easier for the Dons in the consolation round of the 16-team CIF Open Division. After losing at Chaminade in the first round on Saturday, they play Mater Dei on Wednesday at home. Mater Dei was upset by Etiwanda.

“They have a 6-4 center going to UCLA, a 6-2 girl who is super physical and a 5-11 point guard,” said Dons coach Andrew Butcher of the Monarchs. “They’re real good. Maybe I can outcoach them, but their coach has won five national championships.

Butcher hopes to get production from all of his players. Outside of Amber Melgoza (30 points) and Alondra Jimenez (11 points), the rest of the Dons shot 0 for 15 against Chaminade.

Butcher introduced Alondra Jimenez, Demi Jimenez and Lil Ponce. Alondra Jimenez is the team’s point guard; Demi Jimenez has the best shooting percentage on the team at 72 percent, and Ponce is one of the team’s best defenders.


Dos Pueblos: Coach Anthony Califano introduced Channel League champions sophomore Aidan Yamasaki and junior Ryan Fidel. Fidel won for the second straight year and was named the league MVP. He also qualified for the CIF Masters Meet by taking third at the divisional championships last Saturday. Fidel was seeded fifth in the tournament.

San Marcos: Long-time assistant Brian McNally said heavyweight Anthony Hernandez and 140-pounder Seth Monroy wrestled well at the CIF Divisional Meet.

Santa Barbara: Coach Brian Pearson said the program is turning around thanks to wrestlers like Josue Vallecillo, who won a league championship and was one of seven Dons to qualify for CIF.


Santa Barbara Girls: Coach Jill Wolf said Arroyo Grande’s field was worst than the hard surface of Peabody Stadium. The Dons, however, managed to pull out a 1-0 playoff victory there, thanks to a late goal from junior Alea Hyatt.

“She does a great job of lifting our team up to play at another level,” said Wolf.

The coach also introduced senior Gardenia Maya, who has become a multi-purpose player for the Dons. “She’s a great team player,” said Wolf.

The Dons host El Dorado at 5 p.m. on Tuesday in a second-round game.

Laguna Blanca Boys: Co-coach Jon Curry said senior goalie Mikey Hawker has had some strong games late in the season.

“We hope he continues to keep the ball out of the net,” said Curry.

The Owls plays host to California Military Academy from Perris in a second-round game in Division 7 on Wednesday.

Carpinteria Girls: Assistant coach Lucy Carleton acknowledged the play of Tatiana Requejo and Xochitl Moreno, both juniors, expect good things form them next year. Both played well in wild-card playoff win over Santiago.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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