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Round Table Press Luncheon: Westmont Coach’s Daughter Gets Early Taste of College Dorm Life

San Marcos basketball coach Chris Hantgin is joined by team members, from left: Milan McGary, Ashley Day and Fran Pereira at Monday’s Round Table press luncheon. Click to view larger
San Marcos basketball coach Chris Hantgin is joined by team members, from left: Milan McGary, Ashley Day and Fran Pereira at Monday’s Round Table press luncheon. (Barry Punzal / Noozhawk photo)

It was a back-to-the future moment for Westmont women’s basketball coach Kirsten Moore, when she and her team were evacuated from campus because of the Thomas Fire and spent a week in a dormitory at The Master’s University in Santa Clarita.

Moore took her daughter, too.

“Alexis and I got to live the dorm life,” Moore said at Monday’s Santa Barbara Athletic Round Table press luncheon at Harry’s Plaza Cafe. “I got to relive the dorm life of college and Alexis got to live it before her time.”

Moore said she’s impressed how her young team has responded after being displaced by the fire. The Warriors returned home and won their first two Golden State Athletic Conference games last week, beating William Jessup and Menlo.

“I’m really proud of how my team is coming along,” she said.

She’s especially happy with the team’s defense. The Warriors are ranked No. 2 in the NAIA in scoring defense. They held Menlo 30 points under its scoring average, winning 60-51.

Westmont hits the road this weekend, playing at San Diego Christian and Arizona Christian.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

UCSB Women

“We’ve been pretty good for the last four games,” assistant coach Eliza Pierre said. “We’re on a four-game winning streak."

She praised Makayla Roper for stepping up and filling in for the team’s two injured point guards in wins over Long Beach State and Cal Poly last week. She had 15 points in the Long Beach game and 15 points and nine assists against Cal Poly.

“Our team is rolling,” Pierre said. “We appreciate the community's support and hanging with us. We’re getting it going now. We should have our starting point guard back by Saturday and our point guard should be coming back any day now.

"We’ve been pretty happy, if you ask me.”

Westmont Men

Coach John Moore expressed his gratefulness to those who protected the community during the Thomas Fire.

The fire kept the Warriors from practicing for 23 days and from playing a game for 27 days.

“It’s like starting a season over again,” said Moore, who added that he was impressed how well the team looked when it got back on the court. “I’m not sure if I’ve ever been prouder of a team than this team and what they were able to do in terms of coming back, standing tall and being prepared.

“This was the longest break we’ve ever had," he added. "(The players) went back and they worked hard and we won some games. More importantly, they came back and we were together, and that’s what counts.”

Moore introduced freshman Kyle Scalmanini, the son of the basketball coach at Claremont College. He said the talented guard is the future for the Warriors.

Westmont is 12-3 and 2-0 in the GSAC.

GIRLS BASKETBALL

San Marcos

Coach Chris Hantgin said he has special group of players. The Royals are 9-2, their best start in several years. 

Senior Milan McGary is a motivational player and plays hard every day, She leads the team in scoring and assists. 

“She’s off to a great start and it’s great for us,” said Hantgin,

He likes the versatility of sophomores Ashley Day and Fran Pereira.

Day is one the team’s top scorers, has a great work ethic and a great attitude, he said.

On Pereira, “She plays with great heart and energy and gives us a great lift off the bench.”

The Royals will be looking to win their first Channel League in eight years on Friday when they travel to Dos Pueblos. The game is the opener of a doubleheader with the boys’ teams.

Santa Barbara

Coach Andrew Butcher’s squad plays two tough opponents this week: Ventura in its Channel League opener on Tuesday at home and Brea-Olinda at a showcase event at Chaminade High on Saturday.

“They’re tough teams and we just got to play good basketball and win games without practice.”

The Dons weren’t able to practice for several days because of the Thomas Fire.

"Our kids couldn't wait to get back," Butcher said. "You find out how irrelevant sports is during these emergencies, and also how sports gets us all back together after the emergencies.

"It gets our kids back to normal, it gets the fans back involved, and kind of helps us continue with our lives. What a month - and it's still not over with the rains."

Butcher introduced seniors Kristen Sullivan and Anais Jimenez and sophomore Mireya Gil. 

Of Sullivan, he said she made 61 three-pointers last season. "She's a gym rat; she loves to play and loves to shoot. We’re working on her defense.”

Jimenez, the ASB president, is averaging over 10 rebounds a game. "I tell my players, if you rebound, you will play," said Butcher.

Gil, he said, is a terrific athlete. “She always practices and plays with a smile on her face. She plays with great joy.”

MEN’S VOLLEYBALL

UCSB

Assistant coach Vince Devany said this year’s Gaucho team is young.

“We have no seniors, we have a couple of juniors and then we’re very much sophomore heavy. Look for us to take some lumps early on, but I think with the group we have we’re going to be tough by the end of the season,” said Devany.

The Gauchos play at UCLA and USC on Friday and Saturday nights.

GIRLS WATER POLO

Santa Barbara

Coach Mark Walsh said the team is 5-6, but the losses have come against highly ranked teams in Division 1 of the CIF-Southern Section. 

“We’ve played a difficult schedule. Although our record doesn’t seem very good, we’re a pretty good team. We’re ranked No. 10 in Division 1.

Freshman Elise Powers has been a key player. “She has a ton of experience under her belt already,” Walsh said. “We’re 11 games in and she’s basically played every minute. She’s learning a lot about the varsity level and is doing a great job.”

Alex Szymczak is an important player for the Dons. “She’s our fastest girl, our toughest girl,” Walsh said. “She’s battled a lot this year to be able to play.”

Szymczak suffered an illness, got better and then relapsed. 

“She’s back playing normal minutes,” Walsh said.  “She doesn’t have her normal speed and fire she’s had, but with more training she’ll get that back for us. She makes a huge difference for our team with her speed and tenacity.”

The Dons will host their annual Tournament of Champions Thursday through Saturday, The tournament will feature the top 24 teams in Southern California. 

“It’s going to be some great, great water polo for our community,” said Walsh.

San Marcos

Coach Chuckie Roth said he’s not worried about the team being 5-4. It’s all about getting better with each game.

“What we do is we go into every game and say we’ve got to get better. We know we’re not where we want to be or like to be, but we think we can better as the season goes on,” he said.

Roth was pleased at the team’s improved play in a recent game against Mater Dei. The Royals battled back from a 9-1 deficit and put a scare into the powerful Monarchs before falling 14-12.

“We lost but we made one of the best comebacks I’ve ever been a part of and it was really amazing,” he said.

Cassidy Miller was a key player in the San Marcos comeback. 

“She’s arguably the best shooter on our team,” Roth said. “She’s a very intelligent player and does a phenomenal job for us.”

The Royals play host to San Diego’s Cathedral Catholic on Wednesday at 4:15 p.m.

 

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

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