There were upsets last week, near upsets and one girls soccer star netting six goals in a three-day span – all of which were mentioned during Monday’s Northern Santa Barbara County Athletic Round Table at Giavanni’s Pizzeria in Orcutt.
The weekly luncheon – meeting for the final time for the month of January – saw Pioneer Valley High boys basketball head coach and athletic director Greg Lanthier mention the huge 73-65 Panther boys basketball shocker of St. Joseph from Friday that led to D.J. Martinez winning this week’s Male Athlete of the Week honor.
Martinez scored 18 points to lead the stunner of the Knights – making it the first time the Panthers have ever beaten the Knights on the boys basketball floor.
“I was actually kind of surprised (I won). I wasn’t really expecting it,” Martinez said after the luncheon. “It is always nice to be recognized. I think it was really my teammates also being threats. St. Joseph knew we had several shooters on the floor and a lot of post guys down low. I was able to stretch the floor and take advantage of it.”
The near upset was between Santa Maria boys basketball and Cabrillo, with the Conquistadores escaping on Friday and continuing their current Los Padres League winning streak that dates back to the 2014-15 season. CHS athletic director Dan Troup gave praise to the Saints, calling them a well-coached team.
Blanca Diaz of St. Joseph girls soccer was the one who executed the hat trick twice last week – kicking three goals against Paso Robles then following that up with three more versus PVHS last Friday, leading to her Female Athlete of the Week recognition. Like Martinez, Diaz was caught by surprise that the Round Table honored her.
“I didn’t really expect it because I know there are a lot of great girls out there doing a lot of amazing things in basketball and water polo,” Diaz said. “But I’m very excited.”
Rare that the Braves take the podium first at the Round Table, but Dick Barrett was first up to introduce the LHS athletes in attendance: Bri Gaona and Katie Guzman of the girls soccer team and Andrew Villa and Benicio “Beans” Cayabyab of the boys basketball team.
He mentioned how the boys basketball team got off to a slow start as the Braves were waiting on some football players to wrap up their season, but have since gone 6-3 in the LPL under rookie head coach Paul Terrones.
Athletic Director Chad McKenzie took on a somber tone – as he talked about how the boys basketball team have struggled with their current 0-9 record in LPL games. But, he brought out two players whom he and head coach Ryan Smalley feel have been bright spots for the Spartans: Marc Pyle and Dane Weeks.
Then the focus shifted to girls soccer, as McKenzie introduced Keanna Ackerman, Shelby Mohler and Mecaela Lopez – the latter closing in on shattering the school record in goals in a single season with 19 so far.
Troup not only spoke highly of the Saints basketball team and his boys basketball program – but reported some high marks from the girls wrestling side of things, as Cabrillo placed third in the weekend Pioneer Valley Tournament.
Wrestlers Lesly Hernandez, Destiny Burke, Haylea Shell and Miya Adames were on hand. Joining them were girls basketball players Valerie Monzon and Denisse Martinez.
Scott Larson from the girls water polo team also joined the Conqs, as the head coach introduced his players Jillian Larson and Samantha Guerrero.
Before Lanthier spoke about the new direction the boys basketball team was going in, Gabe Velasco of the girls soccer team was first up for PVHS – as he shined a light on his players Jasmine Aranda, Breanna Arias and Valeria Ornelas.
Along with Martinez, Lanthier introduced Taylor Burns – who the coach called a physical basketball player.
Warriors girls water polo assistant coach Chris Yee spoke on behalf of his team, currently staying involved in the PAC-8 race.
He had Sophia Reyes and Denise Dominguez in attendance – both of whom he calls the Warriors’ leaders in the pool.
The Knights went with a boys basketball and girls soccer contingent at Giavanni’s.
Athletic director and boys basketball head coach Tom Mott introduced his senior captains Elihu Cobb and Matt Chavez. He also praised the work ethic of Kevin Montes of the boys soccer team, who Mott says also helps film some of the Knights’ games.
Girls soccer head coach Al Garcia then introduced his players Diaz, Katie Adler, Ryane Cash and Nikki Cervantes – adding that the quartet have helped spark at late PAC-8 push for the Knights.
Valley Christian Academy
Athletic director Pete Fortier went solo for the Lions – talking about where things stood for the boys basketball team and also sharing how he’s taken a break from coaching on the court this season.
Girls basketball head Mike Alexander took a break from his workplace to give updates on his Pirates’ basketball team, standing at 7-9 and 4-5 in the LPL before their battle with Cabrillo.
Boys basketball head coach Dave Yamate spoke about the close contest with Cabrillo, the Friday contest that saw CHS pull away 58-48.
He introduced his leaders Blake Truhitte, Thomas Segel and Clark Kringle.
Hancock College was the lone school not in attendance, but Round Table emcee Charles Sommer shared updates on the start of the Bulldogs’ baseball and softball season – including Mallory Townsend’s fast start that saw six RBI’s, four runs, two doubles, one triple and one stolen base in two victories over San Diego City College softball during the weekend.