Varsity boys basketball looks to top last year’s success

By Bob Dickson

The SCCS varsity boys basketball team knew coming into the season that it had big shoes to fill. Last year’s team went 21-7, advanced to the CIF-Southern Section Division VA title game, and made it into the second round of the CIF state tournament.

This year’s team more than knew it. It was haunted by it.

Losing that championship game has stuck with returning players for a year. They want the taste of the loss out of their mouths, and for them, that means winning it all in 2015.

“We had a team meeting to discuss our goals,” said Cardinal forward/center Chris Collins. “We definitely all think about last year. We want to get back to that stage. We want to make up for last year.”

The Cardinals faced a steep climb in their return to greatness. Last year’s starting point guard (Kamron Carroll) and its 6-foot-8 center (Philip Webb) both graduated. Points, rebounds and blocked shots would have to come from somewhere else.

But the team has remade itself.

Collins, who is 6-foot-5, shed 20 pounds since last year and has become a force under the basket, averaging 12.5 points, 10.9 rebounds and 2.5 blocks. Guard Cameron Lewis (9.4 ppg) is the spearhead of the team’s harassing, pressing defense (2.4 steals per game). Point guard Alik Airapetyan (8.9 ppg, 5.5 assists per game, 2.4 steal per game) runs the offense and is the team’s most dangerous threat from beyond the 3-point line.

What separates this team from last year’s team is its balance and its depth.

“We’re a lot deeper 1 through 10,” Collins said. “Last year had a really good six, but we couldn’t fill in the pieces. This year, if someone gets in foul trouble we can pick up.”

Players like sharpshooter Kenji Sampson (6 ppg), 6-foot-4 forward Bryce Wilkinson (14.4 ppg), Jackie Saucer (9.4 ppg), Maynor Brooks (4.7 ppg) and Chris Catalano (10.3 ppg) fill in the blanks for a team that has made a habit of wearing out the opposition.

The Cardinals are 13-2 and have outscored opponents 793-422 so far this year. Its two losses, to Saddleback Christian (64-58) and Royal (68-65), have been by narrow margins.

Over the summer we realized we’d have to play a lot faster than everyone else. Picking up our tempo was a huge goal. Also realized we had to pick up our defensive intensity,” Collins said. “We try to jump on teams right away. That’s our goal.”

Their other goal is redemption; they have unfinished business.

“We don’t want to be one of those teams that fades away because we didn’t win the big game,” Collins said. “Our main goal is to win a CIF championship.”

Varsity boys soccer battles Providence to a 1-1 tie

The SCCS varsity boys soccer team fought a defensive battle with league opponent Providence Thursday at Occidental College, ultimately settling for a 1-1 tie.

Providence scored on an early corner kick in the first half, but the Cardinal defense buckled down after that.

The back line of Fady Nakhla, Travis Bannerman and Thomas Zeilinger anchored the SCCS defensive effort, and keeper Chandler Garrison made every save the rest of the way.

Midfielders Dayton Muxlow, Braeden Berentsen, Kyle Agajanian and Riley Pettee kept the Providence players busy and unable to mount a numbers attack.

In the second half, Billy Latch floated a well weighted pass beyond the defensive line of Providence to the foot of Zack Norton. A few touches later a shot and a goal would tie the game at 1-1 in the ninth minute.

SCCS’s record now stands at 2-5-1 (0-3-1).


Pee-wee soccer scores, then defends against AEA

Dean Trujillo scored the lone goal for SCCS Thursday as the pee-wee (K-1st grade) faced off against Albert Einstein Academy.

Jase Wimett was all over the field playing great offense and defense. Jackson Cooper, Alexandra Lacy and Ella Salzarulo also played outstanding defense, keeping multiple balls from going into the net.

Hunter Briggs, who played forward for SCCS, fired some great shots on goal. Micah Theobald and Dakota Wagner played goalkeeper. Theobald saved four shots in the first half, while Wagner saved three in the second.

Pee-wee soccer — Kindergarten/1st grade — puts forth a strong effort

The SCCS Pee-wee soccer team (K-1st grade) took on Albert Einstein Academy Thursday at SCCS.

Cardinal goalkeepers Isaiah Burdette and Aiden Saracione played well. Burdette made four saves in the first half, while Saracione had six saves in the second.

The Cardinals weren’t able to punch in a goal. However, there were plenty of stars on both ends of the field. Chase Kalinske, Gregory Michlin and Jonah Babikan were all over the field playing some great offense and defense.

Jacob Trosper, Abigail Lemmen, Abigail Gregory, Sloan Johnson, Maggie Michlin and Daryl Hunt played some outstanding defense for us and kept multiple balls from going into the goal.

Lucas Mazzilli played well on defense, saving a few goals by being in the right place at the right time to thwart breakaway opportunities for AEA.

Caldwell’s 19 first-half points — and Uribe’s defense — are enough for SCCS JV basketball

The Cardinals enjoyed stellar performances on both sides of the ball during a 55-35 victory over Albert Einstein Academy Thursday.

First there was AJ Caldwell, who played only in the first half and yet still managed to lead all scorers with 19 points before bowing out due to a mild neck injury.

And then there was Michael Uribe, who drew the assignment of guarding AE’s top scoring threat. Uribe, who SCCS head coach JD Gregory called the game’s most valuable player, took over guarding AE’s star in the second quarter, after he’d already poured in 11 points.

For the rest of the game, Uribe held him to just four.

Tyler Kalinske added 12 points for SCCS, most of which came off of the fast break. Josh Clark came out hot, hitting the game’s opening 3-point basket and playing solid defense all night. Clark finished with 11 points.

With the win, the Cardinals improved their record to 9-3.

Junior varsity hoops improves to 8-3

Tyler Kalenski scored 16 points to lead the SCCS boys junior varsity basketball to a 50-21 win over Guidance Charter on Jan. 20.

Michael Zecardi added 10 points for SCCS (8-3), which also got eight points from Aaron Robinson.

Cardinal Ethan Su scored his first points of the season, connecting on a 3-pointer. Su finished with five points.

Late goals sink Cardinal boys soccer

The SCCS varsity boys soccers team traded blows in the first half against Fraizer Mountain on Jan. 20 at Central Park before falling in the second, 5-2.

Frazier Mountain opened the scoring in the 23rd minute, but SCCS’s Billy Latch answered with a goal of his own on an assist from Braeden Berentsen. The Falcons closed the first half with a goal in the 30th min for a 2-1 half-time lead.

The second half saw the Falcons score to make it 3-1, but again SCCS answered. This time it was Zack Norton on an assist from Latch. The Cardinals, now trailing 2-3, surrendered a pair of goals down the stretch in what was a much closer game than the score indicates.

The Cardinals (2-5, 0-3) played without starting defender Travis Bannerman. Thomas Zeilinger and Fady Nakhla turned in strong performances to pick up the slack.

SCCS keeper Chandler Garrison made 14 saves.