Kids Sports Reporter

AMS 8th Grade Boys Demolish the Competition All Season

posted Feb 22, 2017, 9:04 AM by Ryan Allison

When I interviewed Coach West at the beginning of the basketball season I asked him to create a hashtag for his 8th grade team. Coach West came up with #hustle. In my opinion, and I am sure all of the AMS fans would agree, Coach West predicted the theme of the 8th grade team’s season with six letters. There is no doubt that hustle wins games and there was no shortage of it on the hardwood when this 8th grade team came to play. AMS 8th graders racked up win after win in the regular season. No team goes into a season expecting an un-defeated record to be handed to them. In all my years of playing youth sports I learned that hustle separates great teams from good teams. Coach West coined #hustle and his boys bought it hook, line, and sinker.

Unfortunately, I was not able to see the 8th grade team play every game. However, the games I did watch were impressive. A team with hustle has confidence and plays with a polished style. The key difference between the 8th grade AMS team and their competition was their hustle. The boys worked as a team and executed plays very well. The games I watched, the intensity of AMS’s defense and offense created turnovers and put points on the board, and their running game was always firing on all cylinders. The Saint’s passing game was sharp, they did well at driving the ball and hitting the open man, and they beat the opponents pressure every time by wasting little getting up and down the floor.

There were consistent scorers this season for the 8th grade team: Mitchell Carpenter led the scoring parade for the 8th grade team with 123 points on the board, Jayden Fischer lit up the board with 97 points, and last but certainly not least was Dylan Talley with 61. These top scorers had the confidence to drive, score points, and open up opportunities for their teammates. Will Shoemaker was also able to drive the lane. His defense was top-notch-a fun player to watch. Shoemaker was able to slash through traffic and his height allowed for an all- out attack on the rim.

Congratulations to Coach West and the 8th grade basketball team for an outstanding season! I am sure that we have not heard the last of this talented team. Next year they will be making their mark as freshmen basketball players. I wish them the best of luck in their high school careers.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Reaching High Kept 7th Grade AMS Basketball Team on it’s Toes

posted Feb 7, 2017, 1:32 PM by Ryan Allison

AMS 7th grade boys played their last two games on two consecutive nights: January 18th against Laguna and January 19th paired against Templeton Eagles. AMS played an impressive two nights of basketball giving Saint’s fans plenty to cheer about.

The Saints easily swept past Laguna with a 43-21 victory January 18th.  This is the second opponent that AMS lost to initially, and beat them easily the second time around on Saint’s terms. Saints made short work of Laguna’s attempts at a defense with an aggressive non-stop offensive assault at the rim. Laguna’s offense was no match for Saint’s defense. Sluggish scoring quarters were Laguna’s downfall. Offensively, Reyes and Waiters for the Saints led the scoring parade with a combined 17 points, including Waiters two points made from the charity line. Evan’s led the rebound action with four offensive and six defensive. This win left AMS with a record of 10-1.

         Saint’s easily handled the Eagles on January 19th with a 36-18 win. Templeton tried to counter Saint’s scoring attack with one of their own in the 4th quarter, but still came up short. Templeton recorded nine fouls and AMS capitalized on that with eight points added to the board. Evans and Moscardi led offensively for baskets and Reyes had two baskets from downtown. Meeks had four assists, while Evans and Porter persisted under the rim for four offensive rebounds each. This win left AMS with an impressive season record of 11-1. Way to go Saints!

Saints blew the competition out of the water during their season ending tourney January 27th and January 28th. This AMS team I watched beat Mission, Los Osos, and Lewis for first place was heads and shoulders better than when I watched the season opening tourney last November. In eleven games Coach Ballinger made offensive and defensive wizards out of this group of 13 boys. Reaching high kept these boys (and their coach) on their toes and that produced a near perfect season with a first place ending. Congratulations Coach Ballinger and 7th grade boys for an amazing season!

Until next season, this has been Hoot’s scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Hoops, They Did it Again: Saints Dominate Leopards for the Win

posted Jan 17, 2017, 1:08 PM by Ryan Allison   [ updated Jan 17, 2017, 1:11 PM ]

    On January, 12th Saints squared off with Lewis on the hardwood, for the last time in regular season play, and outscored them by twenty-two points. Some will say Saint’s had the home court advantage, however Saints beat Lewis in their own backyard making this two wins in a row against rival Paso Robles. The long and short of it was that Lewis struggled early, falling behind in the first half, and never able to keep up with the well executed offensive screens by the Saint’s allowing for a pass, a drive, and a score. Saints improve their record to 8-1.

Saint’s dominated the Leopards offensively from outside. Lewis found a three-point shot late in the 3rd quarter, but Logan Reyes shot from downtown all game long! Reyes racked up an impressive twelve points in three-point shots. Reyes, also contributed offensively with one basket and 2 successful free-throw shots, bringing his total points on the board to sixteen-making nearly half the points left on the board at the final buzzer.

Lewis’ starting defense might not have gotten on the bus. Lewis struggled defensively against the Saint’s biggest defensive players, Evans and Moscardi the entire four quarters. Evans was the reigning defensive player for the Saints Thursday night. Evans racked up four steals and four defensive rebounds. Evans was the money player for the Saint’s defense.

From courtside seat he got game: Besides, Reyes offensively and Evans defensively, Michael Porter was a player to watch during Thursday’s game. Porter had 3 steals, 2 defensive rebounds, and sparked the scoreboard with 4 points.

Until it’s tipped off again on January, 18th that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

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Order on the Court!

posted Jan 17, 2017, 1:07 PM by Ryan Allison

Order on the Court! Order on the Court!

Saint’s Systematically Take Down St.Pats

On Tuesday, January 10th, St. Pat’s came to the dog pen to play the Saints in their last regular season game. The Saints fetched 53 points in Tuesday’s game making it the biggest point spread of the season. The final score was 53-17. Saints dominated early and controlled the board offensively with fast breaks and plenty of scoring opportunities. The Saints improve their record to 7-1.

Sean Davis and Michael Porter led the scoring parade with six and eight points respectively. Coalwell, making the only shot from downtown in the third quarter.  In fact, just about everyone on the team had a deuce. Way to go Saints! Saint’s played a very disciplined game of basketball, marking only three fouls the entire game. Levi Meeks led Tuesday’s stats with eight assists and three steals.

From my courtside seat he got game: Brady Page played with good court vision Tuesday night. He made his way around the court with fast feet. Page sparked 6 points, four assists, and two steals.

Until its tipped off again on January 12th, that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Three Sport Athlete Delivers Clutch Performance in Los Osos Game

posted Jan 17, 2017, 1:00 PM by Ryan Allison

If you are shorter than the average 7th grader, than you would find yourself looking up, when speaking to Evan Moscardi. Evan landed a spot on the AMS 7th grade basketball team this year, as a starter that plays center and post. Moscardi, has certainly made his presence known this year on the court, delivering a clutch performance in the game against Los Osos on December 13th. Moscardi’s quick thinking, smart passing by teammates, and his advanced skill set won the game for the Saints in the last 3 seconds of the game, bringing their record to 4-1.

I sat down with Evan over the winter break and we talked about basketball in general. Evan is a three sport athlete, playing the “big 3” (baseball, basketball, and football). Evan competitively plays key positions, such as: first baseman, pitcher, catcher, quarterback, center, and post. Moscardi, has played basketball since the first grade. Brining 7 years experience to the Saints school team. Further, Evan has played for the Atascadero club basketball team, Mudpit, for the last two years. I asked Evan out of the 3 sports he plays, which sport is his favorite. Evan replied, “I like baseball the best.” Moscardi, is an entertaining player to watch on the court. Every move he makes is well thought out and well executed. I asked Evan if he could describe himself as a player, and he described himself as a player that likes to “drive to the hoop”, and not one that “takes outside shots.” Precisely, what makes Evan entertaining on the hardwood. Moscardi,  is a pure shooter that relies on screens to score and doesn’t subscribe to the hype about spectacular dunks. The Saints, currently have an impressive 7-1 record. I asked Evan what he thought his team brings onto the court that makes winning so easy for them, and there was no hesitation before Evan said, “we work together as a team.” Moscardi, is not just a solid athlete, but he also is an exceptional student. Being able to manage one, or the other is pretty easy, however juggling both and excelling is outstanding. Evan knows that if he wants to play sports than he needs to have good grades. Just for fun, I asked Moscardi if he could play a pickup game of basketball with an NBA player who would it be. Evan replied, “I would like to play with the 1989 Piston’s team.” Otherwise, known as the “bad boy Piston roster”, which included: Dennis Rodman, Isiah Thomas, and Joe Dumars.

In ending, I asked Evan if he had a college team that he could see himself playing basketball for, and that was the Florida Gators. In watching Evan play Basketball it doesn’t seem too far fetched of an idea that there could be some Gator hoop in his future. But, before that, I promise, you will see Evan Moscardi in orange and grey at the high school.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter


Think Like an Athlete Series: ACL Wellness

posted Dec 22, 2016, 10:23 AM by Ryan Allison

This is the first in my series “Think Like an Athlete.” I chose to start with ACL wellness because it is a topic that I learned a lot about at a very young age.  I suffered my first complete ACL tear at the age of 9, on my right knee, and a second complete ACL tear at the age of 12, on my left knee. In both cases, I had ACL reconstruction using my own hamstring. Following both surgeries was weeks of physical therapy, 12 months of wearing a custom brace, and the bad news that I was out of sports for twelve to fifteen months. It is during this time that I learned that if I want to be an athlete, then I needed to think like one.

I have played baseball, basketball, and football since my early elementary school years. I am a three-sport athlete; therefore, I use all muscle groups on a regular basis. That thought seemed logical to me, but couldn’t have been further from the truth. I learned through physical therapy and rehabilitation at the gym with personal trainers that the type of exercise that athletes participate in during any sports practices, are compound exercises. That means that while at practice they are participating in activities that use more than one major muscle group at a time. Compound exercise serves a purpose, however, if you want to be proactive in preventing injury, it is important that you think like an athlete and make time for exercise routines that isolate one major muscle group at a time.

The ACL, or the anterior cruciate ligament is found behind your knee and forms an “X” with the help of the posterior ligament. The ACL provides rotational stability to the kneecap. A stable knee is what keeps an athlete’s feet under him. The ACL is a ligament that requires special attention through repetitive isolated exercises. The ACL is only as strong as an athlete’s quad and hamstring muscles. ACL wellness also depends on an athlete’s hip and core strength. Look for exercises that isolate these muscles, such as: lunges, squats, side planks, hip bridges, and chops and lifts (for added strengthening use medicine balls). Pay special attention to your agility, balance, form, and how you change direction and land. Good technique is just as important as the exercise itself. The quality of movement should be emphasized over the quantity. You are what you practice and sloppy technique makes for a sloppy athlete. YouTube has many exercise programs that focus on ACL wellness that are easy to follow with step-by-step instructions. Don’t miss out on valuable playing time by standing on the sidelines. Be preventative, and build yourself an injury prevention program that can be done at home.

Stay in the game! If you want to be an athlete-think like one.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Saints Ground the Eagles With a 27-21 Win

posted Dec 12, 2016, 9:16 AM by Ryan Allison

        On Tuesday, December 6th, AMS Saints battled on the hardwood against the Templeton Eagles. Even though, Templeton had the home court advantage the Saints beat them in a hard-fought game, where the whistle blew so often a face in the crowd yelled, “Let them play.” When the buzzer sounded for the last time, the lit-up box read 27-21 putting another check in the W column for the Saints.

        Logan Reyes led a balanced scoring attack for the Saints with eight points total. Two of those baskets were Reyes logging miles at the three-point line. Following Reyes in the Saints scoring attack were: Stevie Waiters with six points and Levi Meeks with five points. Evan Moscardi, playing a tough center set the physical tone of the game being called for a foul five times. Nearly, fouling out in the second half of the game.

        On Thursday, December 8th, the Saints played Flamson Cougars in Cougar territory. AMS Saints beat the Cougars by an impressive 20-point margin! The final score of the game was 30-10 improving the Saints record to 3-0.

        From my courtside seat, he got game: Logan Reyes gets my vote for setting the offensive tempo by draining 17 baskets in two games. Way to capitalize on scoring opportunities, Logan!

Until the ball is tipped off again on December 13th, that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

Go Saints!

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

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AMS Beats Lewis in Close Game

posted Dec 5, 2016, 1:20 PM by Ryan Allison   [ updated Dec 5, 2016, 1:20 PM ]

On November 29th, AMS traveled to Lewis Middle School in Paso Robles looking to square up with the Leopards for the loss they served the Saints in the season opening tourney in mid-November. The Saints finished off the Leopards with a 38-34 victory. It was a close game, but Saints take the mark in the win column for this one.

To beat a tough opponent like Lewis Leopards, it is necessary to do your homework and make technical adjustments. It was obvious Coach Ballinger and the team did just that. Ballinger put his team’s prior basketball experience to work, and the Saints were easily able to match strides with Lewis. In their second matching, the Saints brought physicality, thought fast on their feet, at times overwhelmed the Leopards at the basket, and were consistent at taking the ball to the hoop for two. Stevie Waiters led the scoring parade with seven baskets and two points scored from the charity line. This makes Stevie the games’ money player; effectively scoring almost half of the points racked up on the lit-up box.

From my courtside seat, he got game: Stevie Waiters gets my vote for being the gunner in this match-up. One to watch is Evan Moscardi.  Moscardi, starts each game at center court circle in an attempt to gain control of the ball. In the words of Chick Hearn, Evan played this match-up like King Kong on a ladder, putting his height to a Saints advantage defending the cylinder and robbing rebounds from his opponent.

Until it’s tipped off again on December 6th, that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

Coach West Remembers a Chick-a “Chick-ism” That Is

posted Dec 5, 2016, 1:19 PM by Ryan Allison

During my interview, I asked Coach West if he had a favorite basketball slang term, and he brought up a name I had not ever heard before: Chick Hearn. Coach West inspired me to learn more about Chick Hearn, and what I found out was that Hearn coined many of the slang terms used today. Those in the basketball realm call these terms chick-isms. Terms such as, slam dunk, air ball, and the triple-double. Chick Hearn, for 42 years announced the Los Angeles Lakers games in a riveting play-by-play style that Hearn himself referred to as his “word’s-eye view of basketball.”  But, Coach West is in the spotlight in this article and his favorite “Chick-ism” happens to be number three in the top five “Chick-isms” of all time. West recalls “the popcorn machine” which was Hearn’s way of describing a player who fell victim to an opponent’s head fake. Sometimes, Hearn would take it a step further and narrate how funny the player looked with salt and butter all over him. Thank you Coach West for the lesson in basketball aristocracy.

Coach West teaches eighth grade science and is in his eleventh year of teaching at AMS. This is Coach West’s first year coaching boys’ basketball. Prior to that West coached girls’ basketball for three years. Coach West’s reasons for coaching are simple: basketball is fun to play and is great exercise. I asked Coach West what inspired him to become a coach and if he had a coaching role model. “I coached before I taught. Coaching got me into teaching. I have coached high school baseball and football.” West’s coaching role model is the “Wizard of Westwood”-John Wooden the infamous coach of the UCLA bruins. “Wooden had lots of basketball knowledge, valued character of his players, and the way they behaved on the court whether they won or lost.” Coach West’s on court expectations for his team are simple, yet significant to team success. “On the court, I expect them to simply try to do their best. Work as hard as they can and never get out hustled. As any solid coach would, West has expectations off the court as well. “Off the court, I expect them to carry themselves in way that represents their school in a positive light.” As an athlete, I have always valued teamwork and spotless sportsmanship. I appreciated it when Coach West paid allegiance to the worth of playing the game clean. “I think sportsmanship is very important. It doesn’t mean you can’t play a hard game. I expect the guys on the team to win with class and lose with dignity.” Teamwork was high on West list of priorities. “I treat everyone the same at practice. Everything is done as a team. Rewards and penalties are given as a team. They do not necessarily have to be the best of buddies, they need to respect each other and work as a team.”

Coach West opened up about the technical side of his basketball team by chatting with me about how the team has been preparing for the upcoming season, “We have been focusing on fundamentals and conditioning at every practice. Slowly working on putting in different defenses and offenses.” I had to ask Coach West how his team will outstrip and outscore opponents “With this team, since they have so much speed, we need to take advantage of our speed. Move the ball around, take quality shots. Just trying to be aware, read the ball as it’s in the air, and it will set us up better for rebounding and to box out.”  I thought it would be fun to ask Coach West to create a hashtag for his eighth-grade team, and he replied without any hesitation, “#hustle.” I wish Coach and the team the best of luck this season. In the words of Coach West’s role model, John Wooden, “Things turn out best for the people who make the best of the way things turn out.”  Congratulations Coach West, your philosophy on teamwork and sportsmanship pair well with the “Wizard of Westwood.”

Weston Hooten

Kid Sports Reporter

AMS Saints Paw Their Way to 3rd Place in Weekend Tourney

posted Nov 28, 2016, 3:38 PM by Ryan Allison

Flamson Middle School was the battleground for a two-day season opening boy’s basketball tournament in Paso Robles.  AMS 7th grade boys struggled to find their rhythm in Friday’s evening game against Lewis Leopards.  Friday was an easy victory for Lewis as AMS failed to control the board.  The Leopards watchword for the evening must have been “board-up” because Lewis executed grab after grab at the glass. A suffocating defense and scoring runs in each of the four quarters propelled Lewis to a 37-17 win against the Saints. I caught up with Coach Ballinger after the game on Friday and asked how he thought AMS could of better. managed their offense on the court. “They need to work on rebounds the most,” Ballinger said.

Ask and you shall receive because AMS found their offensive and defensive stride in Saturday’s early morning game against Flamson Cougars. AMS was aggressive at the board and easily took control of the game by outscoring the Cougars each of the four quarters. Kaiden Abma tossed in five for Saturday’s morning game, making him the highest scorer, and Jerren Fischer was the only deep threat dishing the only three pointer of the game. AMS clinches the win over the Cougars lighting up the scoreboard with a resounding 52-19 margin.

Saturday’s early morning win over the Cougars stoked the team’s offensive fire for their afternoon match-up against Templeton Eagles. If the Eagles thought, they were going to soar over the top of the Saints they were in for a big surprise. The first two quarters were close with one team scoring and the other answering back. Templeton and AMS seemed to be matched in speed, defensive quality, and scoring attacks. At the beginning of the third quarter the game was tied 14-14. AMS found an offensive juggernaut and in two quarters found a 19-point scoring run to seal the deal with a 33-19 win over the Eagles placing 3rd place in the tournament.

From my courtside seat, he got game: Kaiden Abma led the scoring parade in this season’s opening tournament draining six baskets. Levi Meeks is sticky on defense and quick around the court. Levi will be a defensive player to watch.

Until it’s tipped off again on November 29th that’s Hootie’s scoop on the hoop.

Weston Hooten

Kid Reporter


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