Monday, October 22, 2018     Volume: 19, Issue: 33

Santa Maria Sun / Athlete of the Week

The following article was posted on April 19th, 2012, in the Santa Maria Sun - Volume 13, Issue 6 [ Submit a Story ]
The following articles were printed from Santa Maria Sun [] - Volume 13, Issue 6

Athlete(s) of the Week


Sometimes good things come in pairs. It’s certainly true for the boys’ and girls’ basketball teams of tiny St. Mary of the Assumption School, a Catholic school in Santa Maria.

Both teams—made up of sixth through eighth-graders—recently completed perfect 17-0 league seasons and won their respective Central Coast Small Schools League Championship Tournaments. According to league officials, it’s the first time one school has boasted two undefeated regular season and league tournament champions in the same year.


The girls’ side, spurred on by a core group including Veronica Ochoa, Caitlyn Martinez, Marie Dumadara, and Tracy Tucay, dominated their opponents all season long, winning their games by an average of 25 points. On March 22, the Squires capped off the season by beating Valley Christian Academy in the final tournament game 42-28, the most points any opponent had scored against them all season.

Girls’ head coach Chuck Miller attributed the success to being able to keep the same group of players together since they were sixth graders, most of whom had no travel ball experience.

“It was somebody different every game,” Miller said. “If one was off, the other ones contributed. That’s what made this team good. It was their defense that did it. When they couldn’t score, they just held teams from scoring.”

The boys’ team, led by Ricki Barragon, Terry Wambalt, Matthew Morales, Trenton Carter, and Noah Martinez, went 17-0 in league and 18-2 overall, beating Blochman 42-31 in the tournament championship game on April 5.


Boys’ head coach Anthony Morales, in his 17th season at St. Mary’s, missed time during the season while recovering from surgery. He said his players never lost their focus, stayed humble, and bought into the team motto, “It’s all about defense.”

“At such a young age they showed a lot of leadership qualities,” Morales said. “Proud doesn’t even describe how I feel about these boys, and not just their performance on the court, but their character as young men.”

As far as sharing the winner’s stage with the girls’ team, Morales couldn’t be happier for St. Mary’s.

“We’ve struggled through the years because we’re such a small school, and we don’t have a tendency of having large numbers to draw from,” he said. “To accomplish such a feat, I don’t think it’s ever been done before.”

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