Santa Cruz Warriors guard Aaron Craft named D-League Defensive Player of the Year

Aaron Craft added another defensive award to the book shelf on Friday. The Santa Cruz Warriors point guard was named the 2015 D-League Defensive Player of the Year after averaging a league-best 2.5 steals and 1.4 steal-to-turnover ratio.

An Ohio State product — he was a two-time Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year (2012, 2014) and NABC Defensive Player of the Year (2014) — Craft was selected following a vote among the D-League’s 18 head coaches.  Craft will be presented the trophy by D-League President Malcolm Turner prior to Friday’s playoff game against the visiting Oklahoma City Blue.

Game 2 of the Western Conference semifinals (Santa Cruz leads 1-0) will be nationally televised live on ESPNEWS beginning at 7:30 p.m.

“Aaron is one of the soundest defenders I’ve ever been around and without a doubt he deserves this award,” Santa Cruz coach Casey Hill said in a statement. “He has been phenomenal for our team all year long and it has been amazing to coach him.”

Some stats: The 6-foot-2 guard played in all 50 regular season games for Santa Cruz, anchoring a Warriors defense that held opponents to a league-low 42 percent shooting from the field and 99.6 points per 100 possessions.  Craft also averaged 9.2 points, 6.2 assists and 4.9 rebounds in 36.1 minutes.

“Aaron has shown his aptitude, intensity and desire on the defensive end all season long,” Chris Alpert, vice president of basketball operations for the D-League, said in a statement. “His ability as a lock-down defender has been a tremendous asset for coach Casey Hill and the Warriors this season. We congratulate Aaron on an impressive rookie campaign and this well-deserved award.”

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North-South All-Star basketball game

The eighth annual North-South High School All-Star Basketball Classic is scheduled for Friday at the Boys & Girls Club in Salinas, and several local players were selected for the event, including Aptos’ Ben Dorfman and Santa Cruz’s Kiree Hutchings, and Scotts Valley’s Mandy Silver and Charlie Boyle.

The game, presented by the Salinas Steinbeck Rotary Club, features the top senior basketball players from Santa Cruz, San Benito and Monterey counties.

The girls game will be played at 6 p.m., while the boys will follow at 7:30 p.m.

Proceeds from the event will go to Sunrise House, a youth/family counseling/crisis center in Salinas, and the Boys & Girls Club in Salinas.

The rosters are below:

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Wharf to Wharf donations

The Wharf to Wharf was in the news this week. The annual, 6-mile footrace sold out in record time.

Organizers said the 4,000 spots open for Santa Cruz County runners sold out in 8 hours, while the remaining 12,000 spots through general registration sold out in 2 hours.

Nutty.

Anyway, we reported a while back that the event donated $240,140 to local schools and nonprofit organizations from the funds raised in 2014. The largest gift was given to Good Shepherd School — a $21,000 donation to help install a new quarter-mile track.

To date, the total number of contributions in the race’s 42 year history is more than $5 million.

Below is a list of the 2014 donations:

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SC Warriors to wear customized jerseys Friday

April is Autism Awareness Month, and the Santa Cruz Warriors will wear customized Easter Seals Central California jerseys for Friday night’s game against the visiting Reno Bighorns.

Game time is 7 p.m.

The jerseys will be made available via a silent auction during the game, with all proceeds going back to Easter Seals Central California. Winners of the silent auction will be delivered the game-worn jersey by the player it belongs to immediately after the game. Fans will have the opportunity to get the jersey autographed and take a picture with the player.

Easter Seals Central California has been helping individuals with disabilities and special needs, and their families since 1947. Easter Seals Central California offers a variety of services to help people with disabilities address life’s challenges and achieve personal goals.

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MBL division placements for 2015-16 winter sports

Although this is a couple weeks old, I figured I’d post it anyway.

The Monterey Bay League earlier this month announced its 2015-16 division placements for winter sports. The MBL, an equity league, assigns schools to the Gabilan and Pacific divisions based on recommendations by coaches, athletic directors and the league’s Board of Managers.

The results are below:

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Wharf to Wharf Registration/Sign-ups

The 43rd annual Wharf to Wharf Race is scheduled for Sunday, July 26, and registrations for the 6-mile footrace will happen within the next couple of days.

The “Locals Window” registration, which is open to prospective runners whose billing zip code on their credit/debit card is in Santa Cruz County, is THIS Saturday, March 28, at NOON. It’s a four-day window — it closes on March 31 at 11:59 p.m. — and is open on a first-come, first-serve basis to the first 4,000 entrants (up from 3,000 last year). The window will close after the first 4,000 entrants or on March 31 at 11:59 p.m. — whichever comes first.

You can read about all the details here.

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MVC football to play game in Texas

The Monte Vista Christian School football team is scheduled to play at Trinity Christian School (Cedar Hill) in Cedar Hill, Texas, on Sept. 11.

The varsity will play at 7:30 p.m., and the JV — yes, the JV is going, too — will play at 5 p.m.

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All-SCCAL Girls Basketball

Here’s the list for the 2014-15 All-SCCAL girls basketball team. Scotts Valley’s Mandy Silver and Charlie Boyle were voted as the co-MVPs.

Story to come later …

The full list is below.

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Saturday’s sports schedule

So, Saturday (Feb. 28) is one of the crazier/busier days of the year for local prep sports. It’s a mix of the postseasons for winter sports (basketball, soccer and wrestling) with the early season schedules for spring sports (softball, baseball, track and field).

Here’s a look at everything that’s happening on Saturday.

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All-SCCAL for boys basketball

The Santa Cruz Coast Athletic League announced its all-league selections for boys basketball today. We’ll have a story later.

Below is the full team.

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