Warriors sweep inaugural home stand
by Peter Burke
Jan 03, 2013 | 5229 views | 3 3 comments | 227 227 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Chris Johnson rises for a layup during the Santa Cruz Warriors 109-93 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Chris Johnson rises for a layup during the Santa Cruz Warriors 109-93 victory over the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Travis Leslie goes up for a slam over Dexter Pittman during the Warriors 109-93 victory.
Travis Leslie goes up for a slam over Dexter Pittman during the Warriors 109-93 victory.



The Santa Cruz Warriors completed the first home stand in the city’s history with a New Year’s Day win and a 4-0 record at Kaiser Permanente Arena.

Led by Kent Bazemore and Jeremy Tyler, two players who have been assigned to Santa Cruz by the Golden State Warriors multiple times this season, the Warriors defeated the visiting Sioux Falls Skyforce 109-93 in NBA Development League action Tuesday, Jan. 1.

“Any time you play winning basketball it is good,” Bazemore said after the game. “I think that’s one thing that sets us apart on this team is playing together.”

Five Warriors scored in double figures, led by Bazemore with 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and four steals. Tyler had 18 points and four rebounds, and guard Travis Leslie recorded 16 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals.

“There are a lot of guys in this league trying to get their call-up (to the NBA), so they tend to get a little selfish and guys get frustrated — it breaks up the team chemistry — but for the most part we played well,” Bazemore said. “We had 26 assists tonight, and that shows that we were all here for one purpose, and that’s to win.”

The Santa Cruz Warriors, a minor-league team owned by the Golden State Warriors, moved to Santa Cruz in 2012 from Bismarck, N.D.

The team leads the NBDL with a 9-2 record, including five straight victories through the holidays.

“I thought we shot the ball well when we were getting good shots,” said head coach Nate Bjorkgren, who noted that the team had 13 turnovers in the first half. “We took care of (the ball) a little better in the second half. When the guys share the ball and make that extra pass, they make everybody look better.”

The team shot 56.7 percent from the field and finished with 20 turnovers, while forcing the Skyforce into 21.

Sioux Falls was led by Dexter Pittman, a Miami Heat assignee, who tallied a double-double with 15 points and 14 rebounds.

Just before halftime, the Warriors’ Travis Leslie hammered a right-handed jam over Pittman, eliciting “oohs” and “aahs” from the crowd, as the Warriors went into the break with a 56-38 advantage.

Late in the fourth quarter, Leslie had another highlight-reel dunk on a backdoor alley-oop from point guard Stefhon Hannah.

It was Bazemore, however, who iced the game for the Warriors. After blocking a jump shot, Bazemore continued to play defense and forced a shot clock violation with 3 minutes, 50 seconds minutes left. The next Skyforce possession, Bazemore stole an entry pass, and passed ahead for a 3-pointer by Hannah to make the score 103-89.

“Tonight I really focused in on getting stops,” Bazemore said. “That’s been my mentality. I have been working on my offensive game a lot and I would also like to showcase that, that I can play offense also, but my calling be defense and that’s what they really want to see.”

Notes: Kaiser Permanent Arena was at capacity with 2,505 fans in attendance, the fourth consecutive sellout to start the season.

For information about the Santa Cruz Warriors: www.santacruzbasketball.com.

To comment, email editor Peter Burke at peter@pressbanner.com, call 438-2500 or post a comment at www.pressbanner.com.

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miles zarathustra
January 05, 2013
It was a terrible idea to build an arena seating 3000 downtown without providing additional parking. Ram-rodded through without much public comment. It does not deserve the front page of the paper. Boo, hiss. Nothing against basketball, but it’s an awful location, given that it will rob the established local businesses on front street.

And excuse me, but BASKETBALL? As your adjacent article illustrates, what we need in this county is more high quality performance spaces. So that (for example) I don’t have to be embarrassed to go watch our county symphony and Cabrillo festival perform in a gymnasium. Yuck. So what do they do? Build another gymnasium.

The article in the Sentinal quoted Warriors president Jim Weyermann saying he “thinks parking fees will be a good money maker.” Yeah, but did you ever consider that the parking is not exactly UNUSED after 7pm? Try parking down there even when there isn’t a game. If they ever actually get 3000 people, it is going to be a disaster for local businesses.

Let’s remember that it wasn’t until the a CLOWN made a national laughingstock of the City of Santa Cruz before they figured out that their hostile and unreasonable parking enforcement needed to be reconsidered. Apparently, that ridiculous mentality still lurks.
Really, miles?
January 07, 2013
Miles, lets hear from downtown SC businesses after the season. Then we'll know if it was the disaster that you're touting. My suspicion is that the arena is bringing more money to the area, the eateries are going to love it, and some people who have never been to downtown Santa Cruz are going to fall in love with the area. Parking is an issue, but the season runs through the winter when there aren't huge crowds in downtown SC anyway. As for the front cover - the place is selling out.
January 11, 2013
The games are fun to watch and attend and when the crowd lets out, many people walk and get a snack, etc. It's called entertainment - Try it some time.

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