In his 14th year as coach at Sylmar, Escoto has arguably one of his best teams ever heading into City Section postseason play. Guy Landry is an emerging force, Victor Rudd is developing into a star, Antonio Biglow is a heady floor leader, and Dwight Jones and Tyler Honeycutt have proven reliable from the perimeter, all while standout Mat Hankins has been out dealing with numerous injuries for the majority of the season. The Spartans (16-9) are one of the few area teams with a chance to make some noise in the Championship playoffs. It won’t be easy, though. Sylmar received the ninth seed amid some minor controversy and now must face one of the more difficult routes to the title game, beginning with Thursday’s first round game at home against perennial power Crenshaw (17-7). DN: Talk to me about your team’s chances. Crenshaw first, and if you manage to win, top-seeded Fairfax is going to be waiting for you guys in the second round. Do you feel like the City Section selection committee gave you guys a fair shot? BE: We got screwed. I told my assistant Charles White beforehand that we were going to get cheated. We were disappointed and angry when we learned where we ended up in the bracket. BE: Of course. How could you not? I’d be the answer to a pretty good trivia question if we win. Seriously, I’ve always admired Willie. I’ve patterned my program after his. I’d be rooting for him to win a title in his final year if we weren’t playing his team in the first round. DN: So the plan is, take out Willie and company, upset Fairfax and go on to win the championship at the L.A. Sports Arena on March 3rd … Are you going to guarantee that this group of yours is going to bring back a title to the San Fernando Valley? BE: I wouldn’t go that far. I can tell you this, we’re not the same team we were at the beginning of the season. We have all the pieces in place. We have the bodies. We have the horses and they’re ready to run. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! DN: What type of feedback have you gotten from your players, and are they overly discouraged? BE: No. Not really. I told them that there’s always going to be some bias when it comes to these things, so they were prepared. DN: Now what? Where do you go from here and how do you motivate the kids for the big-time challenge ahead? BE: We’re not going to cry about the situation. We’re men. We don’t care about being snubbed anymore. It is what it is. This is a hungry group, ready to show everyone what we’re about. Crenshaw is always good, so we can’t afford to look past them. And in order to win the City title, you have to beat Fairfax at some point. DN: Let’s talk a little more about Crenshaw, specifically coach Willie West. He’s a legend and plans on retiring after 39 years as the Cougars’ coach. Have you given much thought about his illustrious career – which includes eight Div. I state titles, 16 City Section championships since 1980 and more than 800 wins – ending with a loss in your gym?
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREBlues bury Kings early with four first-period goals Evening Kiwanis Club will meet, 6:15 p.m. at Mulligan’s, 25848 Tournament Road, Valencia. Call Amy Spencer at (661) 255-6714. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for tempo runs, 6:15 p.m. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org for location. FRIDAY Nonprofit workshop, titled “The Leadership Tool Kit,” 9 a.m.-noon at the SCV Resource Center, 20880 Centre Pointe Parkway, Canyon Country. Cost: $20. Call (661) 250-3720. Grand opening, 10 a.m. at Seco Canyon Village shopping center, on the corner of Seco Canyon Road and Copperhill Drive in Valencia. Call Tracey Zimmerman at (949) 270-2411. Grand opening of the Golden Valley Interchange, 10 a.m. on the corner of Golden Valley Road and McKeon Drive in Canyon Country. Call (661) 255-4393. Karaoke night, 6:30-9:30 at Vincenzo’s, 24504 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6733. SATURDAY Christmas stories and craft, 10 a.m. at Barnes & Noble, 23630 Valencia Blvd., Valencia. Call (661) 254-6604. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for a morning run, 7 o’clock in the parking lot at Starbucks, 26415 Bouquet Canyon Road, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org. Free wellness workshop will present research about stubborn weight, fatigue and hormone imbalance, 10-11:30 a.m. at the office of Dr. Larry Cart, 24868 Apple St., Suite 101, Newhall. Call (661) 284-6233. Saugus train station will be open, 1-4 p.m. at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Ave. Call (661) 254-1275. Animal show, 1 p.m. at Placerita Canyon Nature Center, 19152 Placerita Canyon Road, Newhall. Free. Call (661) 259-7721. Karaoke night, 8 o’clock at VFW Post 6885, 16208 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-6885. Special Olympics offers athletic training and competition for athletes with learning disabilities throughout the day at various locations in Santa Clarita. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. SUNDAY Adopt-A-Pet event will feature dogs and cats available for adoption, 11 a.m.-3 p.m. at Petco, 26501 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call the Castaic Animal Shelter at (661) 257-3191. Santa Clarita Runners Club will meet for marathon training, 6:30 a.m. in the parking lot at Granary Square, 25930 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org. Bingo will be played, 10:30 a.m. at Mint Canyon Moose Lodge, 18000 W. Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 252-7222. Saugus train station will be open, 1-4 p.m. at Heritage Junction in William S. Hart Park, 24151 Newhall Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 254-1275. Music jam session, 2 p.m. at Veterans of Foreign Wars Post 6885, 16208 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Local musicians welcome. Call (661) 252-6885. MONDAY Santa Clarita Emblem Club will meet, 6:45 p.m. at the Elks Lodge, 17766 Sierra Highway, Canyon Country. Call (661) 251-1500. Special Olympics offers golf lessons to athletes with learning disabilities, evenings at Vista Valencia Golf Course, 24700 W. Trevino Drive, Valencia. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. TUESDAY Grand opening, 5:30-7:30 p.m. at Eat-A-Pita, 23360 W. Valencia Blvd., No. L, Valencia. Call Sandy Fairbrother at (661) 510-0708 to R.S.V.P. Nonaerobic workout in a heated pool for joint and muscle conditioning, 10:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 253-3593. Santa Clarita Runners Club will work out, 6:15 p.m. at the College of the Canyons track, 26455 N. Rockwell Road, Valencia. Call (661) 294-0821 or visit www.scrunners.org. Sierra Hillbillies Square Dance Club will offer an intermediate class, 7-9 p.m. in rooms A1 and 2 at the SCV Senior Center, 22900 Market St., Newhall. Call (661) 252-2210 or (661) 255-0463. Barbershop Harmony Singers will rehearse, 7:30-10 p.m. in the multipurpose room at Valley Oaks Village Apartments, 24700 Valley St., Newhall. Call (661) 259-6109 for security-door information. WEDNESDAY Santa Clarita Sunrise Rotary Club will meet, 7:10 a.m. at IHOP, 24737 W. Pico Canyon Road, Stevenson Ranch. Call (661) 250-1023. Santa Clarita Valley Rotary Club will meet, 12:10 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Call (661) 259-7701. Santa Clarita Valley-Newhall Optimist Club will meet, 7 p.m. at La Rumba, 27600 Bouquet Canyon Road, Saugus. Call (661) 252-7313. Toastmasters will meet, 7 p.m. at the Sierra Hills clubhouse, 28616 Kenroy Ave., Canyon Country. Call Desiree Nascimento at (800) 858-4749, Ext. 114. Valencia Toastmasters will meet, 7 p.m. Call Kim Dickens at (661) 259-8567 or visit www.valenciatoastmasters.org for location. Basic & Advanced Coastal Navigation class, 7-9 p.m. at Our Lady of Perpetual Help School, 23233 Lyons Ave., Newhall. Call (661) 298-8725 or (661) 259-7201. SCV Underwater Hockey group will play, 8-9 p.m. at the Santa Clarita Aquatics Center, 20850 Centre Pointe Parkway, Canyon Country. Cost: $3. Call Ben Jarvis at (661) 510-2665. Special Olympics offers athletic training and competition for athletes with learning disabilities during the evenings at various locations in Santa Clarita. New athletes or volunteer coaches can call (661) 253-2121. To submit an event for the Daily News calendar, contact Sharon Cotal two weeks prior to the event at (661) 257-5256, fax her at (661) 257-5262, e-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org or write to her at 24800 Avenue Rockefeller, Valencia, CA 91355. 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! TODAY Santa Clarita Corvette Club will meet, 7:30 p.m. at Marie Callender’s, 27630 The Old Road, Valencia. Call (661) 259-4675. Nonaerobic workout in a heated pool for joint and muscle conditioning, 10:30 a.m. at the Santa Clarita Valley Family YMCA, 26147 McBean Parkway, Valencia. Call (661) 253-3593. Santa Clarita Noon Kiwanis Club will meet, noon-1:30 p.m. at El Torito, 27510 The Old Road, Valencia. Call Janie Choate at (661) 296-8260. Youth Chess Club will meet, 5:30-8 p.m. at 25864-G Tournament Road, Valencia. Call Jay Stallings at (661) 288-1705.