Optimist Tournament
Arroyo Grande High School point guard Michael Escobedo, right, crosses over against Santa Maria during Thursday night’s Optimist Tournament at Dr. Arthur James Gym in Arroyo Grande. Arroyo Grande went on to an 85-48 victory. Bryan Walton/Staff

Arroyo Grande boys basketball players Derick Beasley and Michael Escobedo couldn’t help but get a little flashy Thursday night.

Emphatically Beasley threw down a dunk in the second quarter.

Smoothly Escobedo tossed a no-look pass for a layup in the third quarter.

Convincingly Arroyo Grande beat Santa Maria 85-48, having a lot of fun in its opening round game at the Arroyo Grande Optimist Tournament.

Beasley did the inside work, scoring 15 points, while Escobedo ran the show, netting 19.

Escobedo came out ready.

Layup. Steal. Layup, plus the foul.

Escobedo got ’em started early in a tournament that features a few locals and some elite out-of-towners.

There were also a few no-look passes.

“He’s known for that,” Beasley said. “That’s expected every game. Mike’s good for that stuff.”

And the dunk from Escobedo’s 6-foot, 5-inch teammate?

“The crowd seemed to like it a little bit,” said Escobedo, a wry smile creasing his face.

The action continues today at 3:30 p.m. and runs to 8 p.m., when AG faces Edison.

“We’re hoping to get better at the defensive end and to build some chemistry on offense,” AG coach Ryan Glanville said.

The Eagles were plenty good on defense Thursday. Even considering the 31 points from a certain Saint.

There was no defense that could stop Santa Maria’s Angel Pacheco from dropping 31. He sunk seven 3-pointers from a number of lengths on the court.

“We were waiting for his breakout game,” Santa Maria coach Eddie Gutierrez said. “That young man has a very nice stroke. He’s not afraid to put it up.”

Pacheco, who was on the JV team last year, wasn’t shy with his shot — there was a reason for that.

“We actually gave him the green light tonight,” Gutierrez said of his sharpshooter.

Other than Pacheco, however, the Saints — already missing three starters — struggled against a bigger Eagles’ squad, led by bigs Beasley, Garrett Weinreich and Kelly Shepard.

The Eagles led 27-8 after the first quarter and never looked back, punctuating the first half with Beasley’s dunk as halftime neared.

AG took top honors at the recent Harding Invitational (HIT). Escobedo was named the MVP, with Beasley garnering first-team recognition.

Kleinsmith saw his first action of the season on Thursday — a football injury, of which he’s been nursing in the early season, did nothing to keep him from diving to the floor.

The Eagles are loaded with star football players. Kleinsmith was last year’s QB when Clark Goossen went down. Matt McAustin was this year’s QB when Goossen went down. McAustin is also on Glanville’s roster, along with running back Christian Crichton and Shepard.

In other scores, Thousand Oaks flexed its muscle vs. Golden West 105-36, Edison bested Santa Barbara 55-52 and Atascadero took off from Cabrillo in the fourth quarter 71-63.

The tournament has its share of elite teams.

Split among the two pools are Edison High and Thousand Oaks — both are two of the better teams in the Central and Southern sections, respectively.

Edison of Fresno was last year’s CIF Central Section Division-I champion. The Tigers are led by senior forward Steven McCllelan, younger brother of Darshawn who is currently playing for Vanderbilt. Sophomore center Robert Upshawk is, according to one high school Web site, a top west coast center of the 2012 class.

Edison is priming itself on the Central Coast. After competing in the Optimist, the Tigers will take part in the Mission Prep Christmas Classic.

Depending on how the teams fare in the tournament, Edison and Thousands Oaks could face-off for the title on Saturday.

The Lancers are as good as they come. They went 30-3 last season and are ranked 28th in the state, according to Calpreps.com. Six-foot-seven senior power forward Alex Tiffin leads the way for this Marmonte League power.

Joining Thousand Oaks in “Pool A” are Golden West, Cabrillo and Atascadero.

Golden West of Visalia plays in the West Yosemite League out of the Central Division. The Blazers went 12-14 last season.

Locals have seen Cabrillo get off to a hot start. The Conqs entered the tournament 5-1, having taken third in the Nordhoff Tournament. The Conqs are led by T.C. Webb and David Terrones, returning guards.

Atascadero defeated Cabrillo on Thursday. The Greyhounds continued their strong tourney play following a 3-1 showing at the Harding Invitational in Morro Bay, where they took third.

Santa Barbara rounds out the Optimist participants. The Dons, coached by Chris Hantgin out of the Channel League (13-11 last season) get their first real rush of games at the Optimist, having played two games so far.

Boys Soccer

Arroyo Grande 6, Morro Bay 1

Arroyo Grande’s Morgan Wack had a hat-trick in the  first 15 minutes and added a fourth in the second half to lead the Eagles (5-4) to a win over the Pirates.

The Eagles tallied 19 shots, 12 of which were on frame. Andres Pille knocked in two goals three minutes apart in the second half.

Santa Maria 4, Nipomo 1

Ricardo Ayala had two goals and the Saints (3-1) went on to defeat the Titans at a soggy Titan Stadium.

Nestor Alvarez and Wilmer Vargas each scored a goal in the win.

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