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Difference-makers: With seven CIF titles and two state title wins, Ed Torres' run of success is hard to match
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Difference-makers: With seven CIF titles and two state title wins, Ed Torres' run of success is hard to match

Few coaches on the Central Coast can match the run of success Ed Torres has had.

Over two coaching stints with the St. Joseph girls basketball team, Torres led the Knights to two state championships, three state title games and a CIF Southern Section divisional championship.

The Knights lost in the divisional state championship game in 1990. Torres guided the Knights to a state championship in 1991.

With the team struggling, there was a sudden coaching change in December during the 2018-19 season, and Analise Riezebos, a former St. Joseph player, replaced Torres as coach.

Torres became an assistant coach for the Orcutt Academy girls basketball team before last season. The Spartans won the Ocean League championship and made it to the Central Section Division 4 semifinals.

Before his second coaching stint with the St. Joseph girls, Torres had a successful run with the St. Joseph boys, guiding the Knights to two sectional divisional championships. He coached the Knights for 27 combined seasons in both boys and girls basketball and won a total of seven CIF Southern Section championships (five in girls and two in boys) and two CIF state titles in girls basketball.

Torres could be quite animated on the sidelines as a head coach, and he wasn’t shy about letting players know when he was displeased.

“What’s the score?,” he said to a player on his boys team during a timeout after the player, alone at the basket, had missed an ill-advised dunk try.

“Are we up by 30?”

The player hurriedly shook his head no. The Knights ultimately lost the sizable lead they had, and the game.

Torres was often not easy on officials during his successful runs as a head coach.

However, he never blamed the officiating for a loss.

And, while he could be hard on his players, Torres gave them the credit for wins, including the biggest ones.

After Kelsie English and Brianna Bognuda each hit a big 3-point shot as the Knights beat Oakland Bishop O’Dowd for the Division 3 state title, Torres said, “Those 3’s were huge. We struggled to get even with Bishop O’Dowd. Those 3’s gave us renewed confidence and we picked it up another notch from there.”

Freshman Kaitlyn Flowers gave the Knights a big lift after replacing sophomore Tatiana Dunlap after Dunlap had to leave the game because of a leg injury.

The 5-foot-6 Flowers, going against the tall O’Dowd front line for 28 minutes, pulled down a team high eight rebounds.

“I would never have thought our freshman guard would come in at forward and be our top rebounder,” Torres said afterward.

“Her defense down low was just awesome. She has grown by leaps and bounds this year.”

Actually, after the game, Torres also praised the St. Joseph fan base for its support.

“We can’t thank them enough,” said Torres. “The crowd, the community, parents, coaches - we really appreciate the support.”

Torres didn’t exactly come into his second St. Joseph girls head coaching stint under ideal circumstances. Ron Barba’s contract was not renewed after Barba took the Knights to a 2009 CIF-SS divisional title.

Yet, Torres thrived. The Knights won another sectional divisional title in 2010. In the regional final the next year, the Knights avenged a sectional divisional title game loss to Gardena Serra and beat O’Dowd for the Division 3 state championship.

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Sports Reporter

Kenny Cress, sportswriter for the Santa Maria Times since September of 2000. BA in political science from Cal Poly Pomona. BA in journalism from Cal State Northridge.

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