BARSTOW -Nothing says wrestling like a dank, dark and crowded gymnasium.

Barstow wrestling coach Adam Hopkins intends to keep it that way. Hopkins took over as the Aztecs coach for Jose Rubio in early December. He has plenty of plans to help improve the wrestling program, but moving the team out of the boys gym at Barstow High School for home meets is not one of them.

Rubio has avoided moving meets into the new Don Bilsborough Gymnasium since it opened in 2005, opting for the more intimate setting of the boys gym instead. The wrestling team brings in special lighting for meets and wouldn't be able to do that in the new gym. Rubio said he also likes the feel of people packed into the old gym versus people spreaded out in the larger new gym.

Hopkins said he is fine with continuing to use the old gym for Barstow's unique home-field advantage, however he will consider using the new gym for tournaments to show off Barstow's facilities.

"I want to make this the hardest place to wrestle," Hopkins said.

The old boys gym was built along with the main hall of the high school in the 1930s. The gym is far from brand new or state of the art. Rain leaked into the gym during Barstow's season-opening Aztecs Tournament.

Improving Dado

Stefanie Dado stands at about 5-foot-4-inches tall. That didn't stop her from making a big time block early in the second half of Tuesday's game against Burroughs High School.

Holding on to a five-point lead after halftime, Dado said she aimed to improve her play during the second half. The Burros attempted a long jump shot from the left side of the court on their first possession of the half. Dado jumped into the air and swatted the ball into the stands.

"I wanted to come out with more intensity," Dado said. "The first half I didn't feel like I was playing to the best of my ability."

The play earned Dado plenty of cheers from the home crowd and helped begin the Aztecs 14-4 run in a 54-41 win.

Derrick Delton saw the block as another positive sign from his blossoming sophomore guard.

"She was awesome," Delton said. "She's stepped up as a leader on and off the court. She keeps the team's moral up. She keeps them organized. She makes my job a lot easier."

Dado leads the team in assists, averaging 3.7 per game. She also chips in 6.2 points per game and 4.3 steals per game.

She entered the season with the goal of cutting down turnovers. Delton said she's excelled at that and more.

"I thank my team for that," Dado said. "Without them I really wouldn't be able to step up. I try to help them and then try to improve myself."

Corvette Trick

Hats from fans shower the ice when a player scores a hat-trick in hockey.
However, Philip Peralta, sophomore soccer forward, has managed to swing a even better deal
than taking fans old headgear.

"If I score a hat trick, I get to drive the JV coach's Corvette," Peralta said. "He'll let me take it out on the town."

Joe Alston, Barstow's JV coach, agreed to lone out his Corvette if Peralta can hit the three-goal mark.

Peralta, who leads the Aztecs with five goals, almost achieved the feat in the Aztecs league opener against Granite Hills. Peralta scored two goals on six shots against the Cougars.

Although the Aztecs began dropping more players back on defense after going up 3-0, Peralta began touting that he would be going for it in the final minutes. He wasn't able to generate anymore solid scoring opportunities.

"I still have all season so I'll try to do it," Peralta said.

Beautiful Day

Teams from Silver Valley and Barstow combined for a 5-1 record on Tuesday. The Barstow boys basketball team were the lone losers with a 66-46 loss at Burroughs. Overall, the six Barstow area teams outscored their opponents 223-147.