High school basketball

High school hoopsters gather in Loomis for Common Good

Nine great hoops games over two days
By: Kurt Johnson, senior sports editor
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An ambitious project begun one year ago by Brad Swope is back for a new and improved second run this weekend when the Common Good Classic returns to Del Oro High School in Loomis. Swope, who participated as a referee for many years at Sacramento’s annual Martin Luther King, Jr. holiday basketball bash known as Hoops for the Homeless, decided to duplicate that event here north of Sacramento last year. The inaugural tourney raised more than $17,000 with seven games on one day. The Common Good Classic is attached to Swope’s Roseville-based nonprofit An Organization for the Common Good and the funds raised go to provide for the needs of the less fortunate in this community. His goal is to raise more than $20,000 this year. “This is a great way to support both local high school athletes in a great basketball event, but also support a cause that is important to all of us,” Swope said. “We are excited about this year’s expanded event that we are able to put on with help from these schools and our sponsors, Kaiser and SureWest.” This year’s tournament has been expanded to cover two days and now includes a total of nine games. All seven boys basketball teams from the Sierra Foothill League will participate, as will the girls team from Del Oro and the men’s team at William Jessup University. Last year’s earnings went largely to build a play and shade structure for Homestart and this year’s proceeds are expected to be make up the entire budget for the non-profit organizer. Plans are to use the funds raised to fund a transitional house for former foster youth. “Studies show that kids who get out of foster homes are either incarcerated or homeless within two years,” Swope said. “Helping them make that transition is the focus of our organization.” The event features eight of the top 20 teams in the section and features some outstanding matchups. The initial contest will pit Roseville (9-7) against Bear River (11-5) of the Pioneer Valley League. This figures to be an exciting confrontation between the Tigers’ outstanding big man, Kevin Crabb, and the Bruins’ big scorer, Patrick Scott. Friday’s second high school contest is a classic duel between powerhouse programs Granite Bay (13-3) and Yuba City (11-3). The Honkers come at opponents with four double-figure scorers while the Grizzlies perimeter-oriented attack is led by guards Jake Riffice, Erick Riffice and Ryan Mottsenbocker. Nevada Union (11-4) and Bella Vista (13-3) tips things off late Saturday morning as the Miners’ Mark Kendall gets together with one of the area’s best teams. Oakmont (5-9) and Colfax (9-6) will follow, as the Vikings’ Tony Gill will finally have his full complement of teammates on hand as he goes to battle with Ethan Guiles and the Falcons. Two athletic and talented squads round out the afternoon schedule as 14-2 Woodcreek squares off with 7-7 Natomas. The Nighthawks are very long and like to run, while Woodcreek is much more guard-driven these days since the loss of their power forward to injury. The Timberwolves Nick Alongi, Nik Milani, Ryan Milat and Mike Kurtz will have their hands full with Natomas. The evening session kicks off with the once-beaten Del Oro girls team playing a very strong El Camino team. The Lady Eagles knocked El Camino out of the playoffs one year ago and both teams are back strong this year. The Del Oro boys (9-4) get a chance for revenge against the El Camino team (6-10) that knocked it out of the section playoffs last year on its way to a section title. El Camino is very talented, but rebuilding after losing a large portion of last year’s group to graduation. The nightcap features two of the state’s most outstanding athletes as Rocklin (15-2) center Brendan Lane and Mission of San Francisco (6-8) guard Demaree Hampton to head to head. While Mission’s record is not too impressive, it is impacted by a rough schedule and the team is one of the best in the San Francisco section. Ticket prices for the event are $10 for adults and $5 for seniors and students. Kids 12-and-under are admitted free. Common Good Classic Friday, Jan. 16 and Saturday, Jan. 17 Del Oro High School, Loomis Friday night schedule: 5:30 p.m. Roseville vs. Bear River 7 p.m. Granite Bay vs. Yuba City 8:30 p.m. William Jessup University vs. Dominican University Saturday schedule: 11:30 a.m. Nevada Union vs. Bella Vista 1 p.m. Oakmont vs. Colfax 2:30 p.m. Woodcreek vs. Natomas 4:30 p.m. Del Oro vs. El Camino (girls) 6 p.m. Del Oro vs. El Camino 7:30 p.m. Rocklin vs. Mission High (San Francisco)