CCC girls look to rise to MMC challenge

Sjansen@mercedsunstar.comJanuary 3, 2013 

Conference bragging rights will be on the line on Saturday as the Central California Conference girls basketball teams square off with the Modesto Metro Conference teams.

There will be six games scheduled with Golden Valley being used as this year's site.

The matchups are determined by last year's standings with Gregori not participating.

The games begin at 11 a.m. with Downey facing Golden Valley. Other local matchups include: Atwater against Johansen at 12:30 p.m., Merced vs. Modesto at 3:30 p.m. and Buhach Colony against Beyer at 5 p.m.

"I like it a lot," Bears coach Brad Reed said. "It kind of started when (Merced assistant coach) Chris Tufts was at Golden Valley.

"We would host a couple of teams and he would host a couple of teams. I know Pitman did as well. It kind of went from there. It's like seeing the ACC-Big 10 challenge in college."

This is the third year the six teams from the CCC have played six teams from the MMC. The two conferences split the games 3-3 last year at Johansen. The CCC held a 4-2 edge two seasons ago at Turlock.

There's an added bonus for coaches with all their league opponents playing in the same building on the same day. It's an opportunity to scout their conference foes one last time before league play begins next week.

"I'm sure everyone will be there with their video cameras," Reed said. "Everyone will get to take a look at all the teams."

It's going to be a busy weekend for wrestling teams like Merced and Los Banos.

The Bears and Tigers are going to split their teams, sending some of their wrestlers to the prestigious Doc Buchanan Invitational today and Saturday in Clovis and the rest of the team to the Bulldog Classic in Turlock.

Merced will be represented by Xavier Alva (132 pounds) and Isaiah Alva (138) at the Doc Buchanan.

The Bears will only send six wrestlers to Turlock on on Saturday because of some injuries.

Merced will see plenty of familiar faces at the Bulldog Classic with Livingston, Buhach Colony and Los Banos all competing at the tournament.

Golden Valley and Dos Palos are both competing at the Dinuba Invitational today and Saturday.

There may not be a hotter player in the Central California Conference than Josh Sykes.

The Golden Valley center has been on a tear in recent weeks, including his first career triple-double in last week's victory over Gregori. The junior center scored 21 points, grabbed 17 rebounds and blocked 10 shots.

He's been almost a guaranteed double-double every night.

If you enjoy dunks, there might not be a more exciting player to watch in the area.

Sykes is throwing down three or four dunks per game. He's dunking so much there should be someone in the Golden Valley student section keeping track.

The Cougars should steal a page from the San Francisco Giants' splash hit counter that records every home run the Giants hit into McCovey Cove.

There should be a Sykes Dunk-O-Meter set up before CCC play begins next week.

Shawn Jansen is a Merced Sun-Star sports reporter. He can be reached at 385-2462 or via e-mail at sjansen@mercedsunstar.com.

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