The third edition of the Los Banos/Pacheco girls basketball tournament will descend on both high schools next Thursday, with eight teams bringing both varsity and junior-varsity squads.
The bracket is divided this year into two four-team brackets, with Los Banos hosting the tougher four (LB, Chowchilla, Modesto and Whitney) and Pacheco the other four (Pacheco, Delhi, Le Grand and Turlock). The winners of each four-team group will meet in the tournament champion.
Los Banos coach Danny Crosby said they tournament was set up that way to give teams a chance to compete with schools around the same size and skill level in the first rounds of the bracket.
Modesto Christian won the tournament last year, but went a different direction this year, leaving the tournament open for a new champion. The Crusaders defeated Los Banos 67-14 in the championship last year. In 2011, McNair defeated Modesto Christian 67-58 for the tournament title, and later went on to win a Sac-Joaquin Section Division 2 title.
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“We’re definitely looking for experience. We’re looking to get games in,” Crosby said. “We’re a little behind with the girls being in the playoffs in various other sports. We had a scrimmage in Madera yesterday, and it looks like we still have some stuff to learn. We’re definitely looking for an experience to get ready for league play and our other tournaments coming up.”
Crosby said the possibility was there for Pacheco and Los Banos to meet in the championship or consolation, which is something that can be hard to avoid sometimes.
“Mike (Perkins, Pacheco’s coach) is excited about the teams on his side of the bracket. It gives him an opportunity, as we do, to be in that championship,” Crosby said. “We’re trying to decide if that’s a game we want to play, being as we play each other twice in league. Delhi and Le Grand are in the same league. We tried to fix the brackets so they don’t play each other, but you never know.
“We had to put them down in the same bracket, knowing they might play each other, but if we put them in this other bracket and you lose by 30 points to these bigger schools, what does that do for your kids’ confidence?”