This week will mark the final regular-season boys basketball games at Merced and Atwater high school. New gymnasiums are being built at each campus.
Having wrapped up a share of the Central California Conference championship, Merced has a chance of hosting a playoff game. The Bears are No. 11 in Division II in the Sac-Joaquin Section rankings on MaxPreps.com.
The Bears will host Turlock on Wednesday in their final home game.
Atwater will play host to Golden Valley on Wednesday and fittingly will close out its run at the Nest against Merced on Friday night.
Atwater is planning a ceremony before the final home game against Merced, which will include nine of the 13 Falcons boys varsity basketball coaches on hand.
“It’s going to be an emotional day for me,” said Atwater coach Jason Boesch, who graduated from Atwater in 1991. “My dad lived there before the gym was built. I went to the high school and played. Thinking of all the coaches and players who came before me. It’s going to be an emotional night. It should be exciting.”
There will be at least one coach from the 1960s (Joe Monachello), 1970s (Syl Braa), 1980s (Bob Schanze), 1990s (Gary Parreira and Brett Tate), 2000s (John Kane) and Boesch.
“I remember a lot of big wins in that place,” said Kane, who graduated from Atwater in 1987 and spent 13 years on the Falcons’ bench. “We didn’t always finish extremely well in the standings, but it always seemed like we had some big upsets and big wins.”
It’s only fitting the Falcons’ final home game will be against their longtime rival, Merced.
“It’s the way it should be,” Kane said. “We’ve had some battles through the years.”
According to Kane, during his senior year, the game against Merced in Atwater was sold out, and they were able to set up a live feed so people could watch the game on TV in the exercise room.
“People were scalping tickets for that game,” Kane said. “My buddy scalped his tickets for $100.”
The ceremony will follow the junior varsity game. The varsity game is scheduled to start at 7:15 p.m.
CCC Wrestling Tournament – The individual postseason for wrestlers begins this week. The Central California Conference Tournament will be held Thursday at Turlock High. The first round begins at 9 a.m.
The ultimate goal is to advance to the CIF State Championships, which will be held March 3-4 at Rabobank Arena in Bakersfield.
The first step on the ladder to the state tournament is league. The top four finishers in each division will advance to the Division I-AA Tournament on Feb. 17-18 at Pitman, where wrestlers from the CCC will square off against wrestlers from the Sierra Foothill League and Tri-County Athletic League for a berth to the Sac-Joaquin Section Masters Tournament on Feb. 24-25 at Stockton Arena.
Merced Hall of Fame Dinner tickets – Merced High is hosting its 2017 Hall of Fame Dinner on March 25 at the Yosemite Hall at the Merced County Fairgrounds.
Seventeen former athletes, coaches and community members will be inducted along with the 1993 state championship track team. Inductees include Fran Oneto (baseball), Anthony Volsan (football), Mike Girardi (basketball), Mark Bauer (baseball) and Greg McKinstry (track).
Tickets are $50 and can be purchased at the student body office or online at brownpapertickets.