Four teams in The Bee's Top 20 and three in the Los Angeles Times' Top 25 will play in the 16-team St. Hope Elite Hoop Classic boys tournament today through Saturday at Sacramento High School.
No. 2 Pleasant Grove, No. 4 Sac High, No. 7 Grant and No. 19 Kennedy join area teams Foothill and Ponderosa in the five-day tournament.
Inglewood, Dorsey of Los Angeles, Eisenhower of Rialto, Cleveland of Reseda, West Ranch of Santa Clarita and Chaminade of West Hills are the Southern California teams that will compete.
West Ranch, Chaminade and Inglewood are ranked ninth through 11th by the Los Angeles Times.
Oakland and Fremont of Oakland and Foothill of Palo Cedro and Chico round out the field for the second-year event that featured 12 teams last year. Sac High beat Bakersfield 57-44 for the inaugural championship.
"It's a monster tournament," said Sac High coach Derek Swafford. "This is what we wanted to bring some of the big boys to Sacramento to play."
Swafford, whose Dragons play Ponderosa in the opening round tonight at 8:30, admits it will be a challenge for his team to repeat.
De'Von Boyd, Sac High's top senior who signed with Chaminade of Hawaii last month, injured his knee in a practice but still scored 34 points in a 97-96 double-overtime loss to Deer Valley of Antioch in the Nov. 24 NorCal Tip-Off Classic in Newark. Boyd, a 6-foot-1 guard, is scheduled to have surgery Wednesday and will miss the rest of the season.
"He played for a week and a half on a torn meniscus before we found out," Swafford said. "He's signed and has his scholarship, so everyone's happy. But this was going to be his breakout season."
Swafford still has seniors Joseph Barnes, James Hadnot and Aaron Cameron and 6-6 freshman standout Devin Young, the team's scoring leader.
Pleasant Grove, considered the top challenger to No. 1 Sheldon in the Delta River League, is 5-0. The Eagles are led by seniors Malik Thames, Cole Nordquist and Matthew Hayes.
Moving up Colfax (9-2) climbed into this week's rankings at No. 15 after beating Chico 68-65 in overtime Saturday to win the Les Curry Invitational at Davis High School.
Chico suffered its first loss in 10 games after beating No. 6 Bella Vista, No. 9 Granite Bay, No. 10 Franklin and No. 14 Oak Ridge.
Colfax senior Will Buell, who had 21 points and 13 rebounds in the title game, was named the tournament MVP. Colfax also beat host Davis and Christian Brothers, with Buell scoring 31 and 18 points, respectively.
Colfax's only losses have been to Amador Valley of Pleasanton 65-58 in the Gold Dust tournament on Dec. 1 and to Palma of Salinas, with UCLA-bound Noah Allen, 71-24 in the Pacific Grove Classic on Dec. 7.
Road warriors Top-ranked Sheldon has three major college signees and several other top players, but area fans must wait until league play begins in January to see them.
Sheldon had only one official home game this month, a highly entertaining 71-65 loss to NorCal No. 1 Archbishop Mitty of San Jose on Dec. 8 in which four key Huskies were out with injuries and another was waiting to become eligible.
During the next three weeks, Sheldon is playing in tournaments in Las Vegas, San Diego and New Orleans.
Sheldon coach Joey Rollings isn't opposed to hosting a high-caliber tournament if it is cost-effective.
"It's hard to get top competition because the top teams want everything for free," Rollings said. "They want you to pay for their hotels and tournament fees. So it's easier for us to go where the competition is."