The top-ranked Capital Christian boys basketball team beat No. 2 Sacramento 78-75to win the 60th annual Gridley Invitational on Saturday night.
The area’s top two teams could meet for the third time this season Saturday in the St. Hope Elite Classic at Sacramento High.
The five-day event, which begins Tuesday, features 12 teams, including defending CIF State Division I champion and No. 6 Pleasant Grove, No. 15 Kennedy, No. 19 Christian Brothers and three Southern California powers.
Centennial of Corona (5-1) is led by Long Beach State signee Deontae North and four-star junior guard Sedrick Barefield.
Also in the field are two returning teams from last year’s event, West Ranch of Valencia and Eisenhower of Rialto.
West Ranch was 21-7 last season and reached the Southern Section Division IAA quarterfinals. Eisenhower won the CIF State Division II championship in 2009, beating Rocklin 73-61 at Sleep Train Arena.
It’s all part of Sacramento coach Derek Swafford’s vision to build a nationally recognized area boys tournament.
“We’ve already got a commitment for 16 teams next year, and we’d like to grow this to 32 teams,” Swafford said. “We just want people to be able to watch some high-caliber basketball here in town similar to some of those (tournaments) in Southern California and in Gridley.”
Capital Christian and Sacramento beat a field featuring Bay Area private and public school powers to reach the final of the eight-team Gridley event, one of Northern California’s premier tournaments.
In the down-to-the-wire finale, tournament MVP Tyler Jennings, a senior point guard at Capital Christian, had 21 points and three assists. All-tournament selection and Michigan signee D.J. Wilson had 16 points, 13 rebounds and three blocks, and Justice Mosely had 14 points, four rebounds and two steals as the Cougars improved to 6-0.
All-tournament selection Solomon Young, a sophomore center, led Sac High with 20 points, six rebounds, five blocks and two steals. Stephen Matthews had 12 points and five rebounds and all-tournament guard Christian Terrell nine points and eight assists.
Capital Christian also beat the Dragons 73-60 in a foundation game on Dec. 2.
The Dragons, with only three upperclassmen, hope to repeat last year’s St. Hope Elite championship performance. Sac High beat Ponderosa 68-45, Pleasant Grove 67-60, West Ranch 68-67 and Chaminade of West Hills 70-68 on Terrell’s three-point buzzer beater to win its tournament.
The tournament won’t be just about basketball, Swafford said. Players and coaches will tour the Capitol, visit with patients at Shriners Hospital for Children and talk with area entrepreneurs.
Call The Bee’s Bill Paterson, (916) 326-5506.