The 77th annual Kendall Arnett Tournament tips off Thursday at Placer High School with plenty of exciting competition on this year’s card.
The tournament, named after the Placer Hall of Fame football and baseball coach, has gone on since the early 1940s, and this year’s field will include eight of Northern California’s best boys hoops programs inside Earl Crabbe Gym.
Host Placer comes in at 9-6, having won eight of its last 10 games. Sophomore big Max Petrenko has led the way for the Hillmen along with fellow post player Konner Baroni. The Hillmen beat Del Oro 61-46 on Dec. 4 with a balanced scoring attack.
Last season, Del Oro defeated Del Campo, Foothill of Palo Cedro and Placer over the three-day tournament to claim the 76th version of the Arnett Tourney. The Golden Eagles are back this year to defend their Arnett championship, opening up Thursday with Del Campo at 5 p.m.
In last weekend’s host tournament, Del Oro (5-7) took two of three in the Mike Takayama Memorial against three Arnett entrants. Last Thursday, the Golden Eagles beat Oakmont 54-51 before losing to Nevada Union, 58-47, Friday. Del Oro responded with a Saturday win over Foothill of Palo Cedro, 56-54.
Placer’s new Foothill Valley League opponent, Oakmont, is 7-6 and has already surpassed its four-win total from a year ago. The Vikings began the month of December going 6-2 before losing three straight in the Tako Tourney last weekend.
Despite a 6-9 record in 2018, Nevada Union had a strong showing against Del Oro last Friday in the Tako Memorial. An uptempo pace and hot outside shooting took down the Golden Eagles Friday night. The Miners lost to Del Campo 59-30 on Nov. 29.
Del Campo, meanwhile, enters at 6-5, fresh off a 74-56 loss to Rocklin, the top-ranked Sac-Joaquin Section team, at Golden 1 Center Saturday. The Cougars lost to Rio Americano in the championship game of the the Raiders’ host Jack Scott Tournament on Dec. 1.
The Raiders (10-2) are a Top-10 team in the Northern region of the Sac-Joaquin Section, having lost to only Elk Grove and Jesuit. Rio opens the Kendall Tourney Thursday at 3:30 p.m. against Foothill of Palo Cedro (10-4), who are the third-ranked team in the Northern Section. The Cougars are led by senior Josiah Hutt’s 19.9 points per game.
Union Mine is 8-7 in 2018 and coming off a 55-point win over San Juan Dec. 18. The Diamondbacks lost to Placer last year in the opening round of the Sac-Joaquin Section’s Division IV playoffs.
Thursday’s opening round games include Foothill playing Rio Americano at 3:30 p.m., Del Oro vs. Del Campo at 5, Nevada Union against Union Mine at 6:30 and finishing up with Placer taking on Oakmont at 8 p.m.
The Arnett Tourney will be the final non-league tune-up for all eight teams before their respective conferences get underway next week.