COACH ‘G’ MEMORIAL TOURNAMENT: Camillucci recalls Linarez’s positive ways

Lady Hillmen host Folsom tonight; Del Oro girls also holding tournament
By: Matthew Kimel, Journal sports editor
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Tony Camillucci recalls a ton of fond memories of Geno Linarez.
Camillucci, the Placer High girls basketball coach, especially remembers Linarez’s smile and his uplifting energy.
“He was always positive,” said Camillucci, whose basketball team will take part in the second annual, three-day Coach “G” Memorial Tournament, which tips off today at Earl Crabbe Gym. “He always said to the girls, ‘Get yours. Go out there and get yours,’ no matter who was in the game. He was the epitome of positivity. Nothing got him down.”
Linarez, who worked for the City of Auburn and the Auburn Recreation District and was also an assistant girls basketball and softball coach at Placer, lost his battle with cancer in 2011. He was 56. 
Coach “G” lived across the street from Placer High and served as director of basketball operations for years. And he was always ready to lend a helping hand. 
“If anybody ever needed anything, they’d call him and he’d be there in a second,” Camillucci said. “He was a great guy.” 
According to Camillucci, one could never tell if Linarez’s squad lost because of his optimistic ways.
“If his team lost by 30, after talking to him you’d think they won,” Camillucci said. “He always had the right perspective.”
His outlook apparently had enough of an influence on the girls he coached that they wanted to dedicate a tournament in his memory.
“It was probably a couple of players that said we should name the tournament after him,” Camillucci said of the Coach “G” Memorial. “He cried. It was an extremely touching moment. I’m almost sure it was one of the girls — they loved him so much. They wanted a way to make sure he was remembered forever.”
The Lady Hillmen (8-1) will take the court tonight at 8 against Folsom (2-4) in the nightcap of the first round of the tournament. 
Of Folsom, Camillucci said, “They’re good. They’re building a program. It’s not like a sacrificial lamb like some hosts do. Sometimes you try to get a team you know you can beat. This team is going to be competitive.”
The winner of the Placer-Folsom contest will take on either Foresthill (3-3) or Rio Americano (6-2) on Friday at 8 p.m. The Foresthill-Rio Americano game starts at 3:30 p.m. today.
In the other bracket openers, Rocklin (3-2) faces Bear River (8-0) at 6:30 p.m. and Del Campo (1-4) squares off against Foothill of Palo Cedro (3-3) at 5 p.m.
The championship game, which was won by Rio Americano last year, takes place Saturday at 5:30 p.m.
Obviously, Placer would like to win three games this weekend. 
“We’d love to win the tournament, getting to the finals would be the next best thing,” Camillucci said. “Hopefully we play good teams, but it’s better to play them in the championship.”
Lady Eagle Invitational at Del Oro
 A second foothill tournament also gets under way today in Loomis, as Del Oro will be hosting its Lady Eagle Invitational. 
Seven returning teams and newcomer Bishop Manogue of Reno will throw their hats into the ring.
 “I like our tournament field this year,” said Del Oro coach Mike Takayama. “We have some good matchups.” 
Del Oro, which has already captured tournament titles this season at Sonora and Oakmont, will try and win its own tournament title after falling last year in the semifinal round to Pleasant Valley of Chico.
Returning champion El Camino, which defeated Pleasant Valley, 47-42, in last year’s championship match, will open the tournament against Woodcreek (2-4) at 3:30 p.m.
At 5 p.m., Colfax (6-3) draws Bishop Manogue of Reno (2-0), which annually is one of the top teams in the Northern Nevada AAA ranks. Del Oro (6-1) then meets Casa Roble (0-7) at 6:30 p.m. followed by Pleasant Valley (4-3) and Whitney (3-5) in the 8 p.m. finale.
Gold Country News Service’s Mike Ray contributed to this report. 
Reach Matthew Kimel at Follow him on Twitter @matthewkimel