Del Oro Invitational tips off today

By: Mike Ray / Gold Country News Service
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52nd annual Del Oro Invitational
4 p.m. Oakmont vs. River City
5:30 p.m. Bella Vista vs. Whitney
7 p.m. Del Oro vs. Paradise
8:30 p.m. Lincoln vs. Capital Christian
Friday, Dec. 7
4 p.m. Loser of Del Oro vs. Paradise and Loser Oakmont vs River City
5:30 p.m. Loser Lincoln vs. Capital Christian and Loser Bella Vista vs Whitney
7 p.m. Winner Lincoln vs. Capital Christian and Winner Bella Vista vs. Whitney
8:30 p.m. Winner Del Oro vs. Paradise and Winner Oakmont vs River City
Saturday, Dec. 8
10:30 p.m. 7th Place
3 p.m. Winner of Friday 4 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. games
4:30 p.m. 3rd Place
6 p.m. Winner Friday 7 p.m. and 8:30 p.m. games
Del Oro Invitational
Championship results
2011  Bella Vista 69  Del Oro 63
2010  Oakmont 65   Del Oro 64
2009  Del Oro 76      Lincoln 62
2008  Del Oro 78      Hug 54
2007  Del Oro 63      Burbank 49 


For connoisseurs of high school boys basketball, Del Oro High’s Bonner Gym will be the place to be today through Saturday as the 52nd annual Del Oro Invitational Tournament tips off a three-day run.
The long-running Del Oro event was started in 1962 by then Del Oro coach Herb Livsey and for the first 10 years was a season-ending tournament held in March. With the implementation of CIF playoffs in the early 1970s, the tournament was moved in 1972 to a preseason affair contested in December.
Livsey, who went on to a long coaching career at the high-school and junior-college level in Southern California and was one of the founders of the prestigious Snow Valley Basketball Camp, is now a scout for the Denver Nuggets.
“We started the tournament in my second year there,” said Livsey, who this week was scouting college players in New York. “I remember we played Bella Vista in that first tournament championship game. We packed the gym all three nights.”
In the first year of the tournament, Del Oro defeated Colfax in the semifinals, 47-40, and Bella Vista, 49-46, in the championship game. Strangely enough, the Golden Eagles had lost to both Colfax and Bella Vista twice during the regular season.
Leading Del Oro’s run to the title in ’62 were tournament MVP Masato Kuwahara and all-tourney picks Gary Cox, Steve March and Wayne Yamamura.       
Ironically, this year the defending tournament champion is Bella Vista. In last year’s tournament, the Broncos defeated Del Oro, 69-63. This season the Broncos – coached by David Gonzalez, a standout himself at Roseville High in the early 1980s – are off to a 2-1 start that includes a 101-95 win over Davis last week in their Bronco Roundup tournament.
Another team to watch in the tournament is Capital Christian, which went 3-0 at last week’s round robin Gold Dust Classic at El Dorado. The Cougars, a Div. IV team, are led by 6-6, 275-pound Nifae Lealao and 6-6, 245-pound sophomore Troy Belton.
“I think we have a very competitive tournament again,” said Del Oro coach Geoff Broyles. “It should be a good three days of basketball.”
A JV tournament will run concurrently in the school’s Yokote Gym. Saturday’s JV championship game will be played at 1:30 p.m. in the Bonner Gym. The varsity title affair is set for 6 p.m. Saturday.