Kendall could be even better

Sierra Scoop
By: Todd Mordhorst Journal Sports Editor
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The Kendall Arnett Basketball Tournament will always be an Auburn gem. California’s oldest basketball tournament will return to Earl Crabbe Gym beginning Tuesday, hitting the court for the 69th year.
Placer High will welcome several local rivals, including Del Oro, Bear River, Colfax and Nevada Union to this year’s event, which concludes with Thursday’s title game at 8 p.m. (see the full bracket below). The potential matchups between Del Oro and Colfax, Bear River and Placer and even Placer and Del Oro are filled with intrigue. So why not include more?
Back in the days before the Sac-Joaquin Section began holding playoffs, the tournament at Placer served as a playoff of sorts for teams in the region. It would be fun to see the Kendall return to that type of format as a showdown between Placer County foes.
No disrespect to teams like Del Campo, San Juan and Mira Loma, but wouldn’t the tournament be even more interesting if each game pitted local squads against each other? How about adding Lincoln, Granite Bay and Rocklin to the mix? Or even Roseville, Oakmont and Whitney?
The drawback to including more local teams is the fact that most of these teams play in either the Pioneer Valley League (Lincoln) or the Sierra Foothill League (Granite Bay, Rocklin, Roseville). A tournament that involves teams from just two leagues sometimes isn’t appealing to coaches, who usually like to see a wide array of competition during December.
But if there’s a tournament that could pull it off, it’s the Kendall. If each game had two local draws, Earl Crabbe would be rocking for three days straight. Placer, Colfax and Bear River typically bring big crowds, but in recent years the gym has been eerily quiet at times during the tournament.
You probably haven’t heard of most of Auburn Christian’s opponents on the basketball court and perhaps you’ve never heard mention of the Saints themselves. But if the early trend continues, you may be hearing a lot about the tiny school based in Meadow Vista by the end of the season.
Auburn Christian plays its home games at Sierra Hills School in Meadow Vista. The Saints are putting up some impressive results in their third season as a program and first affiliated with a league. They took second last weekend at a tournament in Napa, with their only loss coming to a well-established Valley Christian squad in the championship game.
Auburn Christian will compete in the Northern Pacific League beginning next month. Look for more on the Saints in the coming weeks.

The Sierra Blitz under-11 girls soccer team featured last week in the Journal capped its season with a championship. The Blitz beat an Elk Grove squad 3-2 to win the District championship, netting the game-winner with less than three minutes left in the game. Kudos to the team and the 49er United club.