The Amador Valley boys basketball team came through in a big way last weekend, taking the title of the 58th annual Amador Basketball Classic (ABC) that ran Dec. 6-8.
It was the first ABC win for the Dons since 2013, but the real news is the tournament is still going strong after all these years.
As is always the case, it's the volunteers that make events go and that's no exception here as Michael Gallagher and his crew of volunteers did a wonderful job of running the tournament. That gave Amador a chance to win its own tournament.
The Dons took the semifinal game with a 64-62 overtime win over St. Francis of Mountain View and followed that with a 62-50 win over Franklin of Elk Grove in the finals.
Leading the way for the Dons was Tournament MVP Jaden Sheppard, who averaged 20 points per game. Also making the All-Tournament Team were Demetre Aaron and Brad Couture. In a total team effort, other standouts for the Dons were Tyler Nanny, Patrick Gallagher, Jules Bellosguardo, Ty Castro and John Venzon.
Michael Gallagher was joined by Ellie Miller, Andrea and Bill Sadler, Kirsten Cash, and Tara Fairchild in making the tournament a success. I had a lot of fun helping out by announcing a pair of games so Gallagher -- the Amador announcer -- could take a break!
I have seen probably 40 years of tournament action, including my high school years when I was a student at Amador. This was the tournament in Northern California, attracting some of the best NorCal teams and usually one powerhouse from Southern California.
Former NBA star Jason Kidd led St. Joseph's in the ABC for his first three years of high school, including a stint where he was teammates with Calvin Byrd, who went on to Villanova.
In fact, during Byrd's senior year, Villanova was in the Bay Area to play Cal and the entire Wildcats team -- and legendary coach Rollie Massimino -- came to the Amador gym to take in a St. Joe's game.
There were perennially loaded teams such as Stagg of Stockton and Merced as regular attendees. There was a great run of Oakland Tech teams with players such as Wolfe Perry (Stanford, actor on "The White Shadow") and Doc Shavers.
So, what happened?
Starting in Kidd's senior year, high school basketball got to the point where national tournaments came into vogue. Some tournaments were even offering travel expenses to get teams to come across the country and play in their event.
Now you can catch high school games regularly on TV at tournaments or showcases. These have hurt the traditional tournaments.
But thanks to people like Gallagher and his crew, the ABC rolls on -- just two years from the 60th edition of the event.
I love this tournament and have volunteered to help Gallagher moving forward to try to restore some luster and popularity to the event. Even though his son is a senior for the Dons, Gallagher is committed to continue to work with the ABC and is already looking ahead to No. 60.
In a day where it is tough to get people to volunteer, it was refreshing to see the crew at the ABC. Well done everyone!
Foothill girls basketball
The Falcons pulled off a 44-28 over El Cerrito to end last week.
In the win, Gianna Lyng and Reese Lombardi each had 9 points to lead the attack.
Earlier in the week, the Falcons lost to Liberty 34-25 (Hope Alley 12 points, Lombardi 6 points); lost to Oakland Tech 41-25 (Lyng and Lombardi 6 points each); and lost to Berkeley 68-43 (Lyng and Alley 11 points each).
Katelynn Jensen and Lauren Twamugabo had 9 rebounds and 8 rebounds per game, respectively.
Amador girls soccer fundraiser
The Dons are having a "flocking" fundraiser that sounds like a great time!
What is flocking? Think of a friend, co-worker or family member you would like to flock out of love or to celebrate a birthday. The chosen lawn will be playfully decorated with a sea of pink plastic flamingos set up by your very own Amador girls soccer on a Friday or Saturday night.
How does this work? Contact Sara Campbell (firstname.lastname@example.org) and she will arrange for your chosen lawn to be flocked. Your flocked friend will then have the options of picking one of the below choices:
* I appreciate the flocking but am not able to donate funds at this time.
* I would like to make a generous donation of (insert dollar amount) toward the removal of the pink flamingos.
* In addition to the above donation, I would like to suggest the following person and address as the next surprise flocking victim: (insert name).
If you are interested in spreading the pink love and help raise funds for the team, email Sara Campbell at email@example.com.
How much does this cost? The cost of flocking will be $25 minimum: 10 flamingos for $25, 20 for $50, 30 for $100. They accept PayPal and Venmo.