St. Ignatius will host the Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic while Northgate makes the short trek to Acalanes to play in the Chris Huber Classic.
Paul Ghiglieri

Best Bay Area winter break basketball tournaments

December 26, 2019

The window between Christmas and New Year is one of the best for high school basketball, with games throughout the day, no school to take attention away from the court and minimal traffic to impede fans from getting to games. While some of the area’s top teams travel for the holiday break, a few marquee tournaments are held within the Bay Area, with information as follows:

24th Bambauer Classic

The Bambauer Classic, hosted by Marin Catholic on the 26th, 27th, 28th and 30th, is a four-day, 16-team extravaganza with 32 games. Participants represent five different sections, with the first game starting at 9:30 a.m. each day and the finale tipping off at 8 p.m. or shortly thereafter. For such a large tournament, the organizers do a remarkable job of keeping games on schedule. Past champions Heritage and Serra, winners of the tournament in both 2015 and 2017, could match up in the second round.

Teams: Arcata, Central Catholic, Heritage, Lincoln, Marin Catholic, Mills, Mission Prep, Napa, Redwood, Rocklin, San Marin, Serra, Terra Linda, University, Urban, Westmoor

6th Chris Huber Classic

Expect a heavy local presence at the sixth running of Acalanes’ annual tournament, with seven of the eight teams coming from the NCS and two, Concord and Las Lomas, both coming from the Diablo Athletic League. The games will be played on the 26th, 27th and 28th.

Teams: Acalanes, Concord, De Anza, Las Lomas, Lodi, Montgomery, Pittsburg, Tamalpais

5th Damian Lillard Classic

In just its fifth year, Oakland’s tournament has become an outstanding one befitting of its namesake. Defending champion Branson is on a loaded side of the bracket, which will be played out on the 26th, 27th, 28th and 30th.

Teams: Albany, Aragon, Bentley, Bethel, Branson, Compton, Edison, El Cerrito, Freedom, Lee (Alabama), Leadership-Hayward, Liberty, McClymonds, Oakland, Sacred Heart Cathedral, St. Mary’s-Albany

Silver Division: Armijo, Castro Valley, Oakland Military Institute, Oakland Tech, Pinole Valley, Pleasant Valley, San Rafael, St. Joseph

2nd Dougherty Valley Classic

Montana-bound guard Robby Beasley is far from the only star player to watch at the Wildcats’ tournament, which they’ll host on the 26th, 27th and 28th. Davis has broken the century mark three times this year and Folsom is always a major regional power. Old league mates from Dougherty’s days in the Diablo Foothill Athletic League help to round out the field.

Teams: Clayton Valley, College Park, Davis, Dougherty Valley, Folsom, McQueen, Northgate, Vintage

43rd Joe Schram Holiday Classic

Six of the eight teams in St. Francis’ tournament, which will be held on the 27th, 28th and 30th, hail from the CCS, including a resurgent Palo Alto squad that’s coming into its own with Jamir Shepard making the transition from football. The Vikings will open the tournament against Villa Park, a name that may be familiar to NorCal basketball fans as the Spartans opposed Mission in the 2017 Division III State Championship.

Teams: Cupertino, Monterey, Newark Memorial, Palma, Palo Alto, Santa Cruz, St. Francis, Villa Park

44th Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic

St. Ignatius’ tournament, to be played on the 26th, 27th and 28th, returns to its traditional bracket format after being played on a set schedule last year. The tournament typically welcomes in a handful of teams from out of the area, but the only one traveling farther than Sacramento this year is Loyola, making the trip from Los Angeles. The hosts have put some excellent teams on the other side of the bracket, with the aforementioned Loyola Cubs being joined by Menlo-Atherton, Mission and Monte Vista.

Teams: Bella Vista, Carlmont, Fremont-Oakland, Loyola, Menlo-Atherton, Mission, Monte Vista, St. Ignatius

34th Tim Cole Memorial Tournament

Hopefully the confusion of having two teams from Fremont and a third called Fremont won’t distract fans from the action that’ll unfold on the court at American on the 26th, 27th and 28th. Defending champion Terra Nova has a tough first game against San Lorenzo.

Teams: American, Castlemont, Foothill, Fremont-Sunnyvale, San Lorenzo, Scotts Valley, Terra Nova, Washington-Fremont

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