Inaugural Nor Cal Tip-Off Basketball

Rocklin/Whitney Tournament
By: Jim Linsdau, Sports Editor
-A +A


Boys Basketball, Nov. 29 to Dec. 2

At Rocklin and Whitney High Schools


Game 1, 3:30 p.m.

Spanish Springs, Nev. Cougars (23-5) vs. TBD

Franklin Wildcats (16-13) vs. Chico Panthers (15-13)

Game 3, 6:30 p.m.

Rocklin Thunder (14-14) vs. Davis Blue Devils (5-18)

Game 4, 8 p.m.

Clovis West Golden Eagles (25-5) vs. Oakmont Vikings (6-19)


Game 1, 3:30 p.m.

Kennedy Cougars (16-11) vs. Edison Vikings (17-11)

Game 2, 5 p.m.

Grant Pacers (20-10) vs. Beyer Patriots (23-10, D2 Section runners-up)

Game 3, 6:30 p.m.

Whitney Wildcats (27-5, D2 section champs) vs. East Union Lancers (15-12)

Game 4, 8 p.m.

St. Francis Golden Knights (So Cal, 14-13) vs. Yuba City Honkers (18-11)



It’s new, it’s going to be exciting and it’s going to be BIG – The Nor Cal Tip-Off Basketball Tournament.

Coaches Nick French of Whitney High and Steve Taylor of Rocklin High spent the summer pulling together a huge 16-team boys basketball tournament that will be played at both schools. The action begins at 3:30 p.m. Nov. 29 and will conclude with the game for third place and championship tilt being played Dec. 2 at William Jessup University.

“A lot of really good teams and it should be a really good tournament,” French said. “A great way to start off the year; it’s going to be really tough tournament.”

Taylor said he and French decided rather than each having their own tournament to come together in one basketball tip-off extravaganza.

“Hopefully it will turn out to be something nice for the city and our programs and just kind of make it an annual event,” Taylor said.

Admission for adults is $8, $5 for seniors and kids under the age of 5 get in free.

In the first game in Rocklin’s Thunder Gym, Nevada powerhouse Spanish Springs will draw a bye.

The Cougars come in as last-years champions of the 4A Northern – High Desert Conference. Spanish Springs was a perfect 16-0 against the league competition and moved into the Nevada Interscholastic Athletic Association playoffs.

The Cougars fell in the semifinals, finishing with a 25-3 record, but should be back again in 2017-18 to make another run.

Game 2 at 5 p.m. between the Franklin Wildcats and Chico Panthers present two teams that had near matching records last season. Franklin finished fourth in the tough Delta League and Chico was No. 4 in the Northern Section’s Eastern League.

Both teams should have plenty of senior leadership.

Game 3 puts the home team on the court at 6:30 p.m. to take on Davis Sr. It will be a chance for (returning) second-year coach Steve Taylor to showcase his Thunder cagers for 2017-18.

Sparked by Taylor’s return, the Thunder tied for fourth in the Sierra Foothill League. That signaled a return to the section playoffs where the Storm dropped a 58-56 decision to Merced on the Bears’ home court.

The Blue Devils were 5-18 last season and finished last in the Delta League. But with six seniors leading the team they will make Rocklin earn it – or not earn it.

Game 4 will feature Fresno-area big dog Clovis West and Roseville’s Oakmont at 8 p.m.

The Golden Eagles flew high in ’16-17 and are stacked knee-deep in seniors. The Vikings suffered a cold winter and will be looking for a little sunshine this season.

A vibrant cheering section should help in what will be a tough opener.

The Whitney campus will throw open the doors on the Wildcats’ Gym at 3:30 p.m. for Game 1 between Kennedy and Stockton’s Edison.

Like in Rocklin’s Game 2, Kennedy’s Cougars (16-11) and Edison’s Vikings (17-11) nearly mirrored each other last season.

However, in league play the Cougs placed fourth in the Metro Conference at 8-6 and the Vikes were second in the San Joaquin Athletic Association at 7-3.

Edison could hold the edge in this one, having a few more senior returnees.

Game 2, things should heat up when the Pacers of Grant tangle with the Patriots of Beyer.

Both clubs made it into the Division II section playoffs, where Grant made it into the quarterfinals and Beyer finished as runners-up in the tournament. The Pats will get a chance to see where the team that beat them in the championship plays.

The Pacers were 20-10 last season, Beyer 23-10. The Patriots might have an edge, with only one senior returning for the Pacers this season.

Game 3 should see the place rock when the clock strikes 6:30. Defending Division II section champion Whitney will entertain East Union from Manteca.

The Lancers were 15-12 last season, but they could make this game interesting. The ‘Cats return eight seniors, but East Union could return as many as seven. Still, the Lancers better be ready to run.

Game 4, the nightcap at 8 p.m. will feature Southern California’s St. Francis Golden Knights and Yuba City’s northern Honkers.

Both clubs took a hit at graduation, but both are storied program’s seeking to get off to a super start for the winter campaign.