This is the time of year in which there is plenty of tournament action in high school basketball.
Big-time is the best way to describe one of the boys basketball tournaments coming up, the George Maldonado Classic, which will be hosted by Galena High School next week. Carson High's boys basketball team will also finally open the season as it plays Dayton at 6 p.m. today in the Carson Valley Classic at Douglas High.
The nine-team Maldonado Classic will be held Dec. 14-17 and will feature some of the nation's top teams. The tournament will also benefit the Boys and Girls Clubs of Carson Valley along with Minden's Brain Power Community Learning Center, Inc., and drawing prizes will be offered as well.
Among the marquee matchups will be Galena against Bishop Gorman, which will take place at 8 p.m. Friday. Gorman is the defending NIAA 4A state champion and is ranked No. 21 in the nation this year.
Gorman features a player who has signed with UNLV and a talented 6-4 foreign exchange student from Brazil. Gorman beat Galena in the state semifinals last year on the way to the title, but not without a struggle.
The Grizzlies led in the second half before Gorman took control. Galena has lost to Gorman five times in the state tournament under coach Tom Maurer.
"Our nemesis in five state playoffs," Maurer said. "They beat us last year in the second half. We're going to have an opportunity to play them and that's going to be great."
Maurer is not reluctant to play the tougher teams in the event as his team will also play who could actually be the top club in the tournament, Modesto Christian, Calif. Modesto is ranked No. 3 on the West Coast and features two players heading to top Division I programs - Kentucky and Washington.
One of Modesto's players is part of a Washington class that's rated as high as third in the nation. Galena will play Modesto at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Galena will open at 6:10 p.m. Wednesay against Santa Rita, a state power in Arizona from Tucson. "I'm playing three really great games," Maurer said. "I picked the schedule myself."
Another attractive game that night should be Gorman against Mississippi's Madison Ridgeland Academy, who won last year's Wild West Shootout in Reno.
Also in the event will be Utah's No. 1 ranked team, Orem. Galena already knows how strong Orem is as the Grizzlies lost to Orem 64-54 last weekend in Utah. Orem is also ranked No. 11 on the West Coast.
Another top team in the event is Bay Area power Oakland Tech. Douglas and North Valleys round out the field. Douglas will play Modesto Christian at 4:20 p.m. Wednesday and Oakland Tech at 2:40 p.m. Thursday.
Six of the nine teams will play three games while Orem, Douglas and North Valleys will play two games on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. All nine teams will play on Saturday. The teams determined to be the top two clubs in the event will play in the championship game at 6:20 p.m. Saturday.
Galena will play two games on Saturday as it will also play the club determined to be the ninth place team - as long as the Grizzlies don't finish as the ninth place club.
Maurer said that coaches from at least 10 Division I programs will be at the event. Among the players who should benefit from the exposure, Maurer said, is Douglas High's talented junior post player, Keith Olson.
Maurer also has the responsibility of keeping focused two of his players who are receiving Division I interest. Luke Babbitt, a 6-7 sophomore, has already received attention from major programs from across the country and those who will be at the event to watch Babbitt include coaches from Syracuse, Washington and UCLA.
Eric Maupin is another Galena player receiving Division I interest. Among the schools who have showed interest in Maupin are Pepperdine and Utah.
"I'm real excited about hosting a great thing," Maurer said.
CARSON VS. DAYTON
Carson faces a tough challenge in Dayton, last year's NIAA 3A State runner-up. The Dust Devils may even be better this year with the addition of standout Jordan Stokes. Dayton is coming off its Sutro Classic where it went 4-0 to win the title.
Senator coach Bruce Barnes said Rob Streeter, who left Dayton to take over Douglas told him that this year's Dayton team would have been the best he ever had at the school.
"We've watched them play," Barnes said. "We've got our hands full."
"The kids are kind of wrestless, ready to go," Barnes also said about his team. "They're anxious to get started and so are we to see where we stand."
But Carson will be without one key player in Kevin Brush, who's out with mononucleosis.
Carson City has become an area for young soccer talent, with five players chosen to participate in the United States Youth Soccer's Olympic Development Program, also known as ODP, which is designed to identify and develop young talent.
Erika Garcia, who plays for the Capital Soccer Club's Carson Freedom, is among the players born in 1993-94, who has been chosen to participate in the Nevada ODP event to be held Dec. 17-18 in Las Vegas.
Two other players, Taylor Musselman and Ashley Turner, have been chosen for the same event for those born in 1992. Turner also plays for the Freedom while Musselman plays for the Nevada Wonders Academy 15 and under team and the Great Basin Soccer League's Premiere team.
Two Carson High freshmen, Blake Moreland and Adam Updegrove, were chosen to play for Nevada's team at the national Sports Source Showcase last weekend in Dallas. The Nevada team played against clubs with older players in the event that was attended by more than 250 college coaches and scouts.