KINGSBURG - Slow starts for the Selma and Kingsburg basketball teams continued after both squads competed at the 68th Annual Lions Club Classic at Kingsburg High School on Dec. 5-8.
Selma (1-4 overall) went 0-4 in the tournament and lost each game by an average of 34.7 points. Kingsburg (3-6 overall), the host school, had better results in the tourney's first two days, winning against Coalinga and Hoover by double digits. The Vikings fell to Hanford and Kerman high schools during the final two days.
One of Kingsburg’s losses was to the Hanford Bullpups by the score of 63-42. After the game, Vikings head coach Todd Brown said his team was coming together and progressing well, but they haven’t reached their potential.
“We’re young, so it takes time, it takes experience,” Brown said. “We’ve been getting a lot of that against a lot of good teams, Hanford being one of them. Today we didn’t quite rise to the level where we need to be to play with a team like Hanford.”
Before losing to the Bullpups, Kingsburg defeated Coalinga 55-42 and Hoover 69-53. After playing against Hanford, the Vikings played for third place against Kerman, but Kingsburg ended up at fourth with a 60-43 loss to the Lions.
Brown said losing to the Bullpups and Lions was a good benchmark to see where his team needs to progressed.
“There was a lot of little things we’ve been talking about in the previous games, but it wasn’t really happening and we were still able to win,” Brown said. “You don’t do those things in these games [against Hanford and Kerman]. It comes back to back you.”
Junior guard Jason Gunn said the team has many things to clean up after the final two games.
“We’re definitely passing the ball more, good ball movement is what we need,” Gunn said. “We’ve been talking more about it, but tonight we didn’t have that. We need to practice that more.”
Throughout the tournament, Gunn averaged 9.7 points per game, which was good for second on the team behind Nate Towsley (10.0 ppg). As for Kingsburg’s leading scorer throughout the tourney, Towsely was named to the All-Tournament and was the only Viking to earn that recognition. In both of the Vikings’ wins, Towsely scored 12 against Coalinga and 11 against Hoover.
As for Selma, the Bears placed last at the tourney after going winless over the four-day tournament.
One of the things that plagued Selma during the tournament was turnovers, which 20 of them came in the Bears’ third game against Golden West.
Selma head coach Johnny Vargas said his team has to improve on their fundamentals in certain aspects of the game to cut down those turnovers. Vargas added that majority of the team is still adjusting to the varsity-level speed.
“I think once they understand that, I think we’ll cut those turnovers ball tremendously,” Vargas said. “It’s going to take a little bit of time, it’s going to take a little bit of effort. I have no doubt that we have a lot of hard working kids out here. We have a lot of kids out here that have a lot of pride.”
In the game against Golden West, the Bears started with an 17-9 advantage in the first quarter, but the Trailblazers on a 9-2 run to cut Selma’s lead 19-18. Golden West would then outscore the Bears through the second-fourth quarters.
“I think a lot of is our conditioning,” Vargas said about Golden West game. “I think I have to do a better job as a coach getting these guys better condition. I think we just ran out of gas.”
Against the Trailblazers, Aaron Blancas and Isaac Ramirez led the Bears in scoring with double-digit performances. Blancas had a game high 20 points and Ramirez scored 12.
Blancas and Ramirez said everyone on the team isn’t used to the varsity tempo, but it’ll come in time.
“It’s mostly everyone’s first year in varsity,” Blancas said. “We just got to get used to the pace, stop panicking and get used to the game.”
“We got a lot of new guys that still need to get used of the tempo,” Ramirez said. “Once we get it down, I’m pretty sure we’ll be good.”
The Selma Bears will compete at the Andrew Bedoya Holiday Classic at Dinuba High School on Dec. 12-15. After, Selma will head back to Dinuba to take on the Emperors in Central Sequoia League action on Dec. 17. After, the Bears will compete a tournament at Madera South High School on Dec. 19-22.
As for the Kingsburg Vikings, three of the team’s remaining four games in December will occur at home. Kingsburg will start that stretch against Sierra Pacific on Friday in a nonleague game. After, the Vikings will host Hanford West in Central Sequoia League action on Dec. 17. Two days later, Kingsburg will head to Reedley High, followed by a home game against Golden West on Dec. 21.