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The Selma Bears boys basketball team fought hard and showed that they could be one of the teams to beat in Division III as they took second place in the Jesse Lujan Memorial Tournament Jan. 7-10 at Selma High School.

The Bears fell to Division I opponent, and one of the top five overall teams in the Valley, Centennial High School, 62-40 in the championship game on Jan. 10.

Selma began the tournament Jan. 7 with a victory over Highland High School 70-41 in the first round of the tournament. Selma had a 44-19 lead at halftime and rolled to victory. Freshman Junior Ramirez led scoring for Selma with 16 points. Senior Anoop Grewal added 15 points in the game. Freshman William Pallesi had 12 points in the game.

The Bears advanced to the quarterfinals of the tournament where they hosted Tulare Union High School on Jan. 8. The Bears held an eight-point lead 25-17 at halftime. The Bears were able to hold off Tulare Union and win 51-37. Pallesi led scoring with 12 points in the game. John Moreno, Ramirez and Tiveon Stroud each had seven points in the game.

Selma defeated McLane High School in the semifinals of the Jesse Lujan Tournament 59-48 to advance to the finals of the tournament where they faceed Centennial High School and lost 62-40.

The Bears are now 11-4 overall on the season as they prepare to face Washington Union High School on Jan. 14 at Washington Union High School.

“I am happy with how we played, You always want to end on a win and win the title. We didn’t do what we needed to do in the game,” said Mike Pallesi, Selma Bears head coach. “I think we have come along way from the beginning of the year. We are battling and competing in every game. Overall, I am happy with how we played. I tip my hat to Centennial. They are really good. We have to play bigger in big games.”

Coach Pallesi also was happy how the tournament ran overall. The boys basketball program helps sponsor the tournament.

“In 27 to 28 years of coaching, I have been to many tournaments. Very few tournament do what we do. It is not a knock on anyone else's tournament, but we do all the little extras. The hospitality room is top notch, the scholarships, everything that goes along with it,” Pallesi said. “I am very happy with where we are at, and I hope we can continue to make it a success.”

Coach Pallesi is also very much appreciative of how the Lujan family helps with the tournament that honors their son, Jesse, who died four years ago.

“They had a tragic loss, and in order to keep their son's memory alive, they put their heart and soul in the tournament. You can see it with the attention to detail,” Pallesi said. “It’s a great tournament run by a great family.”

The Jesse Lujan Memorial Tournament All-Tournament team: Jeremy Kelly, South (Bakersfield); Gabe Castillo, Fresno High; John Moreno, Selma; Preston Green, Centennial; Joel Melton, Centennial; and MVP, Malcolm Johnson, Centennial.

Scholarship Winners: Jacob Woody, Centennial; Abram Lyons, Tulare Union; Arakai Hannah, McLane; and John Moreno and Nick Huante, Selma.

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You can reach this reporter at caguirre@selmaenterprise.com

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