Riverside Reaches Holiday Tournament Final for First Time since 2009; Hosts Saddleback Friday

45th Annual Riverside Holiday Basketball Tournament, Dec. 6-9, 2016

Thursday, Dec. 8 (all games at Wheelock Gym):

Game 9, 9 a.m. (consolation semifinal #1): Barstow (4-6) 74, Victor Valley (1-9) 69;

Game 10, 11 a.m. (consolation semifinal #2): San Bernardino Valley (10-2) 102, Cal. Miramar Univ. JV (1-6) 40;

Game 13, 1 p.m. (fifth-place semifinal #1): Mt. San Jacinto (11-4) 90, East Los Angeles (6-3) 83;

Game 14, 3 p.m. (fifth-place semifinal #2): El Camino-Compton Center (7-3) 84, Pasadena City (3-5) 68;

Game 11, 5 p.m. (champ. semifinal #1): Saddleback (9-2) 58, Fullerton (8-3) 50;

Game 12, 7 p.m. (champ. semifinal #2): Riverside City (11-3) 105, Chaffey (9-3) 70


RIVERSIDE -- Reaching the tournament championship final game for the 24th time in the 45 years of existence, the Riverside City College (RCC) Tigers men's basketball team will attempt to win the tourney title for the first time since 2009 when it hosts arch rival and fellow Orange Empire Conference members, the Saddleback Colleg Gauchos on Friday, Dec. 9, at 7 p.m. in legendary Arthur N. Wheelock Gymnasium.

Riverside City, which has won its tournament ten times and been runner-up 13 times, will be facing a program (Saddleback) which has won the tournament crown the last two seasons and three of the last four campaigns, will be seeking its sixth Riverside Holiday Tournament crown.

In a slightly different format this season, all the games are being played in Wheelock Gym which means that there were six, count 'em, six games in the same venue for the first time in tournament history. Another first will be set on Friday, Dec. 9, when five games (championship, third place, fifth place, ninth place and eleventh place) will be held as well.

Riverside City (11-3 overall) punched its ticket to the final with a solid 105-70 semifinal win over the Chaffey College Panthers after Saddleback (9-2) shaded the pesky Fullerton College Hornets (8-3), 58-50, in the first semifinal game.

In RCC's win over Chaffey, the Tigers never trailed as it led, 48-32, at halftime. The Tigers shot 50% in the first half, 61.5% in the second half and 55% (33 of 60) for the game. Five Tigers scored in double figures, led by sophomore guard Andy Cleaves (Riverside / John W. North HS), who came off the bench and pumped in a game-high 18 points.

Brian Beard and Cameron Curl each had 14 points for the Panthers (9-3).

In Saddleback's win, sophomore guard T.J. Shorts (Tustin HS) had a game-high 21 points and a co-game-high seven rebounds. Fullerton sophomore guard Kenny Barnes (Etiwanda HS) had a team-high 17 points for the Hornets.

Foullerton will face Chaffey for third place on Friday at 5 p.m.

In Thursday's two fifth-place semifinal games, the Mt. San Jacinto College (MSJC) Eagles topped the East Los Angeles COllege (ELAC) Huskies, 90-83, before the El Camino College-Compton Center Tartars defeated teh Pasadena City College Lancers, 84-68. MSJC will meet Compton for fifth place at 1 p.m.

San Bernardino Valley (10-2), a 102-40 winner over California Miramar University junior varsity, will meet the Barstow College Vikings at 3 p.m. in the consolation championship (ninth place) game. Barstow was a 74-69 winner over Western State Conference-East Division rival Victor Valley.

Victor Valley and Calif. Miramar Univ. JV will meet in an 11th-place game Friday at 11 a.m.



The 44th Annual Riverside Holiday Tournament came to an end Friday (Dec. 11) with the Los Angeles Pierce College (LAPC) Brahmas (ninth place), San Bernardino Valley College (SBVC) Wolverines (fifth place), Fullerton College (FC)

Kenny Barnes led the Hornets with 18 points and eight rebounds and was named to the all-tournament team. Riverside, which utilized only seven players, was led freshman guard Andy Cleaves (John W. North HS) with 13 points. Cleaves also received all-tournament kudos. Freshman guard Courtney Moffatt (Centennial HS) added 12 points and nine assists. Both Cleaves and Moffatt played all 40 minutes for RCC.

In the championship game, Saddleback broke a 24-24 halftime tie and kept Chaffey at bay with a 71-65 win. Freshman forward Breaon Brady (Ellet HS) came off the bench and led the Gauchos with 16 points en route to all-tournament honors. Devonte Klines received tournament MVP honors for Saddleback. Sophomore guard Victor Joseph, normally a starter, came off the bench to pace the Panthers with 17 points. Alfred Brown added ten points and was named to the all-tournament team.

It was the fifth Riverside Holiday Tournament championship for Saddleback and third in the last four years for Gauchos head coach Andy Ground. Saddleback won in 1986, 1992, 2008, 2014 and 2015.


45th Riverside Holiday Tournament All-tournament Team (2016): to be announced


For the second time in its 45-year existence, the Riverside Holiday Tournament featured 12 teams, instead of the usual 16-team format which had been utilized since 1982 (except for 2010 and 2011 when no tournament was held due to the reconstruction of Wheelock Gymnasium).

From 1969 through 1981, except for 1976 (no tournament) and 1977 (four-team tournament), the tournament had an eight-team format.

Riverside has won its tournament ten times (1974, '77, '81, '85, '91, '92, '94, '95, 2006, '09), followed by (now defunct) Los Angeles City, which won it seven times (1982, '96, 1999-2000-2001, 2003-2004). The Tigers have been tournament runners-up 13 times.

Defending Riverside Holiday Tournament champion Saddleback has won it five times (1986, 2008, 2012, 2014, 2015). Fullerton has won the Riverside Holiday Tournament twice (1993 and 2005) and was runner-up in 2008. Chaffey won the tournament in 2013.