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Local girls, boys basketball teams to compete in holiday tourneys

Six girls varsity basketball teams are looking to head into 2024 on a high note at the 10th annual Pitman Holiday Classic. The tournament runs from today through Friday, with the final standings to be determined by overall records, head-to-head competition, points allowed and, if all is still knotted up, a coin toss.

The tournament gets underway today at 3 p.m. when the Turlock Bulldogs take on the Lodi Flames. At 4:30, the Patterson Tigers will play the Hughson Huskies. The Argonaut Mustangs (Jackson) will play the hosting Pitman Pride at 6 to wrap up the first day of action.

Thursday will open with Lodi taking on Patterson at 3. Argonaut and Turlock will then meet at 4:30, while the Pride and Huskies will serve as the nightcap at 6.

The final day of action will tip-off at 2 with a matchup between Patterson and Argonaut. Pitman and Lodi will follow at 3:30. The tournament concludes with the Huskies and Bulldogs meeting at 5.

The Tigers will come into the tournament as heavy favorites with their 13-0 pre-league schedule. Three of those victories came against Pitman, Turlock and Hughson by margins of over 15 points.

Hughson has the second-best record coming into the Holiday Classic. Under seventh-year head coach Tim May, they have compiled a 7-5 record. He earned his 100th career win on Dec. 15 when the Huskies outlasted Sonora 52-48. May hopes the remaining non-league schedule can help prepare his team to compete for the Trans-Valley League title and a deep playoff run.

Meanwhile, Lodi and Argonaut each have 6-6 records entering tournament play. Pitman comes in right behind them at 5-6.

Despite the losing record, the Pride are already nearing their win total from a season ago (7-21). Second-year coach Parmine Randhawa has relied heavily on her backcourt tandem of senior Liz Webb and sophomore Dailynn Greener, who are each averaging more than 12 points per game.

As for the Bulldogs under third-year head coach Erica Hernandez, it’s been a tough start as they have gone 3-10 through the first month of the season. At last year’s Holiday Classic, their only win came in the seventh-place game against Pitman. The win helped kickstart what turned out to be a 15-13 regular season that earned them a berth to a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section playoffs, where they won a play-in game over McNair (Stockton) before losing to two-seeded St. Mary’s (Stockton). They are hoping similar momentum can be built this time around.


Turlock boys to play in MC Holiday Hoop Classic

The 22nd Modesto Christian Holiday Hoop Classic gets under way today in Salida, with Turlock High (6-4) taking on the host Crusaders (3-1) in the featured game at 7 p.m.

The Bulldogs opened the season against powerful MC in a Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Game, which isn’t much more than a glorified scrimmage. Now, Turlock can expect the best the Crusaders have to offer. Which is just fine with coach Doug Cornfoot.

“That’s why I like this tournament,” said Cornfoot, who returned to coaching the varsity boys after a three-year absence. “You get to play some of the top teams in the section, and it allows you to go out and compete.”

Cornfoot is well aware that the Bulldogs could get smacked around in this tournament. In 12 previous trips to the Holiday Hoop Classic, his Bulldogs have compiled a record of 12-36. Only twice did Turlock win two of the four games: 2013 and 2009. The 2009 team was Cornfoot’s best, posting a 24-7 record and reaching the semifinal round of the section tournament and gaining an at-large berth to the Northern California regionals.

Twice the Bulldogs have gone 0-4 at the tournament, with the rest being 1-3 finishes.

“One year, we won the first game and got trounced the next two,” said Cornfoot, referring to the 2018 Classic. “But that’s kind of the exciting thing about this tournament. You’ll see some of the top teams around.”

Other first-round games in the four-day tournament include Manteca-Immanuel (Reedley) vs. Manteca; Edison (Stockton) vs. Clovis East; -Downey (Modesto) vs. Campolindo (Moraga); Venture Academy (Stockton), vs. Vanden (Fairfield); Pleasant Valley (Chico) vs. Oakland Tech; San Leandro vs. Bullard (Fresno); Mountain House vs. Weston Ranch (Stockton).

Modesto Christian, which has won the previous two classics, will be looking for its seventh overall title. Campolindo has won the tournament twice (2014, 2019), Weston Ranch won it all in 2018, and San Leandro last won it in 2006.

To see a virtual tournament program, visit

— Joe Cortez contributed to this report.