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The first annual Central Valley Senior Showcase
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We're on the eve of the first annual Central Valley Senior Showcase, a pair of exhibition basketball games featuring the top senior players from eight local high schools.


This inaugural event is part of the Journal's continuing effort to highlight our community through its members — to show that it's the people who shape and define our environment. From a sports perspective, it only made sense to bring teammates, opponents and, in some cases, strangers together for a day of competition to show our the strength and sense of community of the Central Valley. We carefully chose the players and coaches for our teams so that the public could get an up-close look at the people behind our headlines.


We've got the best-of-the best from Turlock High, Pitman High, Turlock Christian High, Denair High, Delhi High, Hilmar High, Central Valley High and Ceres High. The players span five leagues and five divisions and include two league MVPs and several All-League first and second teamers and honorable mentions.


The event that's set for Thursday night is not what was envisioned when the seed for the Central Valley Senior Showcase was conceived roughly two years ago, however. “How cool would it be to see the best players from our coverage area play in a pick-up game?” It was a simple question asked in a conversation between two sports reporters that could have easily become just another fleeting thought. Instead, we decided to make it a reality and to give it more meaning.


This is not just a pickup game between high school seniors, it's an opportunity for these seniors to celebrate their high school basketball careers in front of friends and family. It's also an opportunity to use their skills on the court to earn some money for college. That's right, four $100 scholarships will be on the line when the boys and girls meet on the court, with one player from each team being chosen based on their performance.


Of course, an event of this size and importance could not have been pulled off by the Journal alone. We were thrilled at the amount of support we received from local schools and businesses who were more than eager to be a part of the showcase. 51FIFTY Energy Drink, Hilmar Cheese, Oak Valley Community Bank and The Assyrian American Civic Club were the first to step forward as event sponsors while 12 other local businesses lent a hand in the form of donations.


We've included a tabloid for the Central Valley Senior Showcase in this edition of the Turlock Journal, complete with player autobiographies and photos and a full list of all those who helped get these games off the ground. I'm thrilled as part of the Journal's sports team to see this event come into fruition. I see this as the beginning of a new and longstanding community tradition and it is my hope that it continues to grow and expand in the years to come.

Check it out for yourself starting at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with the girls game, followed by the boys at 7:45 p.m. Both games will be played at the Turlock High School gymnasium, 1600 E. Canal Dr. Tickets are $5 each, with children under 2 free.