MODESTO, Calif. – Cosumnes River (5-1) opens play in the 76th MJC Basketball Tournament tonight against the Reedley Tigers (3-3). The 16-team, double-elimination tournament, begins today and runs through this Saturday.
The Hawks enter play this week on a five-game winning streak, taking the consolation title at San Jose City College before winning three straight to take the Clark Classic title at CRC. The team has been led thus far by a trio of sophomores in guards AJ Bridges and Rodney Cook, and post player Jaycob Velasco. Bridges currently leads the Big 8 Conference in scoring with 20.8 points per game, and ranks third in assists per game at six. He was awarded All-Tournament recognition at the San Jose City College Tip-off Classic before taking MVP honors at the 35th Annual Clark Classic last week. Sophomore point guard Cook also took All-Tournament honors at the Clark Classic after helping to lead the team to a championship game victory over Chabot. Cook is currently averaging 8.5 points and 3.5 assists in just under 27 minutes per game. Velasco, a redshirt sophomore from Chico, is currently among the Big 8 leaders in a number of statistical categories. He currently ranks second in scoring behind Bridges at 19.8 points per contest, and ranks second in rebounding at 9.8 rebounds per game. He's also among the leading three-point shooters in the state at 44% from the perimeter.
CRC will be playing a Reedley team that while undersized, features a talented group of players, with an even mix of impact freshmen and sophomores. Leading the Tigers this season is sophomore Andre Frazier, a 6'5" wing out of Muhr HS in Pasadena. Frazier currently leads the Central Valley Conference in scoring at 25 points per game. Frazier also leads the CVC in rebounds per game at 12. He is joined by talented freshman guard Walter Orr, a 6'0" point guard by way of Bullard HS in Fresno. Orr is second on the team in scoring at 14 points per game, leading the Tigers four-out offense from the point guard position. Manning the post for the Tigers will be sophomore forward Eddie Ramirez. Ramirez, a local product who attended Immanuel HS in Reedley, is averaging seven points and six rebounds a game through the team's first six contests. The Tigers are coming off a difficult 0-2 showing at the Bakersfield College Thanksgiving Tournament. Reedley fell to eventual tournament champions Allan Hancock 82-53, before falling to tournament host Bakersfield in game two.
The tournament features 16 of the top CCCAA teams from Northern and Southern California, and is one of the longest-running basketball tournaments in the nation. In addition to Cosumnes River and Reedley, the tournament features Chabot (6-1, Coast-North), Columbia (5-4, Central Valley), Contra Costa (1-4, Bay Valley), Cuesta (4-3, Western State North), De Anza (2-3, Coast-South), Fresno City (8-1, Central Valley), Lassen (5-4, Golden Valley), Mendocino (1-4, Bay Valley), Merced (0-6, Central Valley), Sacramento (4-4, Big 8), Shasta (1-6, Golden Valley), Siskiyous (6-2, Golden Valley), and Yuba (4-1, Bay Valley). Games begin Tuesday, when CRC and Reedley are scheduled to tip-off at 8 PM. The tournament will continue to run until Saturday, capping off with the championship game at 7 PM.