By Bill Choy
Triplicate Sports Editor
CRESCENT CITY Junior high girls basketball teams from Del Norte County and throughout Northern California will take part in the 35th annual Crescent Elk Cougars/Crescent City Jaycees girls basketball tournament starting today.
The tournament features 40 teams playing in five different divisions in locations throughout the area. The event concludes on Saturday, including a Hoop Shoot contest.
Arman Gunnerson, an event organizer, said he enjoys being a a part of the tournament each year and seeing the positive sportsmanship and love of the game all the teams show.
He especially enjoys the trophy ceremony, when the teams are awarded for their accomplishments on the court.
"You see a lot of happy faces," he said.
In the C Division, local school St. Joseph is participating and brings a 5-3 record into the contest.
Because the school is fairly small, besides girls from St. Joseph, the team includes girls from local charter schools.
Head Coach Dylan Ridgely said the girls are excited about taking part in the tournament and facing teams from other areas. The team opens the tournament Friday evening against Coastal Grove of Arcata.
"It's our major event of the year," he said.
Seventh grader Camryn Ridgley said the entire team is excited and focused to place well in their division.
"It's been really fun," she said about playing for the basketball team. "It's hard work but when we win, it feels good."
Christine Graves, head coach of the Smith River team, said the squad is excited to be competing in the A Division this year. They bring a 8-2 record into the tournament and are the No .2 seed. Graves said the team is determined to do well.
But despite what happens, she and her squad will be rooting for all the local teams.
While they may play against each other now, the girls that will go on to play basketball at Del Norte High School will one day be teammates.
"They need to learn that one day they'll be playing together," she said.
In March, the boys Jaycees tournament will take place. Last year 56 teams participated.
AAA Division, at Del Norte School Thunen Gym
McKinleyville versus Mountain View, 4 p.m.
Cottonwood versus Winship, 5:30 p.m.
Pacific Union versus Weaverville, 7 p.m.
Zane versus Sequoia, 8:30 p.m.
AA division, at DNHS Small Gym
Toddy Thomas versus Kelseyville, 4 p.m.
Fortuna versus Azalea, 5:30 p.m.
Lucerne versus Crescent Elk A, 7 p.m.
Redwood A versus Cuddeback, 8:30 p.m.
A Division, at Four Square Church Gym
Hoopa versus Sunny Brae, 4:15 p.m.
Monument versus Middletown, 5:45 p.m.
Terrace versus Ferndale, 7:15 p.m.
Blue Lake versus Smith River, 8:45 p.m.
B Division, at Redwood School Gym
Casterlin versus Trinidad, 4:30 p.m.
Trinity Valley versus Loleta, 6 pm.
Freshwater versus Douglas City, 7:30 p.m.
Stanwood Murphy versus Crescent Elk B, 9 p.m.
C Division, at Crescent Elk Gym
Burnt Ranch versus Foursquare, 4:15 p.m.
Grenada versus Crescent Elk C, 5:45 p.m.
Redwood B versus Hydesville, 7:15 p.m.
Costal Grove versus St. Joseph, 8:45 p.m.