This weekend, while Redwood Empire basketball teams travel to other parts of California and to Arizona for holiday tournaments, five boys teams are staying in Sonoma County where the 10th annual Brett Callan Memorial will be contested Thursday through Saturday at Casa Grande in Petaluma.
Besides the home team, other area schools in the Callan are: Analy, Cardinal Newman, Montgomery and Petaluma.
Making the longest trip this weekend will be the Windsor girls. The Jaguars will be participating in the 90-team Nike Tournament of Champions in the Phoenix area.
This will be the first Callan Tournament presented without its founder James Forni. The Casa Grande coach died of cancer earlier this year at 36 years of age.
“We’ll have a special acknowledgment of coach Forni before Casa plays Washington (SF) in the last game on Thursday,” tournament director Rick Duarte said.
Callan played for Casa before dying in an automobile accident in which he was a passenger.
Jake Lee, part of the same team as Callan, is the new varsity coach. The 2007 grad had been in charge of the freshman team the past two years.
“This was always one of the highlights of the year for coach Forni,” Lee said.
“We plan on running the tournament with the same pride he did.”
Lee was a sophomore when he played alongside Callan.
“Brett was a junior, and what I remember is that he was friendly, outgoing and always worked hard at practice.”
Casa has started the season with a 2-4 record while Washington comes to town at 4-4.
“We’ve hit some early bumps,” Lee said. “Our basic downfall has been turnovers.
“Our goal in the tournament is to make fewer mistakes and improve our pressure defense.”
The premier matchup of opening day is the 6:30 p.m. game between Analy (5-0) and Miramonte (4-1).
Analy is the highest scoring team in the Empire. The Tigers average better than 73 points per game and put 83 on Novato in their last game (Dec. 8).
In the first game of the tourney at 3:30 p.m., Petaluma (3-0) faces Cardinal Newman (2-1). The Cardinals were soundly beaten by San Marin in the finale of the Rose City Tournament last Saturday.
The other opening round game is set for 5 p.m. and pits Northgate (1-4) against Montgomery (3-3). The young Vikings finished second to host Arcata in the finals of that tournament last Saturday.
Moving to the Windsor girls, the Lady Jaguars (3-1) play their first game in the Nike on Friday. Their opening opponent is Liberty of Peoria, Ariz. That school made it to the state championship last year.
“This tournament is definitely going to be a challenge,” Windsor coach Jeff Paul said. “We’re looking forward to it.”