With school out for the holiday season, many local high school sports teams are utilizing the extra time by heading out of the county to participate in tournaments and invitationals.
The Arroyo Grande High boys basketball team is the lone squad traveling out of state to compete in a slate of games. The Eagles (7-3) fly to Las Vegas this morning and will play tonight in the opening round of the Las Vegas Prep Championship.
Arroyo Grande coach Ryan Glanville said he tries to schedule a different out-of-county tournament every year as a way of getting his team games against unfamiliar and difficult competition.
“We want to go try our luck against teams out of our area,” he said. “It’s a good way to face tough teams that will get us more prepared for our league season.”
The Eagles’ first matchup in Las Vegas could hardly be against a tougher opponent, either.
Arroyo Grande will play tournament host Las Vegas High tonight at 9 p.m. The Wildcats are 5-0 on the year and ranked No. 2 in Nevada by MaxPreps.com.
The Eagles then play Lathrop (0-1) of Fairbanks, Alaska, at 1:30 p.m. Friday before squaring off against Sparks (Nev.) Reed (5-2) at 7:30 p.m.
“Part of the experience is definitely getting to play high-quality opponents, but the other part is getting four days together as a team,” Glanville said. “We usually come back home as a tighter group.”
Several other boys basketball programs are joining the Eagles on the road this week, including Mission Prep. Fresh off back-to-back tournament-final appearances, the Royals (6-3) head to Palm Springs for the MaxPreps Holiday Classic.
Mission Prep is in Pool K along with Dana Hills (10-1), Lakeside (4-5) and Las Vegas Sierra Vista (9-2) in a division sponsored by the Greater Palm Springs Convention and Visitors Bureau.
The Royals open play tonight at 9 p.m. against Sierra Vista at Desert Hot Springs High.
Four local teams will stay in the county to participate in the Atascadero Holiday Tournament. Templeton (2-6) plays Pioneer Valley (4-3) today at 2:30 p.m. Nipomo (2-5) and Montclair (7-4) will follow at 4:15 p.m., and Paso Robles (7-2) faces University (6-1) at 5:45 p.m. The host Greyhounds (7-2) play in the nightcap at 7:30 p.m. against Roseville (8-2).
Morro Bay (0-11) heads to the Coast Union Invitational looking to get into the win column. The Pirates play the host Broncos (5-4) today at noon. Also scheduled to play are Immanuel (4-1), Caruthers (4-0) and King City (2-2) later in the week. Coast Union will play Caruthers and Immanuel on Friday and Saturday, respectively.
In girls basketball, the Righetti Tournament in Santa Maria will feature three local teams. Nipomo (2-6) plays its first game today at 10:30 a.m. against Cabrillo (5-4). Atascadero (4-3) faces Santa Barbara (10-2) at 4:30 p.m. in the opening round, and Paso Robles (0-8) also will compete.
Templeton takes its 5-0 record inland to the Tulare Mid-Winter Invitational, where it opens today at 1 p.m. against Merced (4-4).
Mission Prep heads to Catalina Island for the Avalon Invitational Tournament. The Royals (3-5) are scheduled to play Central Valley Christian (3-6) today at 7:30 p.m., and will face Vaughn (1-7) and host Avalon (4-3) later in the week.
Other sports are getting into the holiday tournament spirit, too.
The Paso Robles boys soccer team will travel to the Buena Tournament at Ventura High. The Bearcats (7-2) are scheduled to face Camarillo (2-5-1) at 9:45 a.m. Friday before matching up against Westlake (2-5) later in the day.
Girls soccer teams from Atascadero and Morro Bay will be in action this weekend at the Santa Maria Invitational. The Greyhounds (6-2) and Pirates (4-3-2) are expected to play each other Friday at 10:30 a.m.
Wrestling teams from Paso Robles and Nipomo are scheduled to participate in the Lemoore Bash.