Thanksgiving week marks the start of another boys high school basketball season, and several tournaments are taking place throughout Tucson — including the 27th annual Salpointe Tip-Off Classic, which began Monday.
In addition to the host school, local participants include Canyon del Oro, Pueblo, Nogales, Sahuarita, Desert View, Ironwood Ridge and Tucson.
The other tournament of note locally is the Dick McConnell Classic, which starts Wednesday at Pima College’s West Campus and features Catalina Foothills, Walden Grove, Rio Rico, Flowing Wells, Amphitheater, Sahuaro, Palo Verde and Cholla.
As always, the start of a new season poses numerous questions that only the playing of games can answer. Will The Gregory School continue to dominate local play and advance to the state finals as has been the case in recent years? Can Pusch Ridge Christian make it back to the finals after a disappointing loss to Valley Christian?
Can Salpointe shed the curse that has plagued it in the finals in two of the last three years, losing both times to Phoenix Shadow Mountain?
Salpointe and The Gregory School both kicked off their seasons Monday by winning handily. Salpointe defeated Desert View 102-69 while The Gregory School bested San Miguel 47-27.
One can never overlook Nogales, which, under coach Ricardo De La Riva, always seem to find a way into the opening rounds of the playoffs, having done so in 16 of the coach’s 18 seasons.
Nogales opened its season Monday with a 57-51 win over Pueblo, Monday.
Other teams — Catalina Foothills, Sabino and Cholla — are hoping to make major breakthroughs.
Finally, will we ever see the likes again of an Amphi squad which utilized a long bench to fast break and press their way to three successive finals starting in 2010 and ending in 2012?
The Panthers’ run, followed by Salpointe’s return to the championship game in 2013, marked the end of a golden period for Tucson schools in Division ll play.
JT Grossmith is a Tucson-based freelancer.
Contact him at: firstname.lastname@example.org.