In the 40th rendition of Colusa’s Georgia Raczniak Tournament, while none of the local teams claimed the title, the host RedHawks, Pierce Bears, and Williams Yellowjackets each previewed the potential they hope to realize when the season continues following the winter break.
A short-handed ‘Jacket squad put forth another determined effort and reached the championship game, although down to just five players in the second half, had to settle for second place after falling to tournament winner Yreka 66-28, in its first loss of the season.
In the finale, Williams got eight points from All-Tournament selection Miguel Rivera, and another eight from Ty Howell, but could never find any real rhythm against a physical Miners squad that dominated underneath and matched the Yellowjackets’ quickness.
Still, the ‘Jackets have no reason to hang their heads, as their performance in the first two rounds was admirable, given the injuries and absences that left them with a limited number of players.
Williams held off a fourth-quarter rally to edge Paradise 51-49 in the opening round, with Leo Trujillo pouring in 28 points, while Rivera and Jayr Ramirez each chipped in with nine points.
Yet, it was the effort against Sutter that was the Yellowjackets’ most impressive game of the tournament, as they downed a significantly taller and sharp-shooting Husky team 76-50 by employing tenacious defense and unselfish ball movement.
Trujillo, the Northern Section’s scoring leader, went for 26 points. Ramirez, who was named to the All-Tournament team, finished with 23 points, while Rivera had 16 and Johny Alcaraz dropped in 11.
The host RedHawks, opened play on Dec. 16 with an exciting 67-56 victory over Corning, then let their second round game get away, falling to Yreka 70-62, but ultimately rebounded nicely with a 56-43 win over Sutter to claim third place.
Against Corning, Colusa made halftime adjustments that extended the defense and changed the pace of the game on offense by focusing on getting the ball inside, which proved successful in sending the Cardinals down to defeat.
Leading the RedHawks was Landon Humphrey, with 22 points, Ethan Lay, who pumped in 12, including some timely threes, and Nick Price, who added 10.
In the loss to Yreka, Colusa took a five-point lead into the fourth quarter, but saw it slip away when they couldn’t buy a basket down the stretch or prevent the Miners from scoring.
Lay had a team-high 15 points. Humphrey tossed in 11, while Luke Kalfsbeek, a sophomore call-up, played impressively, adding 13 points and providing more toughness for the RedHawks in the paint.
To conclude the tournament, Colusa turned in a strong defensive effort holding Sutter to just 26 percent, shooting from the floor, while knocking down 46 percent of their own shots.
Jojo Luna dropped in 14 points, and Humphrey chipped in with 11 points.
Receiving All-Tournament nods for the RedHawks was Lay and Humphrey.
Pierce rounded out the Colusa County contingency at the tournament, bouncing back from an opening round 50-32 loss to Yreka to defeat Corning 56-35, and then claim the consolation game by downing Winters 41-36.
Lately, the Bears have been working on maintaining consistency, as a new group of mostly unproven players take over this season, but in their opener against Yreka, they fell victim to the Miners physicality.
JD Burnum tallied 11 points and Joey Saavedra recorded eight in the loss.
Finding themselves down three to Corning in the second game, Pierce ramped up the defensive pressure and gained more control on the boards to bypass the Cardinals.
Ryan Travis was key down the stretch for the Bears and ended the night with 16 points, as was Daniel Salud, who came away with 11 points.
In the consolation game, a depleted Pierce squad struggled mightily to score over for the first three-quarters, but finished strong with a 20-point final period.
Eight different players broke into the scoring column for the Bears, led by Bryce Murphy with eight points and Guillermo Jauregui with seven.
Travis was named to the All-Tournament Team.
As all three teams now head into the winter break, Pierce (7-4) had one more contest scheduled for this Tuesday at home against Argonaut, and will commence play in Dixon on December 28, while Williams (9-1) and Colusa (5-6) return to the court in January. ■