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Cardinals conquer Colusa tournament
A total of eight teams - seven of which represented Division IV schools - along with Maxwell High, the only Division VI entrant, took to the hardwood at Colusa High over the weekend for the 32nd annual Georgia Raczniak Christmas Tournament.
For the third time in three tourney appearances this preseason, Corning brought home the tournament's championship hardware following Saturday's 56-37 victory over Gridley.
Among the other teams from the tri-county area, the host RedHawks finished in fourth place and Maxwell, seventh.
Corning 56, Gridley 37
The Cardinals were nearly matched bucket-for-bucket by Gridley in the first half of the championship contest, with Corning nursing a precarious 24-22 lead at intermission.
Gridley's Tyler Abrego scored the games' first four points from the paint to give Gridley an early lead, and a runner by Juan Magana made it 6-2 after Nick Hoag put Corning on the board from up close. Corning came back with a seven-point run that began with Chayce Maday's drive to the basket, a Michael Shoemaker basket on the doorstep and a 3-pointer by Maday that made it a 9-6 Corning lead.
The Bulldogs' Emerey Haddy answered Maday's trey with one of his own and Abrego hit two from the line, before Hoag put one in off the glass to tie it at 11-11 at the end of the opening quarter.
Neither side was able to put together a sustained run in the second quarter, as Corning's 24-19 bulge was its biggest until Abrego's 3-pointer at the buzzer made it 24-22 at the half.
The halftime discussion in the Corning locker room centered around intensity, and in the second half the Cardinals practiced what coach Bill Mache preached.
"We came out with energy," said Shoemaker of the refocused Cardinals of the second half. "Coach emphasized to come out with energy and limit turnovers, and hold Gridley back."
And hold them they did, as the Cardinals pulled away with a 17-6 third quarter.
Six different players contributed to the scoring run, led by five points from Shoemaker, four by Hoag, and two apiece from Maday, Cody Long, Justin Pye and Trevor Skousen.
The Bulldogs were leashed to just four points from Abrego and a bucket by Shobi Khan.
"We were a little too relaxed the first half, they got complacent," Mache explained. "It was a good teachable moment. We took more time on offense, cut harder and set better screens. We had more energy on both ends of the floor."
That energy carried over into the fourth quarter, as the cardinals built up a 20-point and coasted to the tourney championship.
Shoemaker finished with a team-high 17 points and was named the tournament MVP. Hoag was second in the scorebook with 12 points and Maday finished with 10.
Abrego paced the Bulldogs with 15 points.
Hoag and Long joined Shoemaker on the all-tournament team.
The Cardinals opened play Thursday with a 53-40 win over Sutter, as Shoemaker put up 24 points and Hoag, 12. Shoemaker grabbed 12 rebounds for a double-double.
On Friday, Shoemaker put up 16 and Maday nine in limited action, as Corning substituted often and got nine players into the scoring column.
Corning (12-0) is off until Jan. 3, when they host the Corning Shootout.
Corning 56, Gridley 37
Wheatland 61, Colusa 56
Sutter 61, Winters 49
Maxwell 62, Kelseyville 47
Corning 58, Wheatland 30
Gridley 47, Colusa 27
Winters 49, Maxwell 45
Sutter 72, Kelseyville 38
Corning 53, Sutter 40
Colusa 45, Winters 35
Gridley 63, Maxwell 44
Wheatland 72, Kelseyville 63
CONTACT Craig Purcell at 824-1036 or email@example.com.