OK, so the weather in San Diego was much warmer, Bruce Barnes and the Carson High School boys basketball team are very happy to be back home.
And after splitting four games during the San Diego Winter Classic, capped off by a 70-66 victory against Monte Vista (San Diego) on Monday, the Senators are anxious to play before hometown fans again when the 26th annual Capital Classic tips off Thursday.
The three-day tournament, co-sponsored by the Carson City Host Lions Club and the Nevada Appeal, has four games on the schedule Thursday at Carson High's Morse Burley Gymnasium. Wooster plays Sparks at 3 p.m., McQueen plays Highlands (Sacramento area) at 4:30, Bishop-Manogue plays Elko at 6 p.m., and then at 7:30 p.m., Carson (5-5) plays Spring Creek (1-6). The tournament continues through Saturday.
"It should be a competitive tournament," Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. "There should be some good games; I think everybody is playing better this time of year because they're getting ready for league."
Some quality programs will be represented. McQueen qualified for Nevada's 4A state tournament last season and Manogue won back-to-back 3A state championships in 2000 and 2001. Elko improved its season record to 3-6 Saturday with a 55-46 win against Highland High School in Pocatello, Idaho.
"McQueen has all of their guys out now after football so they're going to be tough," Barnes said. "And Highlands is going to be pretty good. They're supposed to compete for their league championship."
Carson is set up on the same side of the bracket as Sparks (5-3) and Wooster (4-4). The Wooster Colts are led by 5-foot-8 senior guard Julian Hatcher, who scored 46 points in a tournament game last week against Manteca, Calif.
"I don't know if there's a better guard in our league," Barnes said of Hatcher. "He creates problems for anyone. I saw where he had eight 3s when they played St. Ignatius (San Francisco)."
Nevertheless, the Senators are glad to be playing at home.
"Coming back here to the cold was a shock after being in San Diego," Barnes said, chuckling. "But it's always good to come home and play in front of your home crowd Just being comfortable, that makes a big difference."
Ricky Correlli scored 20 points to lead Carson past Monte Vista Monday in a game played at Grossmont High School. The Senators took a 44-36 halftime lead and then held on the rest of the way to win a game in which they only shot 11-for-27 from the free throw line.
"I think going down to San Diego helped us in certain aspects," Barnes said. "Playing with a shot clock really does change a game, it creates a different kind of pressure, but I think we learned some things that hopefully will help us out down the road."
The primary objective, Barnes pointed out, is the start of league play.
"This is kind of the last deal for everyone trying to get ready for next week," he said. "Obviously, we want to win, but our focus right now is on next week."
Carson opens its Sierra League season on Friday, Jan. 3, at home against South Tahoe.
Note ... Archbishop Alder, from the Dayton suburb of Kettering, Ohio, defeated Reed in the championship game of last year's Capital Classic, 63-58.
at Carson High School
Thursday: Wooster-Sparks, 3 p.m.; McQueen-Highlands (Sacramento), 4:30; Bishop-Manogue-Elko, 6 p.m.; Carson-Spring Creek, 7:30 p.m.
Friday: Consolation bracket games at 2:30 and 4:05 p.m., championship bracket semifinals at 5:40 and 7:15.
Saturday: Seventh-place game at 1:15 p.m., consolation finals at 2:50 p.m., third-place game at 4:25 p.m., championship game at 6 p.m.