Talented field assembled for Capital Classic | NevadaAppeal.com

Talented field assembled for Capital Classic

Dave Price

Archbishop Alter’s Joe Petrocelli, one of the coaching legends of Ohio high school basketball, will be on hand … so are the Reed Raiders and McQueen Lancers, teams that expect to be part of Northern Nevada’s playoff party come February … as well as Michael and Jeff Maehl, a Paradise High combo that has emerged as a top scoring in California’s Northern Section already this season.

Yes, the 28th annual Capital Classic at Carson High School’s Morse Burley Gymnasium is tipping off today with a quality eight-team field. Action gets under way at 3 p.m. when Spring Creek takes on Paradise (Calif.), Dayton faces Reed at 4:30, McQueen plays Archbishop Alter (Kettering, Ohio) at 6, and host-Carson takes on Damonte Ranch in the evening finale at 7:30.

Though not part of the tournament schedule, one other game will be played at 1:30 p.m. today between Dayton and Central Valley (Shasta Lake, Calif.). The Central Valley Falcons will also play two games on Wednesday – Reed at 11:30 a.m. and McQueen at 2:40 p.m.- during their three-day visit to Carson City, though none of the games will figure into the tournament bracketing.

“It should be a pretty good tournament,” Carson coach Bruce Barnes said. “You’re talking about some pretty good teams. Alter is a basketball school, a team that ended up losing to LeBron James for the state championship a couple of years ago. Reed is very strong and McQueen’s as athletic as anybody in the North. And Paradise had a real good team last year, and they pretty much have everybody back.”

Of course, Barnes well remembers the championship of last year’s Capital Classic when the Carson Senators emerged as 69-64 victors against Reed in a double overtime thriller. Carson is now 3-6 after dropping two of three games last week at the Nugget Rail City Classic in Sparks and will open against Damonte Ranch (5-6). The Senators lost their last game at the Sparks tournament 60-51 against El Camino (Sacramento) on Friday.

“We played well in spurts,” Barnes said after the El Camino game. “The bright spot tonight was that the kids worked so hard. They understand what they need to work on, and that’s important because our goal right now is to try and get ready for January (to start league).”

The Senators were hindered in that game by 17 turnovers and subpar shooting from the field, especially missed shots from the inside.

“We lost because of turnovers and because we missed way too many shots from inside the paint,” Barnes said. “Like I told the guys, it was a shame because they fought hard to get the ball inside, and they weren’t able to convert.”

Reed, the defending Northern 4A Regional Tournament champion, has an 8-1 record so far this season that includes an 87-85 win over Hug in the Nugget Rail City Classic championship game on Saturday. The Raiders open against the Dayton Dust Devils (7-2), who are coming off a tough 54-52 loss at Spanish Springs on Saturday.

“We’re happy to be in the Capital Classic,” Dayton coach Rob Streeter said. “I worked the tournament for five years when I was over at Carson, now I’m looking forward to bringing a team over there.

“We’ve got four games and all four are going to be good tests for our kids because they’re going to get a look at some very good teams.”

Tonight’s clash between McQueen (3-4) and Alter shapes up as a good one.

The Alter Knights are always a team to contend with under the direction of Petrocelli, who has been at the Dayton area school for the past 40 years. His overall record was 700-228 coming into this season, including Capital Classic and state championships during the 2001 season, and a game as head coach of the 1978 McDonald’s All-America. Petrocelli is the second winningest coach in Ohio history.

Alter was also the runner-up in Ohio’s Division II state tournament in 2003 by virtue of a 40-36 loss to St. Vincent-St. Mary of Akron, and James, who scored 25 of his team’s points in the last game before he became the No. 1 overall pick of the NBA draft.

Alter was 9-12 in 2003-04 – the program’s first losing season in 34 years – and has a returning nucleus that is led by Andy Dorow (the only returning starter), Danny Fortner and Matt Krystofik. There’s some athleticism in the group because Krystofik (6-3, 200) was recently named as a first-team linebacker on the Associated Press Division III All-Ohio high school football team and Dorow was a second-team all-state soccer goalkeeper.

Paradise was 13-13 last season, including a 60-59 semifinal loss to Carson in the Capital Classic semifinals, and Michael Maehl led the Bobcats every statistical category (17.8 points per game). Maehl was named as a preseason All-Northern Section player by MaxPreps.com, and he has been joined as a threat in the lineup by his younger brother, sophomore Jeff, who scored 31 points in a 78-67 win over Sutter on Dec. 8.

Contact Dave Price at dprice@nevadaappeal.com or call 881-1220.