AMERICAN CANYON — American Canyon High School’s inaugural Martin Luther King Jr. Day Showcase on Monday brought some of the top high school boys basketball teams in the area together for a day chock full of competitive hoops.
Days of organizing and planning finally came to fruition for Wolves head coach Brett Wedding, who spearheaded the event featuring 12 area teams. The games, which ran from 11 a.m. until about 8:30 p.m., were all filmed and livestreamed online by NorCal Sports TV.
On top of that, American Canyon walked away from the event with a 57-46 win over Benicia.
“It’s been great,” Wedding said after his team’s win in the penultimate game of the day. “We’ve seen a lot of good basketball and some great coaches. It’s been a lot of fun. Hopefully we can continue this. For our first year, it’s pretty nice. A lot of people have put a lot of work into it, including myself, coach (Chris) Rapacon and NorCal Sports TV. We’ve put a lot of time into this and it’s been a long day, but it’s been worth it.”
The Wolves improved to 11-10 on the season with their win over the Panthers. They were led by the efforts of junior Roman Madayag (12 points), sophomore Gabriel Patrick and seniors Sam Johannessen and Eric Thomas (eight points each).
The hosts led 14-8 after the first quarter and held Benicia scoreless for most of the second, taking a 19-13 lead into halftime. The Panthers found much more offensive success in the third as they outscored American Canyon 18-17, cutting their deficit to five heading into the fourth.
Wedding thought his team was lackluster throughout the game, but he wasn’t that concerned as they entered the final quarter with a 36-31 lead.
“I wasn’t nervous. I was just waiting for them to wake up a little bit,” he said.
In the fourth, the Wolves did. They opened the quarter with a 9-2 run and used their constant, hounding pressure to keep the Panthers at bay and seal the 11-point victory.
“I’ll take a win,” Wedding said. “We could’ve played much better. Monday, day game, at 5 o’clock, I thought the crowd would be a bit more into it. The guys played how it felt in the gym, a little quiet, but they pulled it out. We went on a nice little run started by Eric’s defense at the end, so that was nice. We’ll definitely need to play better if we want to win more games in league.”
Thomas was named American Canyon’s Player of the Game for his efforts, mainly on the defensive end.
“He’s our defensive catalyst,” Wedding said. “He’s been the spark plug that energizes our team just with his defense. He doesn’t always score a lot of points like some of the other guys. But without his energy on defense, we’re a totally different team. I really appreciate how hard he works on the defensive end, never worrying about offensive glory.”
Following the Wolves’ game, the headliner bout between Menlo-Atherton and Alameda commenced with Alameda pulling out the tight 59-55 win over the Knights (11-6), who entered Monday ranked as a the No. 12 team in the Bay Area News Group’s Top 25 poll.
Alameda (12-8) is the Division II CIF state runner-up from a year ago.
In Monday’s other games, it was Albany 57, Hayward 42; Mission-San Francisco 52, Christian Brothers-Sacramento 41; Rodriguez 66, El Cerrito 54; and Alisal-Salinas 72, Concord 57.
Wedding said he hopes to expand the tournament in future years.
It certainly got off to a good start on Monday.