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Basketball 2

The Napa Wine Valley Tournament, now in its 44th year, begins on Thursday with four games at Messner Gym.

The tournament, founded by former Napa High School head basketball coach Denny Lewis, features the Indians and Vintage Crushers. Each of the eight teams is guaranteed three nonleague games over the three days.

In Thursday’s first-round games:

* Vintage-Antelope, 3:30 p.m.

* Bethel (Vallejo)-Pioneer (Woodland), 5 p.m.

* El Capitan (Merced)-Vallejo, 6:30 p.m.

* Napa-Delta (Clarksburg), 8 p.m.

Oceanside, last year’s champion, is not in the field.

Zack Cook, Napa’s head coach and the tournament director, said he does not know too much about the other teams. However, he said Antelope, which was 15-12 last year, is the favorite to win the title.

“They’ve got a lot of guys back,” said Cook.

El Capitan, off to a 2-0 start, could also be in the running to take the championship. El Capitan has wins over Ceres, 66-40, and Enochs-Modesto, 71-51.

Napa won its opener, 54-46, over Santa Rosa, and also beat Pioneer in a CIF Sac-Joaquin Section Foundation Game, 58-36.

“We’re playing well,” said Cook. “The team is working really hard. They get along really well in practice and off the court. They’re playing for each other. And that’s the name of the game – playing for each other and understanding that the team comes before your own individual goals and needs.”

Cook is pleased with the way his team is moving the ball and making passes on offense. He also likes the half-court man defense.

“Nobody is concerned with who scores the most points,” said Cook. “We’ve got 10 guys and everyone right now is in the rotation. If we can keep playing well, doing that, then we’ll keep doing that, keeping guys fresh and keeping everybody in the game.”

Vintage is 0-1 following a season-opening loss to Northgate-Walnut Creek, 50-37.

Friday’s second-round games start at 3:30, 5, 6:30 and 8 p.m.

Saturday’s final-round games begin at 10:30 a.m., noon, 1:30 and 3 p.m.

The tournament, a fund-raiser for the Napa High boys basketball program, will name a most valuable player. An All-Tournament team will be selected.

Antelope won its season opener, 74-52, over Rosemont-Sacramento.

Delta lost its opener to Rio Vista, 55-13.

Pioneer lost its opener, 78-57 to El Dorado-Placerville.

Sutter Home tournament begins Thursday

The 46th annual Sutter Home Classic tips off Thursday at St. Helena High, featuring eight North Coast Section teams.

There are four games played each day over the three-day event. The first two days, the first game begins at 4 p.m. and the night cap is scheduled to start at 8:30 p.m. On Saturday, the consolation games begin at 2 p.m. and the championship starts at 6:30 p.m.

In the field are Roseland University Prep, John Swett, Rincon Valley Christian, Healdsburg, El Molino, Piner, Calistoga and host St. Helena.

The Saints open the tournament – and their season – against Upvalley rival Calistoga at 8:30 p.m. Thursday night.

They will look to repeat and possibly improve on last year’s performance when they lost to Healdsburg in the championship game, 63-52.

Napa Valley Register sports reporter Yousef Baig contributed to this report.

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Executive Sports Editor

Executive Sports Editor Marty James has been with the Napa Valley Register since 1979. He is a member of the Associated Press Sports Editors, California Prep Sportswriters Association, and the California Golf Writers Association. He was inducted into the