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Grizzlies, Rotary join forces for hoops tourney

December 8, 2005

Ashland High boys&

basketball coach Rick Cornelius wanted more home games in December. Ashland Rotary Club President Pete Belcastro wanted a chance to showcase his club&

s loyalty to Ashland High.

So the two put their heads together, and the result is this week&

s inaugural Ashland Rotary Hoop Classic.

The four-team tournament runs Friday through Saturday, with the championship game set to tipoff at 4 p.m. Friday&

s first round features Ashland versus Enver Creek (B.C.) at 7 p.m., with Port Angeles (Wash.) and North Valleys (Nev.) opening the tourney at — p.m. in the other semifinal game. The losers will play in the third-place game at Noon Saturday.

The Classic was supposed to include a four-team girls&

tournament as well, but two teams backed out, leaving the Ashland High girls with two more regular season games this week but no chance for a tournament title. The Grizzlies will play Phoenix at 5 p.m. Friday and Yreka at 2 p.m. Saturday. The Ashland girls will be a part of the Classic next season, according to Belcastro.

The Ashland boys enter the tourney unscathed at 2-0 following two home wins last week over Mazama and Yreka. The Grizzlies are led by senior forward Josh Cornelius, Rick Cornelius&

son, senior guard Sam Littleton, senior guard Colin Reinstedt and senior center Ryan Pittman.

&

You always want to be successful, especially when you&

re at home, but it&

s more important that we play good, competitive teams because while we&

re out here playing our Mazama&

s and Yreka&

s, Grants Pass is playing Canby and Springfield,&

said Rick Cornelius, who last season guided Ashland to its first playoff appearance since 1991. &

So, I think it&

s really important that, more than pride and &

145;we want to win&

and all that stuff, really as a coaching staff what we&

re looking for are good quality games where our kids can be tested so we can find out what we know about ourselves and how we match up against good teams.&

The Ashland Rotary will be housing and feeding the three visiting teams, starting with a Friday lunch at the Ashland Elks Lodge. The AHS Booster Club will be operating the concession stands and the AHS Interact Club is providing halftime entertainment. Admission to all games is free.

The Ashland Rotary Club is the largest contributor of scholarships at Ashland High. Through the Ashland Rotary Foundation, the club awarded over $26,000 to Ashland High seniors last school year. Rotarians also sponsor the Ashland Drug Awareness program, the Rotary International Youth Exchange program, the AHS Interact Club, the Ashland Schools Foundation, the AHS health clinic, the third-grade Dictionary Project and the Grizzly Sports Program publication.

At halftime of Friday night&

s Ashland-Enver Creek game the Ashland Rotary Club will present a $9,000 check to AHS athletic director Karl Kemper for various athletics projects. The club will also make a contribution to the booster club. Last year, Grizzly Sports Program funds were used to purchase four portable baskets, which Ashland&

s boys&

and girls&

teams use during practices.

Sports editor can be reached at 482-3456 ext. 3020 or joe.zavala@dailytidings.com.