IMPERIAL – Every year at the start of the season, the Imperial Tigers basketball association hosts a tournament in early December that has become known as the Imperial Tiger Classic, bringing teams from all over the Imperial Valley, Yuma, and San Diego area to participate. This year, the tourney was held Dec. 4-9.
On the Tigers’ home court, the Imperial team began play Tuesday, Dec. 5 in their first game of the season against Desert Mirage. Moving through this match, both teams fought back and forth until the Tigers pushed through for the win with a score of 62-49.
The Tigers’ next game was the following day against the Yuma Criminals, and the Tigers fought until the end to take their second win with a closer score of 65-61. During the match with the Criminals, Imperial stayed ahead until the third period when the Criminals put up 20 points to take the lead. However, the Tigers bounced back in the fourth with 23 points, while the Criminals only managed 21, giving the Tigers their four-point victory.
Despite two imposing wins from the Tigers, the Brawley Wildcats showed up to play. For the Wildcats first match, they faced off against Coachella Valley High School. The Wildcats took control all through the game to defeat the Arabs 73-32.
Following their win against the Arabs, the Wildcats came back to Imperial on Friday the 8th to take a second win in a game against the Yuma Criminals. The Wildcats managed to take a four-point lead in the first period with a score of 17-13. Moving through the second and third periods, Brawley put up 21 points in both periods to secure their lead. To close out the game, the Wildcats defeated the Criminals, 73-48. The Wildcats’ streak would end, however, with a loss to Valley Center, 80-43.
Despite the losses of the other two Valley teams, the third local team of the Calipatria Hornets ran through the tournament to make it all the way to the championship. To start things off, the Hornets faced off against Desert Mirage for the first game of the tournament. The game went back and forth until the Hornets gained leverage to defeat Desert Mirage, 65-57.
The Hornets then moved on to face the Arabs from Coachella, and Calipat dominated by 26 points to walk away with the win. Moving down the roster of teams, the Hornets faced the Tigers next. What began as a close match ended with it slipping away from Imperial, catapulting the Hornets to their third consecutive win in the Tiger Classic tourney.
After defeating their host and opponent, it was time for the Calipatria Hornets to fire up for the Tiger Classic Championship game against Valley Center High School’s Jaguars.
Both teams battled back and forth during the first quarter, and the Hornets maintained a four-point lead. However, during the second period, the Jaguars fought back to even the playing field. By end of the last two periods of play, the Hornets regained their momentum to walk away as Classic champions with a 72-60 victory.