When Jack Tarango started the Legacy Tip-Off Classic, the Longhorns’ boys basketball coach simply wanted to ensure his team would play a few quality early-season games.
Now in its third year, the event is growing into one of the biggest in the area.
The three-day Legacy Tip-Off Classic opens Thursday with 20 teams participating in two tournaments at Legacy, Cheyenne and Mojave. The championship game of the 12-team, pool-play tournament is scheduled for 5:30 p.m. Saturday at Legacy, followed by the eight-team Financial Bracket final at 7:15.
“It’s getting bigger and bigger every year,” Tarango said. “Sometimes when you go away to a tournament, you get two or three bad games. With (this tournament), there’s quality games for the most part. … It doesn’t have the pizzaz of (Bishop Gorman’s Tarkanian Classic) or anything like that. But you’ll see some solid basketball.”
In addition to the host Longhorns, who will play in the Financial Bracket, eight teams from Southern Nevada are scheduled to participate. This year’s event also will have more of an international flavor than in the past.
The pool-play tournament features two teams from Canada, led by Tamanawis, the top team in British Columbia with three players listed at 6 feet 6 inches or taller. It includes two teams from the Australia Basketball Digest (AUBD), a basketball academy in Melbourne run by former NBA guard Sedale Threatt and his son Sedale Threatt Jr.
“There’s a good talent base,” Tarango said. “It will be interesting as a fan to see how players from across the globe play. These will be higher-level players who go through training.”
The Legacy Tip-Off Classic had eight teams during its first year and increased to 12 last year. Centennial, which advanced to the Division I state title game, defeated Division I-A state runner-up Clark 79-74 in the 2012 title game.
Each participating team is guaranteed four games this year, and Tarango said he envisions the tournament continuing to grow.
“It would be great to get to 32 (teams),” Tarango said. “With the amount of days we have, it’s hard to have one big tournament. But it’s nice to get quality teams from out of state to come to Las Vegas. … A lot of teams are at least second-year participants, which shows they appreciate what we do.”
■ TITLE GAME TELEVISED — The NIAA Division I football state championship game between Reed and four-time defending champion Bishop Gorman will be aired live on KVMY (Cable 12) on Saturday. Kickoff is scheduled for 1:07 p.m. at Sam Boyd Stadium.
Gorman, which hasn’t lost to a team from Nevada since 2008, defeated Reed 49-24 in last season’s Division I state semifinals.
■ SOCCER HONORS — Faith Lutheran and Pahrump Valley each had three players named to the Division I-A all-state girls soccer first team.
The Crusaders’ Kristi Chinn, Emily Neighbors and Kendall Pori joined the Trojans’ Sydney Sladek, Courtney Lindsay and Alexis Smith on the 12-player first team.
Contact reporter David Schoen at email@example.com or 702-387-5203. Follow him on Twitter: @DavidSchoenLVRJ.