Hawks hosting fall basketball tournament
After a hectic 2020-21 basketball season, the Liberty Hawks and 16 other schools are meeting in the Madera Ranchos for a two-game showcase for players and coaches to shake some rust off before the upcoming season.
Along with Liberty, the Madera Coyotes and the Madera South Stallions will also make an appearance in the Liberty Boys Basketball Fall League.
The Hawks have a strong core of returning players, including the Madera Tribune’s Boys Basketball MVP Carson Stephens, who looks to take the Hawks back to the playoffs in 2021.
The showcase is meant for the players, but also for the community. If interested in watching high-level basketball, take a trip to the Liberty gym Saturday morning.
“We weren’t able to play this time of year last year so, we are excited to be able to play and play some good competition,” Liberty head coach Johnny Gonzales said. “We have a lot of schools coming out looking to get some games in. It is something we needed to have back home again.”
Normally, Liberty would have a summer league, but due to changes with scheduling and other factors, Gonzales had to adapt.
Teams that will be in attendance include Sierra-Tollhouse, Selma, Yosemite-Oakhurst, Reedley, Kerman, McLane-Fresno, Minarets, Fowler, Morro Bay, Mariposa, Turlock Christian, LeGrand, Kennedy-Delano and Firebaugh.
The league will continue until Oct. 2.
“We are trying to play as many games as we can,” Gonzales said.
With the implementation of a new playoff system that will put schools in higher divisions if they play well and beat strong teams, it is important for schools like Liberty to get more exposure to good teams.
In fact, the Hawks have a Division I opponent scheduled in November.
“The better and bigger schools we play, the better position we can be in at the end of the year. It is going to be interesting how this season pans out, but we want to make sure we are ready when the time comes,” Gonzales said.
Along with the change in the playoff format, a mask mandate is back within sports based off a ruling by CIF. Masks must be worn during the showcase at Liberty.
“It’s going to be a lot of fun for the kids and also the parents. We want everyone to come out and support the players and the schools,” Gonzales said.