Tradition returned to the Murrieta Valley High School gymnasium this week as the Nighthawk Classic boys basketball tournament got underway.
Six teams are competing for first-place honors in the tournament that is celebrating its 20th anniversary. A championship game is scheduled for Saturday night.
Teams from Linfield Christian, Great Oak, Elsinore, Rancho Verde, Roosevelt, Lake Elsinore Lakeside and Moreno Valley Vista Del Lago high schools, as well as and host Murrieta Valley, are playing evening games throughout the week.
In the opening round played Monday night, defending champion Murrieta Valley and the Lancers from Lake Elsinore Lakeside won their games.
The Nighthawks rolled to a 39-11 halftime lead and held on to beat Vista
del Lago, 62-53.
Murrieta Valley’s Mitchell Lenhart led all scorers with 18 points, while Kevin Padlo had 10 and 11 rebounds and Tyler Bilton added 10 points and 13 rebounds for the Nighthawks.
Coach Steve Tarabilda’s all-junior starting lineup is beginning to come together nicely as it plays more games and adds experience.
Tournament play resumes this Wednesday as Vista Del Lago plays Roosevelt at 5:30 p.m., followed by the Nighthawk-Lakeside Lancer game at 7:30 p.m.
Come out and support the Nighthawks and catch a great game as they attempt to win the Classic for the seventh year in a row.
Game times this week are:
Thursday, Dec. 6
5:30 p.m. Great Oak vs. Rancho Verde
7 p.m. Linfield vs. Elsinore
Friday, Dec. 7
3 p.m. Vista del Lago vs. Lakeside
4:30 p.m. Rancho Verde vs. Linfield
6 p.m. Elsinore vs. Great Oak
7:30 p.m. Roosevelt vs Murrieta Valley
Saturday, Dec. 8
2 p.m. TBA
3:30 p.m. TBA
5:30 p.m. TBA (third and fourth place)
7 p.m. Championship Game