Over the past 60 years, the Gridley Invitational Basketball tournament has built the reputation of being one of the top high school basketball tournaments in California. This year looks to be no different as a number of the best high school athletes in California make their way to the small town of Gridley. Two-time GIBT Champion Salesian of Richmond returns to GIBT once again, hoping to reclaim their dominance. Last year, the Pride defended the GIBT crown against Bullard High—a newcomer to the tournament. Salesian expected to take a third GIBT title, but Bullard had other plans. The Knights went on to knock the Pride off their throne in a thrilling 60-54 victory. Still, the Pride finished out the season at 30-4, 10-0 with a league title and a section title. They made their way to the second round of the CIF State tourney before being knocked out by Sheldon 63-59. The reigning champs will also make their way back to Gridley for the 60th Annual GIBT. The Knights finished the 2012-13 season with only three losses—to Centennial (26-3), Sheldon (27-6), and Westchester (29-7). The Knights earned a league championship and a section championship after going 27-3, 10-0 last season. They lost in the first round of the CIF State Playoffs to Westchester 60-58. Also returning, Newark Memorial. The Cougars finished in third place at the 59th GIBT over Dublin High School, and went on to finish out the season 23-8, 14-0 winning both the Mission Valley League title and the North Coast Section DII title. Newark Memorial was knocked out of the CIF State postseason in the first round by Archbishop Mitty—who made their way to the CIF Championship game but lost 50-45 to Mater Dei. The final team to make their way back to Gridley from last season is Sacramento High School. The Dragons finished the 2012-13 season 25-9, 13-1 and first in the Metro League. The Dragons lost to Grant High 72-69 in the Sac-Joaquin Section semifinals. Sac also advanced to the DII Regional semifinals, but fell to Dublin High School—who finished in fourth place at the GIBT last season—by a score of 81-76. The 60th GIBT welcomes the return of past GIBT champion Archbishop Riordan High School out of San Francisco. The Crusaders were named GIBT Champions in 2006. They also appeared in 1990, 1991, 1994, and 1995. Archbishop Riordan made their way to the Final Four of the Division IV CIF State Boys Basketball Championship Tournament last season but were knocked out in a 73-66 loss to Cardinal Newman. Two teams make their first appearance at the 2013 GIBT— Capital Christian of Sacramento and Campolindo of Moraga. The reigning Sac-Joaquin Section Champion Capital Christian posted a 26-5 record in 2012-13 before losing 50-36 in the Regional Finals to St. Joseph Notre Dame. Campolindo was sent home from the Division III CIF State Tournament last season after a 55-52 loss to Sacred Heart Cathedral in the semifinals. Gridley finished the 2012-2013 season with an overall record of 17-11, 5-3 and a second place finish in the Butte View League behind Orland. Gridley advanced to the second round of the NSCIF playoffs last year, but lost in a close match against Corning High School 50-43 before the Cardinals went on to win the Northern Section title. However, the Bulldogs will be without three of their top players from last season. Standout forward Tyler Abrego (17.8 PPG, 12.5 RPG, and 1.4 BPG), Leo Espinoza (8.7 PPG, 5.5 RPG) and Matt Scott (7.3 PPG, 6.2 RPG, 1.2 BPG) all graduated this past year. But Gridley still has a number of weapons returning. Along with several others, three key returners on Gridley’s roster include Shobi Khan, Emery Haddy, and Samuel Cota. Khan finished third in scoring last season with 5.5 ppg. Haddy and Cota were not far behind with 5.3 ppg. Cota, who started last season as a freshman, averaged 4.2 boards per game and was third in steals behind Abrego and Espinoza. This year’s GIBT looks to be as exciting as the previous. Will Bullard be able to defend their title? Will the Pride reclaim the throne? Will one of the newcomers steal the show? Or will the Bulldogs finally claim what is rightfully theirs? If you want to find out, don’t miss the 60th Annual Gridley Invitational Basketball Tournament staring December 12 through 14 inside Farmer’s Hall!