Some of Southern California's finest high school football and basketball players will compete in the Pepsi Grid-Hoops Festival beginning today at noon and concluding Saturday at El Camino College.
Although Banning High will not return to defend its title in the football passing tournament, the 24-team field is highlighted by powers Carson and El Toro. Banning dropped out Wednesday because Coach Joe Dominguez felt he needed more time to develop his young quarterbacks.
"It's a great opportunity for the teams to have a lot of fun, and for us to get a look at who's out there this year," said Andy Bark of Cal-Hi Sports magazine. "There's a lot of talent in Southern California."
Among that talent in the seven-on-seven tournament are quarterbacks Joe Walsh of Carson, Rob Johnson of El Toro, and Chad Davis of Torrey Pines.
"You're talking about three of the best prospects in the nation," said Cal-Hi Sports' Mark Tennis.
In boys' basketball, which begins at 1 p.m. today, Banning and Mira Costa are the favorites. Morningside, Rosamond and defending-champion Palmdale are expected to contend for the girls' basketball title.
Basketball games consist of 20-minute halves with a running clock until the final two minutes of each half.
Winners in each sport receive more than $5,000 worth of equipment, and some proceeds from the festival will go to support El Camino College athletics.