40th Ken Baker Basketball Tournament

40th Ken Baker Hoops Tournament this weekend

submitted by Randee Arcularius

The 40th Annual Ken Baker Basketball Tournament will be held on Saturday, December 12th at the Bishop High School Gymnasium.  Tip-off is at 8:00 a.m. and a full day of exciting basketball is planned as 8 teams from Lee Vining to Lone Pine participate in this traditional junior high school tournament.

The Ken Baker Tournament began in Round Valley in 1975 and was started by then Superintendent-Principal Ken Baker. It has run continuously for 40 years.   It is one of, if not the longest, established junior high tournament in California.  Ken Baker and his wife Cindy are retired and living in Polo, Missouri.

Ken was recently contacted to share some of his memories from the tournament.  He remembers fondly, “My favorite tournament was in 1976.  One reason was probably because we won it.  But mostly, it was because of the fine group of players I had on the team.  We started three seventh graders, Tim Reid, Mike Fix and Jeff Russell.  They were anchored by eighth graders Wayne Kilgore, Hans Bannemer, David Hayes and David Jarvis.  We also had plenty of bench strength with the likes of Scott Roripaugh, Paul Lake, Clifton Howell, Mike Kobalt, Steve Forkush and Crispin Chaparro.  I just loved the way these kids pulled together.  They finished the season 15-0, having won the new Jr. High League championship as well.  The most exciting tourney was a little later when Round Valley hooked up against a strong team out of Ridgecrest.  We met them in the championship game and the Rovana gym was packed and loud for the game.  The game was close and exciting all the way and was tied up with something like 7 seconds left.  We had the ball out of bounds and, unfortunately, made a bad inbound pass that was intercepted and led to a lay-up for Ridgecrest as the buzzer went off.  It was truly a great game by any standards.”

A tournament with this long standing and proud history could not have been sustained without the unwavering support of current and previous Round Valley administrators, teacher/coaches, and community volunteer coaches.  Also vital to its success has been the strong community support with local referees, score keepers, and clock operators donating their skills and expertise. This year the Round Valley Eighth Grade class will be providing the snack bar treats as they work to earn money for their annual Catalina trip.
As the 40th Annual tournament approaches, many community members are remembering the times that they played in this exciting tournament and are now watching their children participate.

The list of Top All Tournament Scorers is documentation of the value of this tournament as it provides an opportunity for young players to improve their skills and learn the importance of being a member of a team.  Many of the people on that list have gone on to be top players at the high school level and some of them to play at the college level.  Many of these alumni of the tournament are community leaders and volunteers that are a vital part of our communities today.  The Ken Baker Basketball Tournament has more than achieved its original goals and everyone is invited to come and support our youth and dedicated volunteers and school personnel as the 40th year goes down in the long and proud history books.  Ken Baker would like the community to know that, “I am am grateful and somewhat surprised that our little tournament has survived and thrived for all these 40 years.  It is such a great experience for these young athletes.  Memories and bonds are made that last a lifetime.  I thank all the good people of Round Valley for continuing this tradition.”  Thank you Ken Baker for your wisdom and dedication in establishing this incredible tournament that proudly bears your name.


40th Annual Ken Baker Tournament
Saturday, December 12th, 2015 at Bishop Union High School
Game 1 – 8:00: Round Valley vs Big Pine
Game 2 – 8:45: Bishop “A” vs Owens Valley
Game 3 – 9:30: Lone Pine vs Bishop “B”
Game 4 – 10:15: Mammoth vs Lee Vining
Game 5 – 11:00: Loser of Game 1 vs Loser of Game 2
Game 6 – 11:45: Winner of Game 1 vs Winner of Game 2
Game 7 – 12:30: Loser of Game 3 vs Loser of Game 4
Game 8 – 1:15: Winner of Game 3 vs Winner of Game 4
Game 9 – 2:00: 7th / 8th place Game
Game 10 – 2:45: 3rd / 4th place Game
Game 11 – 3:30: Consolation Championship
Game 12 – 4:15: Championship
**Games will be consist of 15 minute running halves.
***Snack Bar will be open

ken baker basketball tournament, round valley school