MLK events honor slain civil rights leader

The Riverside MLK event is one of but many one-day invitationals state-wide being held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday) to honor King, killed by an assassin's bullet in 1968.

When Riverside Martin Luther King Jr. High School opened in 2000, it was natural the school would want to honor the slain civil rights leader.

 

"I arrived in 2001 and it was my impression that the school wanted to do something to honor its namesake," King athletic director John Masi said.

 

The school organized the MLK Invitational, that on Monday will boast seven games, including two morning girls' games.

 

The Riverside MLK event is one of but many one-day invitationals state-wide being held on Martin Luther King Jr. Day (Monday) to honor King, killed by an assassin's bullet in 1968.

 

"It's grown into a big event," Masi said. "The local press will come out and there will be some readings at halftime and a lot of high school and college coaches will be there. It's a good day to talk and meet people and recruit. It's a long day - I'll tell you that."

 

The Riverside King event begins with the Riverside Poly girls playing Moreno Valley at 10 a.m. That will be followed by the Ayala girls vs. Las Vegas Desert Vista at 11:45 a.m.

 

The balance of the schedule is all boys' games, beginning with Moreno Valley Rancho Verde vs. Los Angeles Price at 1:30 p.m., defending Southern Section champion Ontario Colony led by guard Stedman Merritt (21 points per game) vs. Las Vegas Durango at 3:15, Riverside North vs. San Bernardino San Gorgonio at 5, Perris vs. Etiwanda at 6:45 and Riverside King vs. San Bernardino Cajon at 8:15 p.m.

 

San Gorgonio (15-2) is paced by hot-shooting guard Alex Jacobs. Host King is led by junior forward Eric Wise (18.5 points per game).

 

Colony coach Jerry De Fabiis likes the competition the event provides and appreciates the significance of honoring King.

 

"It gets our kids some exposure in front of some college coaches and you usually play some good teams in these events," De Fabiis said. "All of our non-league games are one-day events. It's a good way to get ready for the playoffs.

 

"As far as the day is concerned, a lot of our kids look up to (Martin Luther King Jr.) and it's a nice way to celebrate the day by playing a little basketball."

 

In Northern California, the Martin Luther King Jr. Classic featuring two girls' games and four boys' games will take place at the University of California's Haas Pavilion.

 

The girls' games are Antioch Deer Valley vs. Alhambra at 11:30 a.m. and Berkeley St. Mary's vs. Carondelet at 1 p.m.

 

The boys' games feature four of the Bay Area's top 10 teams with Oakland Fremont taking on Pinole Valley at 2:30 p.m., Oakland McClymonds meeting Newark Memorial at 4, San Lorenzo vs. Oakland Castlemont at 5:30 and Concord De La Salle vs. Oakland Skyline at 7.

 

De La Salle is the defending CIF-State Division I champion.

 


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