Eric Sun/Special to The S.F. ExaminerTrevor Dunbar and St. Ignatius are off to a 4-1 start this season

Eric Sun/Special to The S.F. ExaminerTrevor Dunbar and St. Ignatius are off to a 4-1 start this season

St. Ignatius teams will be tested in Sand Dune Classic

From intriguing contrast-of-style matchups to showcasing regional star power to potential rematches of shocking playoff games, there will be plenty of story lines to watch in this week's Leo LaRocca Sand Dune Classic at St. Ignatius.

Which is to say, it will be pretty much par for the course for one of The City's best high school basketball tournaments.

The three-day tournament kicks off Thursday, featuring eight-team brackets for both boys' and girls' competitions.

Named after St. Ignatius' longtime athletic director, the event always features a roster loaded with traditional public- and private-school powers from across the Bay Area (and this year's boys' competition features a team from Oregon as well.)

The St. Ignatius boys' and girls' teams will be looking to defend their titles from last season's Sand Dune Classic. Based on the way things have shaped up so far this season, the boys' team likely faces the most difficult path to the championship.

Led by 5-foot-9 guard Trevor Dunbar, one of the quickest players in San Francisco, the Wildcats will open up against Mission, the defending San Francisco Section champion. The feisty Bears always play at a breakneck pace, differing greatly from the methodical Wildcats, who are more accustomed to operating within a halfcourt set.

However, Dunbar, who has received numerous Division I offers, excels in the open court and is unlikely to shy away from Mission's aggressive style.

“That one will be fun to watch,” St. Ignatius coach Tim Reardon said. “I think Trevor is looking forward to getting out and running for that one.”

If the Wildcats advance, they could eventually face St. Joseph's (Alameda) or Branson (Ross), two Division V state powers who met in last year's Northern California semifinals. St. Joseph's advanced all the way to the state final, and Reardon said his team was manhandled by the Pilots during a preseason scrimmage.

There is also an outside chance that the Wildcats could match up again with Santa Cruz, which is on the other side of the bracket. Although the Cardinals were drubbed 69-45 by St. Ignatius in last year's Sand Dune Classic, they came back to pull off a stunning 49-48 upset in a rematch in the Central Coast Section semifinals, ending the Wildcats' season.

The St. Ignatius' girls, currently undefeated at 5-0, open with Terra Nova and face a potential second-round matchup with Sacramento powerhouse Kennedy. Kennedy won 24 games last season and is ranked 38th in the state by MaxPreps.com. If the Wildcats get by Kennedy, they could find themselves playing Lowell. The San Francisco Section favorite gave St. Ignatius everything it could in last year's Sand Dune Classic championship game before falling 52-48.

Competing in the ultra-competitive West Catholic Athletic League, Reardon said it's important for both Wildcats teams to schedule tough in-season opponents before conference play begins. The Sand Dune Classic is a perfect chance for the teams to get important experience early in the season.

“If we're not prepared by the time WCAL play comes around, we'll be done for,” said Reardon. “The only way you can get better is to play against quality competition, and we know we're going to face plenty of that in our tournament this year.”

Leo LaRoccaPrep SportsSand Dune ClassicSt. Ignatius

If you find our journalism valuable and relevant, please consider joining our Examiner membership program.
Find out more at www.sfexaminer.com/join/

Just Posted

Mayor London Breed speaks at the grand opening of the Bayview Essential Services Hub at the Southeast Community Facility on Tuesday, Feb. 16, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
San Francisco enters red COVID tier, indoor dining to resume

Museums and gyms can reopen with capacity limits

Cities including San Francisco, Oakland and Berkeley are calling for large grocery and drug store chains to pay employees hazard pay for working during the COVID-19 pandemic. (Shutterstock)
SF proposes $5 hazard pay law for grocery, drug store workers

San Francisco may soon join the growing number of cities requiring large… Continue reading

Hikers walk along a closed stretch of Twin Peaks Boulevard on Friday, Jan. 22, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
SFMTA board to vote on future of Twin Peaks Boulevard

The proposal would keep Burnett Avenue gate closed to vehicles, open Portola Drive

Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Klein collects crayons from students in the classroom at Lupine Hill Elementary School on Monday, Nov. 9, 2020 in Calabasas, California. (Al Seib/Los Angeles Times/TNS)
Newsom, legislators strike deal to reopen California schools

Taryn Luna and John Myers Los Angeles Times Gov. Gavin Newsom and… Continue reading

A sign about proposed development of the bluff at Thornton State Beach in Daly City on Friday, Feb. 26, 2021. (Kevin N. Hume/S.F. Examiner)
Retreat center proposed at popular state beach

Daly City residents oppose construction on ocean bluffs

Most Read