3-day tournament projected to add $1 million to the Placer Valley economy
Roseville, Calif. – Some of the best-known and most highly recruited girls’ high school basketball players will compete in the first-ever Girls California Live 23 tournament Thursday through Saturday at the Roebbelen Center in Roseville, attracting about 4,000 athletes, coaches and fans – and scoring more than $1 million in revenue for the Placer Valley economy.
Girls California Live 23 starts 9 a.m. each day and games continue into the evening at the Roebbelen Center located @the Grounds, 700 Event Center Drive in Roseville. Daily admission is $10 per person.
About 100 teams – from San Diego to Washington, including several from the Sacramento region – will participate in Girls California Live 23, the first in the state since the NCAA approved such tournaments in 2019.
“Girls California Live 23 is a first-of-its-kind event that highlights the amazing skills of basketball players, and also helps showcase Placer Valley and the Roebbelen Center,” said Kim Summers, Chief Executive Officer of Placer Valley Tourism and @the Grounds.
“It’s a big win for everyone involved, from the high schools and their players to businesses in the community.”Kim Summers, CEO Placer Valley Tourism
The Roebbelen Center’s ability to accommodate 12 full-length basketball courts scored major points with the Bay Area Basketball Coaches Association management team when looking at possible venues in Northern California. Each team will play four or five games during the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF)-approved tournament.
“It’s a unique event in that unlike summer club basketball, this is an NCAA-Certified Scholastic Viewing event for high schools,” said Harold Abend, co-tournament director of Girls California Live 23. “Because of that, this is a great opportunity for the Sacramento area to support girls’ high school basketball – and girls’ sports.”
Top basketball teams
And to watch some of the best girls’ high school basketball teams – including powerhouses Archbishop Mitty of San Jose, La Jolla Country Day of San Diego, Folsom, Windward of Los Angeles, Camas (Washington state), South Medford (Oregon), Bishop O’Dowd of Oakland and Cardinal Newman of Santa Rosa – and some of their soon-to-be NCAA Division I players.
“To have this in your backyard, it’s huge,” said Brittany Woodard, the girls’ basketball head coach at St. Francis High School in Sacramento and a Coaches Advisory Board member of Girls California Live 23. St. Francis will have about 12 players participating in the tournament.
It’s nice to see Sacramento hosting something as big as this, and have girls compete at the highest level.”
Archbishop Mitty guard Morgan Cheli, who has already committed to 11-time national champion University of Connecticut, and reigning Sacramento Bee All Metro Player of the Year and University of California-committed Kamryn Mafua of Folsom High School, are expected to participate in the summer tournament. Bishop O’Dowd’s Devin Cosgriff, who has received several offers from NCAA Division I schools, will also likely play.
The top-of-the class players will draw dozens of Division I women’s basketball coaches to the tournament, as they look for future players and connect with recruits who have already committed to their schools.
“This is a great opportunity for players to rise to the occasion, and do it in front of college coaches,” said Woodard, who played basketball at the University of Nevada, Reno, and Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo. “It allows the girls to grow and compete. Tournaments like this really push your limits.”
Girls California Live 23 will help coaches evaluate players’ basketball skills but also their leadership and teamwork.
“Coaches are always interested to see how players interact with their teammates,” said Steven White, head coach of the girls’ basketball team at Oak Ridge High School in El Dorado Hills. Oak Ridge will have about 15 girls playing in the Girls Live California tournament. “And fans get to see how the elite athletes perform.”
NCAA approved tournament
Girls California Live 23, one of only 14 NCAA-approved high school tournaments for girls nationwide, will attract hard-core hardcourt fans and those just looking to catch a glimpse of the next Aliyah Boston or Caitlin Clark (University of Iowa).
Those players – and many others – have helped women’s basketball become more popular in recent years. For example, the Women’s Final Four semifinal games in April had more than 4.5 million viewers, a 66% increase compared to a year ago, according to ESPN. And attendance for the opening games of the WNBA season in May increased 21% compared to a year ago.
Girls California Live 23 is a “brand new thing in California,” Abend said. “It’s going to provide a lot of opportunities for high schools and players.”