REEDLEY – Reedley High School and its boys basketball program last week formally launched an annual tradition that perennially will honor one of its former athletes, fallen Selma police officer Gonzalo Carrasco Jr.
The inaugural Gonzalo Carrasco Memorial Tournament (GCMT), a four-day event featuring 16 schools and 29 scheduled games, began on Jan. 3 and wrapped up Saturday, Jan. 6 at the Reedley High gym. The event has been named in memory of the 24-year-old Carrasco, who was fatally shot in the line of duty while responding to a call in Selma on Jan. 31, 2023.
During a ceremony before the final tournament game on Saturday, the school presented members of the Carrasco family with home and away basketball jerseys Gonzalo wore while playing for the Pirates that were mounted in a special frame. Darren Minami, RHS athletic director, presented the display to the family.
“The Reedley High School Athletics and Basketball programs have renamed the Varsity Boys Basketball Tournament as the Gonzalo Carrasco Memorial Tournament,” school officials announced during the presentation. “With support from Gonzalo’s family and friends we hope to honor Gonzalo’s life of service in an environment that he loved and made so many great memories…this basketball gym.”
On hand to accept the encased jerseys — which will be displayed each year the tournament is played — were Gonzalo’s father, Gonzalo Carrasco Sr.; younger brother Christopher Carrasco; Gonzalo’s young toddler son Maximus Gonzalo Carrasco; and Karla Alvarez, Gonzalo Jr.’s fiancee and mother to Maximus.
Zeke Lyons, Reedley boys basketball head coach, said honoring Carrasco’s memory and athletic career at RHS was an important factor in the formation of the tournament. Also, the tournament is a way to pay tribute to Carrasco’s dedication to law enforcement and his connection to Reedley, where he began his law enforcement career in high school by becoming involved in the Reedley Police Explorers program.
“We wanted to make sure that our tournament meant something, that it wasn’t just four games in January,” Lyons said. “We wanted to make sure to be doing what’s right by the players in our program.”
Gonzalo, a 2016 graduate from RHS, played four years of basketball and volleyball for the Pirates and was a standout on the court in both sports. He is survived by his parents, Gonzalo Sr. and Veronica along with siblings Alma, Paola and Christopher; son Maximus and Karla Alvarez.
Reedley High’s basketball players gave their best tribute possible to Carrasco, winning all four of its games in the tournament. The Pirates (10-9) defeated Avenal (45-37 on Jan. 3), Liberty-Madera Ranchos (65-45, Jan. 4), Mt. Whitney (53-49, Jan. 5) and Parlier (64-31, Jan. 6).
Teams in the tournament were Reedley High, Parlier, Mt. Whitney, Liberty-Madera Ranchos (one game), Avenal, Golden West, Tulare Union, Fowler, Fresno High, Fresno Christian, Kerman, Monache, Yosemite, Frontier, Paso Robles and Madera South (one game).
“We hope you share stories of Gonzalo as a basketball player and the incredible young man he was. Reedley High School and Kings Canyon Unified School District hopes to forever pay tribute to Gonzalo through this tournament,” school officials said at the ceremony.