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Santa Barbara Girls Basketball Tournament of Champions Cancelled Due to Thomas Fire

The Thomas Fire has forced another local athletic event to be cancelled.

Santa Barbara High’s girls basketball Tournament of Champions was called off on Saturday. The tournament was scheduled to run Wednesday through Saturday (Dec. 20-23) at the Santa Barbara and San Marcos gyms.

The 32-team, two-division tournament features many of the top teams in the state and is one of the longest running girls tournaments in California.

"We apologize for all the inconvenience of the tournament and the loss of games,” tournament co-director Aaron Solis said in an email to coaches and the media.

Several coaches from schools out of the area have offered to host games, but they would not be part of the tournament.

This is the fourth cancellation of a prep basketball tournament in the Santa Barbara area because of the massive Thomas Fire. The Gold Coast at San Marcos, Jim Bashore Classic in Carpinteria and Dan Mercer Classic in Carpinteria were cancelled.

The status of the Santa Barbara High boys’ basketball Holiday Classic (Dec. 27-30) has yet to be determined. 

The fire and unhealthy air quality has prevented all prep winter sports teams — boys and girls basketball and soccer, girls water polo and boys wrestling — from practicing and playing.

The Santa Barbara Unified School District cancelled all athletic events, home and away, for school teams last week.

The district instructed athletic directors Sunday that teams will be allowed to travel to competitions outside of the fire's impact this week, but the travel must be approved by the principal.

"Principals must personally approve of these travels, ensuring that the area of the competition has good air quality and is outside the fire's reach," the district said in a memo to athletic directors. "In addition, these travels should be completely voluntary (no consequence if a student choses not to participate) and must require specific parent permission to travel.

"All home games and practices continue to be cancelled."

All the Santa Barbara schools are currently on winter break through Jan. 2. Carpinteria High classes resume on Jan. 8.

Noozhawk sports editor Barry Punzal can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk Sports on Twitter: @NoozhawkSports. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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