A number of area girls basketball teams annually sign up for the Santa Barbara Tournament of Champions.

That was the case this season, with a handful of teams ready to compete this week in one of the top tournaments in the state.

However, the the Santa Barbara TOC was canceled late last week due to the area wildfires, namely the Thomas Fire in Santa Barbara and Ventura counties.

So, Righetti basketball coach Desiree Hitch hatched a plan. To host a tournament in Santa Maria instead.

So Hitch teamed up with St. Joseph coach Ed Torres and there will be a slew of games at Righetti and St. Joseph high schools starting on Thursday.

As of Monday night, there were 18 games scheduled from Thursday to Saturday.

The tournament will tip-off with a pair of 4:30 p.m. games on Thursday, with Arroyo Grande taking on Hanford, a Central Section power, at 4:30 p.m. at St. Joseph and Cupertino facing Lompoc at Righetti.

St. Joseph will then take on Nipomo at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph and Hanford's Sierra Pacific faces San Luis Obispo at the same time at Righetti.

The Thursday night finale will feature Righetti taking on Santa Ynez at Righetti at 7:30 p.m.

Righetti will face Hanford on Friday night at 6 p.m. at home while St. Joseph will take on Lompoc at 7:30 p.m. at St. Joseph. Lompoc coach Claudia Terrones, who won a state title while playing for St. Joseph, will coach against her alma mater and former coach in that contest.

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Arroyo Grande and Santa Ynez will square off Friday night at 6 p.m. at St. Joseph and Nipomo takes on Sierra Pacific at 4:30 p.m. at Righetti.

Saturday features eight games. Lompoc will face Hanford at St. Joseph at 9 a.m. Righetti takes on Sierra Pacific at Righetti at 10:30 a.m. while Arroyo Grande faces its neighbor Nipomo at St. Joseph.

San Luis Obispo is set to face Santa Ynez at St. Joseph at 12 p.m. and Arroyo Grande will battle Sierra Pacific at 1:30 p.m. at St. Joseph. The Knights will take on Santa Ynez at home at 3 p.m. and Hanford will face SLO at the same time at Righetti.

The tournament finale should feature Righetti against Nipomo at home at 4:30 p.m.

The tournament games are open to the public with admission at $6 for adults and $4 for students with ID and children.

Joe Bailey is the sports editor at Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Contact him with tips and story ideas at jbailey@leecentralcoastnews.com or (805) 739-2239. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/jbaileysmsports

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