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Memorial created 10-19-2011 by
The Lujan & Garza Family & SPONSORED BY: Kingsburg Newz
Jesse Lujan, Jr
January 6 1994 - July 25 2011

Selma High wins first Jesse Lujan Tournament

The Selma Bears boys basketball team won the first Jesse Lujan Jr. Memorial Tournament with a 57-50 victory over Sierra Jan. 5 at Selma High School. The tournament honored the former Selma High athlete who died in a car accident.

The win moved the Bears record to 9-5 on the year. In the title match, the Bears were coming off a 54-43 victory over Kingsburg on Friday night which advanced them to the finals.

In the game against the Vikings, Kane Cooper was the leading scorer with 23 points including three key baskets at the end of the game to clinch the win. Nick Garcia added 12 points and seven rebounds. Jaspreet Atwal came off the bench to give the Bears 10 points and 10 rebounds.

“Right now every game from here on out is going to be a grind. We just have to find a way to win,” said Selma head coach Mike Pallesi after the Kingsburg game. “Tonight we did. Kingsburg is good. It’s going to be a good league and anyone can win it.”

Parker Coehlo was the leading scorer for the Vikings with 16 points and Eli Singh added nine points. The Vikings were coming off back-to-back victories during the first two days of the tournament. Their first win came in overtime on Thursday, Jan 2, when they defeated Madera South 69-64. The next day Kingsburg took care of Fresno High School 60-54. The Vikings finished in fourth place in the 10-team tournament after falling to Coalinga 70-53 on Jan. 5.

In the Selma/Kingsburg game, the Vikings came out quick scoring the first seven points of the game on two baskets by Singh and a three pointer by Marc Cantu to lead 7-0 with 5:56 to go in the first quarter. Selma responded with back-to-back baskets by Cooper to cut the Kingsburg lead to 7-4. The Vikings had a 14-10 lead after one quarter of play.

After trading baskets to start the second quarter, Kingsburg had a 18-13 lead with about five minutes to go before halftime. Selma went on a 6-0 run led by two baskets each by Cooper and Atwal to take the Bears first lead of the game at 19-18 with 3:51 to go before half.

A Coehlo basket gave the lead back to the Vikings at 20-19 with 1:15 to go in the first half, but the Bears finished the half on a 7-2 run to take a 26-22 lead into halftime.

Selma opened the third quarter on a 9-0 run to extend the lead to 35-22 with 4:34 to go in the third quarter. Atwal and Garcia each had four points in the run.

The Vikings answered back with a 10-2 run of their own led by Coehlo who had six points in that stretch to cut the Bears lead to 37-32 with 1:08 to go in the third quarter.

Selma scored the last two baskets of the quarter to take a 41-32 lead into the fourth quarter.

The Bears needed to win the game by six points to guarantee a spot in the finals or Kingsburg would head to the championship due to the tiebreaker system in the tournament.

After a alternating baskets to start the fourth quarter, Kingsburg was down 43-34. A three pointer by Cantu pulled Kingsburg to within six points at 43-37 with 5:30 to go in the game.

A basket by Coehlo made it 43-39, but the Bears went on a 9-0 run to end the Vikings comeback attempt and take a 52-39 lead with less than 1:30 to go in the game.

Selma’s Cooper scored 11 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter including eight points in a row to seal the victory for Selma.

“Jas played well early. Kane hit some big shots late,” Pallesi said. “I thought we played well on the defensive side of the ball and we rebounded. If we can rebound, we will be fine. We’ve got some work to do, but we are getting better. We like playing Kingsburg and they like playing us. The next two games will be even better.”

The two teams play again on Jan. 29 in Selma and then the last game of the regular season on Feb. 15 in Kingsburg.

Selma lost its opening round match-up to McLane 50-48 on day one of the tournament. The team rebounded with a 46-33 win over Reedley High School.



Basketball tournament in memory of Jesse Lujan Jr.

DECEMBER 26, 2012 7:15 AM  



(Jesse Lujan Jr. is shown dribbling a basketball as he plays for the Selma Bears in February 2011. Lujan played 56 games for the Bears averaging 20.3 points per game. The first Jesse Lujan Jr. Memorial Basketball Tournament will be held Jan. 2-5, 2013, at Selma High. )

The memory of former Selma High basketball player Jesse Lujan Jr. will live on in the inaugural Jesse Lujan Jr. Memorial Basketball Tournament Jan. 2-5, 2013, at Selma High. “He is gone but never forgotten,” said Selma High basketball coach Mike Pallesi. “He is in our hearts. He left a lasting impression on everyone of what a fierce competitor he was. For us to have a tournament in his name, I hope it’s not too emotional, but it is something that we are doing to uphold his memory,”

Jesse and Anthony Caro, both popular Selma High athletes, died in a car crash July 25, 2011, near Selma. Jesse would have started his senior year that August. Anthony had just graduated from Selma High.

The tournament was the idea of the Selma High boys basketball boosters, Pallesi and Jesse’s father and stepmother, Jesse Sr. and Connie Lujan. They all wanted to do something to honor Jesse’s memory.

“Coach Pallesi had a big part in it,” said Jesse Lujan Sr. “We basically got together and decided to do something he that he loved to do. He loved to play basketball. He was always in the gym so we decided to have a tournament in his honor. Basketball was his No. 1 love so we thought that this would be a good way to keep his memory alive.”

The tournament will showcase 10 teams from around the Valley — Kingsburg, Reedley, Coalinga, Madera South, Sierra, McLane, Fresno, Parlier, Fowler and Selma High schools.

“Basketball was everything to him, that’s all he wanted to do,” Lujan said.

Jesse started 56 games both at point guard and shooting guard, averaging 20.3 points per game for the Bears.

“Jesse was brought up as a freshman to the varsity basketball team and was embraced by every senior and upperclassman,” said Selma High athletic director Randy Esraelian. “Jesse was very popular with his basketball peers, as well as very respected for his basketball talents.”

Esraelian said people came to watch him play the sport he loved.

“Jesse obviously meant everything to Selma High School,” he said. “He was someone who played basketball at a high level. He was a fierce competitor, who the community loved to watch compete.”

Although on the court Jesse was a fierce competitor, off the court you could always find him with a smile on his face, his coach said.

“He liked to have fun,” Pallesi said. “Whenever Jesse was there, a joke was going on. He like to cut up and have a good time. He always lightened the mood of the players.”

His father said his son loved to put a smile on people’s faces.

“He was kind of a clown,” he said. “He was always clowning around and joking with a big smile on his face. He was always playing sports or was coaching sports. He wanted to be a P.E. teacher, that was Jesse.”

Jesse started playing basketball after watching his uncle, Noe Garza, who played at Parlier High School. Garza and Jesse played basketball in front of the Lujan home, and Jesse wore his uncle’s No. 5 in his early years playing sports in Little League and Selma youth football. After his death, his No. 5 jersey was retired by the Selma Youth Football League Bears. Jesse also wore No. 5 on the Selma high school baseball team.

He wore No. 24, the number of his favorite basketball player, Kobe Bryant, in basketball.

Jesse’s father appreciates all the support the community has shown his family.

“I would like to thank the boosters, coach Pallesi, Selma Unified, the whole community for everything they have done,” his dad said. “They have been there for us through a tough time. I could never repay them for that.”

Jesse’s father hopes that the tournament will focus on the joy Jesse gave to them and the community. “Once a year we will be able to focus on him and be able to focus on the good times he gave us.”

Pallesi said Jesse’s memory will never be forgotten.

“When other coaches coached against us, they would say that when Jesse passed away it took our heart away, it took our toughness,” Pallesi said. “So I think that is the legacy that he left behind is that he was the heart of our team and he was a fierce competitor and a phenomenal shooter.”

Proceeds from the tournament will go to the Jesse Lujan Jr. Memorial Scholarship Fund at Selma High and Selma High boys basketball.



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