By Graham Macdonald
Redwood Empire Invitational Basketball Tournament or REIBT is the oldest continuous basketball tournament in Northern California. Started in 1949 REIBT has a long deep-rooted history in this town. Founded by Art Mccafry it was a way to fill in time between football season and the start of league basketball. It started as a fairly small tournament with the only teams participating were the seven teams from the North Bay League, Section II.
The REIBT committee wanted the tournament to be much larger. In the 50s the committee sent an invitation to the then Soviet Union to send a team to the tournament as a publicity stunt. This made headlines across the country and in 1959 teams from all over Northern California were participating. Later in 1966 REIBT got its first international team which drove 51 hours from El Salvador. Ten high schools from Canada have also played in the tournament. This now prestigious tournament drew in even more local attention causing some of the games to be so packed that everyone in the crowd would have to stand.
In 1985 a girls bracket was implemented into the tournament. Now more games were being played than ever before spread across a couple of days. Both the Smith Robinson gym and the old Junior High School gym had to be used. There haven’t been many dynasties in REIBT’s long history until recently. Our own Healdsburg Hounds boys team is currently on a four-year-long winning streak which is the first time that a team has ever won four years in a row. Unfortunately, this year will be the first time since 1949 that REIBT will not be played. This tournament is rich with history and will only get richer as the years go on.