(University Place, WA) With the holiday season upon us, that means we are also getting into nonleague basketball tournaments with a bulk of them coming while schools are on winter break. For ESN, we will being making the trip to Curtis High School in University Place for the 2023 edition of the Curtis Winter Classic. 10 teams will make their way to Ray Beard Gymnasium for the three-day tournament with three teams participating just one day each. Four states and one province will be represented in what is a bit of an international affair this season.

Four games will be played Thursday, Friday, and Saturday in a traditional tournament style format. Neither of the two recent champions will be in as Mount Spokane took home the title in 2021 while Lake City from Idaho won the crown last year with both winners defeating hosts Curtis in the championship games. We will also have an updated article with recaps of each game and highlights throughout the tournament. Down below we have a preview of each team entering this year’s tournament. Let’s break it all down!

ESN will live stream all 12 games on the NFHS (subscription) Network. The cost is $11.99 for 30-days, it is not a pay-per-view just the one time cost of $12. You can cancel at any time, no contract. Below we links to our broadcast schedule page with links direct to each game or a direct link to our landing page on the NFHS network where all the games are posted. If you already have an NFHS subscription you do not need another one, you are good to go.

Link to Eli Sports Broadcast Schedule Page with links to each individual game: ESN Broadcast Page
Link to ESN landing page on the NFHS Network:  Eli Sports Network (nfhsnetwork.com)

Thursday 1st round matchups
Game 1: 4pm Tip-Off, Eaglecrest (CO) vs. North Thurston (WA) 
Eaglecrest Raptors
Head Coach: Jarris Krapcha
Coming into the season, the Eaglecrest Raptors were one of the favorites to take home Colorado’s 6A boys basketball state championship. Five games into the season, they are living up to those expectations. After falling in the Sweet 16 last season to eventual state champions in Denver East, the Raptors reloaded after losing five seniors from the squad last year but standout LaDavian King has taken another step forward to lead this year’s team. After being named to the 6A All-State team last season as a sophomore, King as a junior is leading the team in points per game with 22.8 and adding five assists per game as well. Not only has it been a perfect start to the season, it has been a dominant start for Eaglecrest as they are averaging 81.8 points per game while allowing just 49.8 per game. Eaglecrest is definitely a team that can win the whole thing both this season in Colorado and this weekend at Curtis High School.
North Thurston Rams (Thursday Only)
Head Coach: Mike Conner
While the North Thurston Rams will only play a single game in the Winter Classic, they have a chance to make a lot of noise if they can take down Eaglecrest. A 4-0 start to the season is not unexpected as the Rams returned a lot of last year’s team that made it to the first round of the state tournament with an 18-9 record before falling to Mountlake Terrace on day one of the tournament to end their season. Ray Adams has gotten off to a very hot start for the Rams this year as the 6’7″ senior has consistently filled up the stat sheet. Adams is averaging 21 ppg, 9.5 rebounds per game, and 3.5 blocks per game while getting a ton of help from his perimeter shooters. Liam Sheeran has improved a ton this season as well stepping into a bigger role as the distributor on offense. While North Thurston has never won a state title in program history, this year’s team as all the pieces to make some serious noise in the 3A classification.
Game 2: 5:30pm Tip-Off, Pacifica Christian (CA) vs Timberline (WA)
Pacifica Christian Tritons
Head Coach: Jeff Berkoff
The Tritons lost 9 seniors from their 27-10 team that finished as division 2 state runner ups. They will have to lean heavily on 6’6 junior guard and  Vanguard University commit Logan Stewart who is averaging 12 points and 8.7 rebounds per game and 6’4 junior guard EJ Spillman who averages 10.6 points 4.7 rebounds and 5.4 assists per game as the point guard. Pacifica Christian comes in with a 6-4 record and averaging 60 points per game. The Tritons rely have a pretty stout defense and aren’t afraid to take a charge form anyone.
Timberline Blazers
Head Coach: Allen Thomas
Timberline has to replace a pretty special player in Brooklyn Hicks who last year set the single game and overall points records at the Curtis Winter Classic and is now playing at UNLV.  This season Coach Allen Thomas is using 6’5 senior post Darrell Gipson as his go to scoring option. Gipson is averaging 18 points 4.5 rebounds and 4.5 steals per game with 6’1 junior guard Kadyn Ward pitching in 14.5 points and 4 assists per game. The Blazers rely on their quick hands on defense with 3 different players averaging over 2 steals per game for the green and gold.
Game 3: 7pm Tip-Off, South Eugene (OR) vs Curtis (WA)
South Eugene Axemen
Head Coach: Soloman Harris
South Eugene comes into University Place with a senior heavy team that has a 2-3 record on the season.  The Axe are lead by senior guards Trey Saunders 20 points and 5.5 rebounds and Landyn Bryant 14.5 points 4 rebounds and 3 assists per game. Junior Levi Hawes seems to be in inside presence for the Axe averaging 6 rebounds to go along with his 10 points per game.  The Axe has their hands full with defending 2 time Washington State Champions Curtis in the first game. South Eugene is looking to make the Oregon State Basketball Tournament for the first time since 2006.
Curtis Vikings
Head Coach: Tim Kelly
The Vikings are coming off of back to back Washington State 4A Titles but lose 5 star recruit Zoom Diallo to a prep school in California. Senior guard Devin Whitten and Junior forward Xavier Ahrens are the lone starters back from last years team. Whitten will have to lead the Viks in scoring this season but is a very capable scorer but will have to take over as the leader of the team with the departure of Diallo and Tyce Paulsen who is now playing college ball at Point Loma. Curtis has started the season 4-0 and are looking to win their own Winter Classic for the first time in 3 years.
Game 4: 8:30pm Tip-Off, St. George’s (BC) vs O’Dea (WA)
St. George’s Saints
Head Coach: Guy DaSilva
A little bit of a mystery heading into the Winter Classic, the St. George’s Saints will add some international flare making their way down from Vancouver, British Columbia. The Saints come in with a 3-1 record and are building off a fairly successful campaign last year. In their provincial last year, St. George’s finished 7th but did also take a program best 3rd back in 2013. With 14 players on their roster, the Saints are still learning their identity a little bit this season. While we don’t know much about this team coming into the tournament, they are looking to make an immediate impression on everyone in the PNW and beyond.
O’Dea Fighting Irish
Head Coach: Jason Kerr
Perennial power O’Dea joins the field for this year’s Curtis Winter Classic as the Fighting Irish will be a tough out for everyone this weekend. While they may have lost 7 players from last year’s team that fell in the state championship game to Garfield, coach Jason Kerr knows how to retool his team as well as anyone in the state. Coming into Thursday with a 3-1 record, O’Dea has already shown improvement and have dealt with some adversity in a loss to Rainier Beach. Another deep roster of 14 players gives Coach Kerr all sorts of options at his disposal and many different paths to victory. Look for the junior Breylon Webb and senior Malcolm Clark to be the stars of the show but sophomore Brian Webster might be the biggest key to the O’Dea machine rolling as he has taken over for the injured Noel Davis ahead of this year’s tournament.


Friday Only- Gig Harbor

Gig Harbor Tides
Head Coach: Billy Landram

The Gig Harbor Tides will replace their South Sound Conference rival on Friday as they will step in for North Thurston to take on the loser of St. George’s and O’Dea. While many of these teams have a chunk of returning starters, Gig Harbor is not as fortunate. The Tides graduated all five of their starters from last year’s team that went 19-4 but was upset in the regional round by Shorecrest. Luke Allison is the highest returning scorer from last year’s team but he averaged just 3.9 points per game in limited action. While this team is young and a little inexperienced, they are very well coached as Billy Landram enters his 11th season at the helm of the Tides. While it took some time to build the program, Landram has led the Tides to four consecutive winning seasons and three league titles. While this might look like a rebuilding year for Gig Harbor, they have been tremendous defensively in their 4-0 start only allowing 40+ points once so far this season.

Saturday Only- Rogers (Puyallup)

Rogers Rams
Head Coach: Connie Richardson
The Rogers Rams lost their first 2 games of the season but have reeled off 4 straight wins. Rogers is averaging 70 points per game over their win streak and looking to keep that momentum going. Junior guard Treyshawn Weatherspoon fills up a stat sheet with 17.5 points 4.5 rebounds 5 assists and 4.2 steals per game. Weatherspoon gets scoring help from 6′ junior guard Dylan Gilderhus 14.2 points 3.2 assists and 6’1 senior guard/post Amanna Anusiem who averages just over 10 points and 3 rebounds per game. The Rams will have a tough warmup right before the Winter Classic with a game at 2022 4A state runner up and 3-0 Olympia on 12/13.


Thursday, Dec 14
Game #1- 4:00pm North Thurston vs Eaglecrest, Co
Game #2- 5:30pm
Timberline vs Pacifica Christian, Ca

Game #3- 7:00pm South Eugene, Or vs Curtis
Game #4- 8:30pm St George’s, Van BC vs O’Dea

Friday, Dec 15
Game #5- 4:00pm Gig Harbor vs L2
Game #6- 5:30pm
L3 vs L4

Game #7- 7:00pm Eaglecrest vs W4
Game #8- 8:30pm W2 vs W3

Saturday, Dec 16
Game #9- 2:30pm Rogers (Puy) vs L6
Game #10- 4:00pm
L2 vs W6

Game #11- 5:30pm L7 vs L8
Game #12- 7:00pm W7 vs W8



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