(University Place, WA) The 6th Curtis Winter Classic tipped off this afternoon at Ray Beard Gymnasium with 4 games. This year’s tournament is truly an international event with teams from Colorado, California, Oregon and Vancouver BC. O’Dea and Timberline will also be here all 3 days with Curtis while North Thurston, Gig Harbor and Rogers (Puyallup) will all fill the 8th spot playing 1 game each.

Last year’s champion, Lake City of Idaho had committed to play this past summer but their head coach retired and the new coach elected not to come this year. Curtis Head Coach Tim Kelly and C-W-C organizer said he tried to find another team to fill all 3 games but it was too late in the scheduling process and had to go to plan B.

The Curtis Winter Classic is gaining national interest with 4 our of state schools this year and 3 others who indicated interest. Kelly says in each case they contacted him so word is getting out about the quality of this event and the fact it is a true 8-team bracket tournament and not a single game “showcase”.

Curtis has finished 2nd the past 2 seasons losing to Mt Spokane in 2021 and Lake City last year. However, both years the Vikings went on to win the State 4A Championship. The 5 previous winners are:

2014 Union Titans
2015 Curtis Vikings
2017 O’Dea Irish
2021 Mt Spokane Wildcats
2022 Lake City (ID) Timberwolves

Below is our coverage of day 1 with all 4 games. Re-Caps, interiews, video highlights and pictures are all below. We’ll post another story tomorrow and Saturday providing full coverage of the W-C-W.

Game 1
The North Thurston Rams came out blazing in the 1st quarter jumping out to an 11-2 lead but the Raptors would make a late run to close the gap. LaDavian King led the charge scoring 7 of 11. The Rams ended the quarter with a 16-11 lead hitting 4 3-pointers with 2 from Micah Gentry and 2 from Liam Sheeran.

Eaglecrest finished with a nice run and kept that momentum rolling into the 2nd quarter where they outscored the Rams 16-4 as North Thurston went cold. King kept up his presence ending the half leading all scorers with 13. Meantime, 5 other players scored including a thundering dunk from Garrett Barger.

The Rams turned the ball over quite a bit coupled with the cold shooting left the Rams short in the 2nd. Gentry and Sheeran led the Rams at the break with 6 each while Ray Adams had 4 with a slam of his own and 3 blocked shot. 5 Rapgtors had 2 rebounds each as Eaglecrest held a 13-8 advantage on the boards.

Both teams had plenty of offense in the 3rd as they pushed with 21 each. King extended his offensive dominance for Eaglecrest socring 9 to push his game total to 22. The Rams bounced back as well with a well balanced attack with the Micah’s really waking up Micah Andrerson and Micah Gentry. With the push the Raptors maintained their 7 point lead after 3.

In the final 8 minutes the 2 teams continued to exchange blows with some big work inside by Garrett Barger who finished with 8 points but grabbed 4 rebounds had an assist and a steal. The Rams would make a run led by Ray Adams who finished with a team high 16 points and filled out the score line with 4 rebounds, 2 assists 4 blocked shots and an assist.

North Thurston got as close as 5 with about 90-seconds to play but the Raptors refused to give up the ball getting key offensive rebounds down the stretch and ended up pulling off the 60-53 win never ceding that 7 point halftime lead.

The MVP of the game went to LaDavian King with 24 points, 4 rebounds and assist and a steal. The Raptors and Rams would each finish with 20 boards, Eaglecrest had 12 assist, 4 steals and a block. The Rams finished with the 20 boards, 11 assists, 5 steals and 4 blocked shots.

Eaglecrest moves on to the semi-finals Friday night at 7pm against O’Dea.

North Thurston  16   20   41   53
Eaglecrest             11   27   48   60

Eaglecrest: King 24, Sir Devin Roberts 10, Barger 8, Lucas Kalimba 6, LaQuince York 5, Jason Noone 4, Kris Coleman 2, Cam Chapa 1
North Thurston: Adams 16, Gentry 12, Sheeran 10, Anderson 9, Connor Seward 4, Tristan DeVille

ESN talks with Game MVP LaDavian King

Video Highlights

North Thurston takes a big early lead


Eaglecrest makes their run


Game 2
The Pacifica Christian Titans started a tad slow but then came roaring back in the final 3 minutes of the 1st quarter led by Michael Noel’s 10 points. Darrell Gipson got the Blazers off to a quick start knocking down 6 of his 1st half 8 points for the early lead. The Titans then applied the pressure and forced turnovers to build a 22-15 lead.

Pacifica continued the aggressive attack forcing Timberline into more turnovers and fouls. The Tritons would get EJ Spillman going along with AJ Johnson to surge to an 11 point lead at the break. The Blazers simply couldn’t get much going and were outscored 15-9 and trailed by 11 at the break.

Timberline then blew up in the 3rd quarter outscoring the Tritons 22-7 to take a 48-44 lead. Gipson doubled his scoring from 8 to 16 while Kenyon Simmons added 8 himself and Kadyn Ward hit a pair of 3’s. The Tritons went ice cold but did close the gap a bit to trail 48-44 after 3.

Pacifica came out firing in the 4th and closed the to tie the game. The two teams went back and forth with the Tritons relying on AJ Johnson who finished with 20. Alex Stewart hit a couple of big shots and EJ Spillman who was in foul trouble and turned his ankle sank a massive 3.

Timberline didn’t give in and focused on working the ball down low Gipson and Simmons continued to score inside but it was the rebounding as the Blazers outboarded the Tritons 28-15. Gipson had a double-double with 22 points and 11 boards. Simmons finished with 18 and 7 rebounds. Kadyn Ward stacked up 7 assists. The ESN crew named Gipson the MVP of the game with 22 points, 11 boards, 2 blocks, 2 steals and an assist.

Timberline will move onto the semi-finals against Curtis at 8:30pm on Friday while Pacifica Christian takes on South Eugene in the consolation bracket at 5:30pm.

Timberline                15   26   48   61
Pacifica Christian   22   37   44   58

Timberline: Darrell Gipson 22, Kenyon Simmons 18, Kadyn Ward 6, DJ Falco 6, Josh Tichenor 6, Cedric Ragland 3
Pacifica Christian: AJ Johnson 20, Michael Noel 12, EJ Spillman 9, Alex Stewart 8, Hudson Reynolds 4, Owen Connell 3, Logan Stewart 2

ESN talks with Game MVP Darrell Gipson

Video Highlights

The Tritons and Blazers exchange big buckets


Pacifica has a chance to tie but the Blazers hold on


Game 3
The host school Curtis got thier 1st game against South Eugene in game 3 and were not the best hosts to the Axemen as they jumped out to a 11-0 then pushed it to 19-0 with 1:27 to play in the 1st quarter. Devin Whitten exploded for 10 points with a pair of long balls. 5 different Vikings would score in the 1st 5:33 but none would score in the final 1:27. S-E got a little momentum rolling scoring 6 with 4 coming from Levi Hawes and they trailed 19-6.

The Axe would get off to a solid start in the 2nd quarter with Hawes scoring another 4 points and Trey Saunders chipping in and it was a 12 point game. The Vikings would get revved up again though led by the offense of Keaundre Morris sinking a pair of treys and finishing with 12 points in the half. Will Torrone and Brandon Logan also made some big plays as Curtis pushed back and held that 12 point advantage to the break.

Curtis would break loose again in the 3rd quarter with Whitten draining them from deep and Xavier Ahrens working the inside they would run up a 53-28 lead with 1:28 to play in the 3rd. Curtis would outscore the Axe 27-11 for a massive 61-33 lead. Whitten scored 14 in the 3rd, Ahrens had 6 to lead the offense.

Heading into the final 8 minutes the Axe had a solid 4th quarter getting on-track scoring 18 for their best output of the night and tghe Axe will hope to carry that over to day 2 of the C-W-C. 10 different players scored led by the 12 of Trey Saunders. Levi Hawes finished with 8 points and 7 rebounds while Elijah Gabriel also added 8 points and 3 boards.

Curtis was in overdrive the entire 2nd half scoring 46 points. Devin Whitten led the scoring blitz with 30 draining 5 long balls as he tripled his 1st half numbers. Whitten added 5 rebounds 2 assists and 3 steals which is why he eartned our MVP award. Morris finished with 21 with 2 3-balls and was also busy on defense with 3 streals, 4 rebounds and added 2 assists. Ahrens was the 3rd in double figures with 10 and led the Vikings in reboiunding with 6.

Curtis will play in the 8:30pm semi-final against Timberline while South Eugene drops into the consolation bracket and will play Pacifica Christian at 5:30pm on Friday.

South Eugene      6   22   33   51        
Curtis                    19  34   61   80

South Eugene:
Trey Saunders 12, Levi Hawes 8, Elijah Gabriel 8, James Thomas 6, Calvin Yoder 6, Koen Thurman 4, Lucas Clemons 2, Andre Rue 2, Jacob Knight 2, Cameron Perry 1
Curtis: Devin Whitten 30, Keaundre Morris 21, Xavier Ahrens 10, Robby Lavata’i 6, Brandon Logan 5, Noah Kaylor 4, Will Torrone 4

ESN talks with Game MVP Devin Whitten


Video Highlights

Curtis jumps out to a huge early lead


The Vikings Brandon Logan with a great play to dish the ball


The Axe hit a shot at the buzzer to go into the half on an up note


Game 4
In the final game of day 1 the 1st international team to play in the C-W-C got their chance St George’s from Vancouver BC and were set to play the O’Dea Irish. O’Dea did not waste anytime in putting distance between themselves and the neighbors from the north jumping out to a huge 29-13 lead. 7 different Irish scored with Malcom Clark knocking down 8, Brian Webster a pair of 3-balls and Doni Burkett with 5 including a 3.

O’Dea stretched that lead in the 2nd quarter with another 20 spot on the board. Clark nearly doubled his score and went into the break with 15 and 5 rebounds.Patrick Galvin off the bench with 7. BJ Shannon, Brian Webster and Quincey Brown each had a half dozen.

For the Saints Dorian Glogovac had a real nice 1st half with 11 and Lucas Butler drained a 3 and finished with 5 points. Dom Aquino and Evan Palmer each had 4.

The Saints looked at one point like they may be close to getting the running clock slapped on them when they fell behind by 32 early in the 3rd but the scrappy Saints picked up their play and made some nice runs and began to find their groove. Glogovac finsihed tied for the game high 26 points with O’Dea’s Malcolm Clark. Lucas Butler added 7 more in the 2nd halof for a total of 12 for the game and Dom Acquino just missed double figs with 9.

The Irish were too much though in the end and it was Clark leading the charge just missing a double-double with 26 points and 9 rebounds. Clark was named our MVP of the game. A total of 9 scored for O’Dea with Doni Burkett hitting for 11 and Brian Webster with 10, both Burkett and Webster hit 3 treys in the game and Patrick Galvin had a nice game off the bench with 9.

O’Dea will play in the 7pm semi-final against Eaglecrest and St George’s gets the opening game on Friday at 4pm in a consolation against Gig Harbor.

St George’s     13   24   37   58
O’Dea              29   49   59   80

O’Dea: Malcolm Clark 26, Doni Burkett 11, Brian Webster 10, Patrick Galvin 9, Quincey Brown 8, BJ Shannon 6, Peyton Brooks 4, Levi Orbino 4, Gene Woodard 2
St George’s: Dorian Glogovac 26, Lucas Butler 12, Dom Acquino 9, Kevin Zhong 4, Charlie Mcconville 3, Kosuke Matsubara 2, Jaever Khunkhun

ESN talks with Game MVP Malcolm Clark


Video Highlights

St George’s Dorian Glogovac with some sweet footwork


A scoring outburst begins and ends with the irish big guy Malcolm Clark


By paulb

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