Saturday, February 4, 2023
Feb. 4, 2023

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Tim Martinez: No putting Fort Vancouver Holiday Classic on ice this year

20 basketball teams from three states will participate

By , Columbian Assistant Sports Editor
Published:

I’m sure the winter weather Clark County experienced late last week likely threw a monkey wrench into the holiday plans for many people.

But through all the sleet, freezing rain and slow thaw of last Friday and Saturday, there was one person who was really glad to see it melt away — Fort Vancouver boys basketball coach James Ensley.

Over the past few years, Ensley and his tournament director Ben Jatos have been building a holiday basketball tournament at Fort.

Last season, the tournament was expected to reach new heights, bringing in high-profile teams from Seattle and Las Vegas to play three full days of tournament action of boys and girls basketball at two sites.

And then the snow hit.

It really even wasn’t that big of a snow event, even as snowfalls in Clark County go. But it was a persistent morning snowfall for every day that the event was scheduled.

And that was enough to scrub most of the games scheduled last year, except for a handful of games that Ensley was able to arrange for the teams that had made the longest journeys to play.

This week, the Fort Vancouver Holiday Classic returns with 16 boys teams and four girls teams playing 30 games over Wednesday, Thursday and Friday at Fort Vancouver and Heritage high schools.

When I asked Ensley to send me the tournament schedules last month, he did with the note “Here you go, and please, NO SNOW!!!”

With temperatures creeping toward 50 degrees, Ensley got his wish.

At Fort Vancouver, there will be two brackets of boys basketball games, filling the day with the first game starting at 10 a.m. and the last one scheduled for 8:30 p.m.

The Fort bracket will include Fort Vancouver, Battle Ground, Heritage, Weed (Calif.), Liberty (Ore.), Reynolds (Ore.), Kamiak, Moses Lake and Spanaway Lake.

The Trapper bracket includes R.A. Long, Mountain View, Central Kitsap, Shorewood, Bishop Blanchet, Sunnyside, Reynolds (Ore.) and De La Salle North Catholic (Ore.).

Over at Heritage High School, the Evergreen, Fort Vancouver, Shelton and Ashland (Ore.) girls basketball teams will play a round-robin format with games at 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. each day.

So if you’re looking for some high school basketball action, head over to Fort or Heritage for full days of quality hoop action.

More holiday tournaments

This week’s schedule is filled with local teams participating in holiday tournaments.

The Skyview and King’s Way Christian boys, and the Prairie, Hockinson and Columbia River girls are all heading down to Arizona to take part in separate brackets of the Cactus Jam events in the Phoenix area, with games Tuesday, Wednesday and Friday.

The Evergreen and Woodland boys and Kelso and Woodland girls are playing in the T-Town Throwdown at Silas High School in Tacoma on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday.

The Skyview and Camas girls are playing in separate brackets of the Pacific Office Automation Holiday Classic at Grant and Franklin high schools in Portland on Wednesday, Thursday and Friday.

And the Kelso, Mark Morris and Ridgefield boys are playing in the SunDome Shootout in Yakima on Thursday and Friday.

For all of this week’s prep action, check out the weekly high school schedules on 360preps.com.

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