• PREP BASKETBALL

    Back at full strength

    Abby's tournament has strongest field in a while after struggles of 2012
  • One year after the future of the Abby's Holiday Classic came into question, the boys basketball tournament is back and as strong as ever.

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    • ABBY'S HOLIDAY CLASSIC
      WHAT: Twenty-fourth annual eight-team boys basketball tournament.
      • WHEN, WHERE: Friday through Sunday at North and South Medford high schools.
      • TICKETS: Adults $6, visiting student...
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      ABBY'S HOLIDAY CLASSIC
      WHAT: Twenty-fourth annual eight-team boys basketball tournament.

      • WHEN, WHERE: Friday through Sunday at North and South Medford high schools.
      • TICKETS: Adults $6, visiting students with ID $4. Tournament passes available for all games at both sites, $15 adults, $7 students.
      • OF NOTE: Four teams are ranked in the top 10 in the OSAA power rankings for Class 6A. They are No. 3 McKay, No. 4 Sheldon, No. 7 North Medford and No. 9 Westview.




      Tournament Schedule

      FRIDAY'S GAMES

      At South Medford High

      Game 1: Sprague vs. Westview, 6 p.m.

      Game 2: Sheldon vs. South Medford, 7:45 p.m.

      At North Medford High

      Game 3: Southridge vs. Crater, 6 p.m.

      Game 4: McKay vs. North Medford, 7:45 p.m.

      SATURDAY'S GAMES

      At North Medford High

      Game 5: Loser Game 1 vs. Loser Game 2, 2:30 p.m.

      Game 6: Loser Game 3 vs. Loser Game 4, 4:15 p.m.

      Game 7: Winner Game 3 vs. Winner Game 4, 6 p.m.

      Game 8: Winner Game 1 vs. Winner Game 2, 7:45 p.m.

      SUNDAY'S GAMES

      At North Medford High

      Game 9: Loser Game 5 vs. Loser Game 6, 12:45 p.m.

      Game 10: Winner Game 5 vs. Winner Game 6, 2:30 p.m.

      Game 11: Loser Game 7 vs. Loser Game 8, 4:15 p.m.

      Championship: Winner Game 7 vs. Winner Game 8, 6 p.m.
  • One year after the future of the Abby's Holiday Classic came into question, the boys basketball tournament is back and as strong as ever.
    The 24th annual eight-team event begins Friday with games at North Medford and South Medford high schools. It continues with all of the contests Saturday and Sunday at North Medford.
    Last year's edition fell on hard times because of defections. Three teams backed out for varying reasons, and replacement teams were brought in so the five remaining squads could each get in three games.
    "After the debacle of last year," said Dennis Murphy, the South Medford coach and athletic director who is a co-founder of the event, "I made a real effort to go out and find teams, and I tried to go after better teams, I will admit that."
    It appears he succeeded.
    "I think we have a very good field, better than we've had in some time," he said.
    Along with the Medford host teams, Crater — one of the fill-ins last year — gives the Southern Oregon Hybrid three representatives.
    The Metro League sends two teams, Southridge and Westview, while Salem schools Sprague and McKay and Eugene team Sheldon round out the lineup.
    In the opening round at South Medford on Friday, Sprague (2-4) plays Westview (5-1) at 6 p.m., and Sheldon (5-2) faces South Medford (5-2) at 7:45.
    Openers at North Medford are Southridge (4-3) against Crater (3-3) at 6 p.m. and McKay (7-0) taking on North Medford (5-1) at 7:45.
    The teams have a combined record of 36-16, and all but Sprague are .500 or above.
    Four squads are in the top 10 in the OSAA Class 6A power rankings: No. 3 McKay, No. 4 Sheldon, No. 7 North Medford and No. 9 Westview.
    Two teams — South Medford and Southridge — made the final eight in the state tournament last season, with the latter placing fourth.
    It's not uncommon for tournament hosts to schedule a relatively easy opening game in hopes of advancing. There's only one problem, said North Medford coach Scott Plankenhorn.
    "It's a pretty loaded tournament," he said. "I don't know who you could draw."
    The Black Tornado gets the only unbeaten team to start with in McKay.
    South Medford gets a Sheldon team that is the highest-ranked team in the bracket.
    "It'll be quality competition," said Plankenhorn. "It'll be fun and there will be a lot of good games for the fans. It'll be a well-deserved champion with this many good teams in it."
    Despite the chaos in putting together a field, last year's Abby's title game may have been the best in tournament history.
    The two local teams met in the finals for the fifth time, and South Medford eked out a double-overtime victory, 65-64. Panthers senior Matt Toreson made two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to seal the win.
    South Medford is 4-1 in championship matchups with its crosstown rival.
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