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Local teams take floor in Subaru tournament

A basketball extravaganza, featuring a number of local boys and girls teams, will unfold once again at Cascade Christian High this week.

The three-day, 32-team Southern Oregon Subaru Christmas Classic begins Thursday and features three boys teams ranked in the top 10 among Class 3A teams — including defending state champion Dayton — and a tough girls bracket headed by two-time champion Crater.

“They boys draw is really tough,” said Cascade Christian boys coach Brian Morse, adding that this year marks the first time in several that a full complement of 32 teams fills out the varsity and junior varsity brackets.

The tournament began on a much smaller scale in 1991. Organizers upped the teams and moved it to the week before Christmas in recent years to enhance participation.

“That helps a lot from the standpoint of bringing in a lot more fans,” said Morse. “It fills up the gym. We get a lot more of a fan base, local parents and people back for Christmas break.”

On the boys side, Dayton is ranked No. 1, while Santiam Christian is No. 6 and Cascade Christian No. 7

Cascade Christian (3-2) opens at 3 p.m. Thursday against Pacific (7-1), which is No. 1 in the OSAA power rankings for 1A schools.

“They’re a really good 1A team,” said Morse. “They’ll be a good, solid test for us as we go about getting our football feet back to basketball. We started slow in the first tournament and lost two close games in Portland.”

A number of Challengers basketball players were on the football team that played late into the fall and won the state title.

St. Mary’s (4-5) takes on Dayton (5-0) in a 9 p.m. first-round game. In last year’s postseason, Dayton eliminated St. Mary’s in the first round, then knocked off Cascade Christian in the semifinals.

In other opening boys games, Westside Christian (2-4) takes on Ashland (3-2) at 4:30 p.m., and Santiam Christian (5-1) plays Phoenix (1-4) at 7:30 p.m.

In the girls varsity bracket, Crater (4-0) faces Phoenix (1-4) at noon. In other games, St. Mary’s (1-7) meets Eagle Point (3-1) at 10:30 a.m.; Cascade Christian (4-5) plays Klamath Union (4-3) at 1:30 p.m.; and Ashland (0-4) goes up against Santiam Christian (1-4) at 6 p.m.

— Reach sports editor Tim Trower at 541-776-4479 or ttrower@rosebudmedia.com