The 12th annual Crush in the Slush prep boys and girls basketball tournament will be played Dec. 28-29 at Port Townsend High School, featuring 14 games in 48 hours.
Teams will play a scheduled format beginning at 10:25 a.m. Dec. 28. The event is hosted by the Port Townsend Basketball Club, a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to provide program and educational support for children in the community.
This year’s event will feature the Class 3A Ferndale boys and two 4A girls teams, Auburn and Battle Ground. The Northwest School boys, ranked sixth in the state last season at 1A, also will participate.
The following previews are provided by event organizer Josh Colvin.
Sequim vs. Ferndale boys, 10:25 a.m.
Arguably the top boys team at Crush, the 3A Ferndale Golden Eagles have started hot behind an opportunistic defense and the sweet shooting of senior Sequoyah Julius.
Coach Greg Glasser’s 2A Sequim Wolves have also been on a roll with a balanced attack led by sophomore Erik Christiansen and the Despain brothers, senior Nate and sophomore Dallin.
Neah Bay vs. Auburn girls, 12:05 p.m.
Not necessarily the David vs. Goliath matchup it would seem, 4A Auburn facing 1B Neah Bay is an interesting contest. Auburn started 1-3, but with 5-foot-10 Emily Strojan (15 points per game), the defense-minded Trojans are a tough draw.
Neah Bay is very young — no seniors — but only a year removed from a 23-4 season. Watch out for sophomore Laila Greene, who is shooting 3-pointers better than 50 percent from beyond the arc and averaging 16 points per game.
Neah Bay vs. Charles Wright boys, 1:45 p.m.
The Neah Bay boys lost two of their first three but only by a total of eight points, including a 3-point heartbreaker to Forks. Seniors Jay Brunk and Keith Johnson Jr. lead the Red Devils.
The uptempo Charles Wright Academy (Tacoma) boys opened 2-2, including a tough four-point loss to Eastside Prep, and are led by juniors Dane Jacobson and Nathaniel Hosannah, and senior Asher Shakoor-Asadi, all of whom average more than 10 points.
Squalicum vs. Battle Ground girls, 3:25 p.m.
The always-tough 3A Squalicum Storm went 12-8 last season, but this year’s team is younger and has struggled early. Dynamic junior JJ Ruthie Carlson leads the way.
Although her Battle Ground Tigers are young, coach Lisa May teaches tenacity and her girls are improving. Keep an eye on senior Brianna Adams and sophomore Mallory Meyer.
Friday Harbor vs. Northwest School boys, 5:05 p.m.
The boys from Friday Harbor are off to a surprisingly slow start, but with 6-6 senior Kyle Mapstead and 6-8 senior Marshall Clark on the floor, a big turnaround seems inevitable.
The Northwest School from Seattle has changed head coaches and lost a few key players, but they went 20-6 last year as one of the best 1A schools in the state. Senior guard Isaiah Jeannot averaged 20 points per game as a junior.
Friday Harbor vs. Port Townsend girls, 6:45 p.m.
The defensively aggressive Friday Harbor girls have struggled with injuries early, but now they’re healthy with senior leaders Leah Black, Ava Hoffman and Tori Polda running the floor.
Not only are the Port Townsend girls young — one senior — they’ve had a tough time even finding enough players to fill the roster. On the bright side they have some excellent young talent, including sophomore Sorina Johnston and 6-1 post Izzy Hammett.
Eastside Prep vs. Port Townsend boys, 8:25 p.m.
Eastside Prep returns to Crush looking nothing like the team that went 2-17 last season. Coach Romeo Wheeler is getting the most from 6-3 senior Russell Carmichael, 6-4 junior Alejandro Enguidanos and 6-9 college-recruit Cameron Bayer.
Coach Tom Webster’s Redhawks have surprised this year, defeating Kingston and Bremerton and closing out Crosspoint Academy behind 6-3 team leader Noa Apker-Montoya’s clutch 3-point shooting. Speedy senior Jaden Watkins has been disruptive defensively, and guard Kuba Krol’s sharp passing has helped ignite the offense.
Dec. 29 schedule
Battle Ground vs. Friday Harbor girls, 8:45 a.m.
Ferndale vs. Friday Harbor boys, 10:25 a.m.
Auburn vs. Squalicum girls, 12:05 p.m.
Charles Wright vs. Eastside Prep boys, 1:45 p.m.
Northwest School vs. Neah Bay boys, 3:25 p.m.
Port Townsend vs. Neah Bay girls, 5:05 p.m.
Port Townsend vs. Sequim boys, 6:45 p.m.