Local high school boys basketball teams from Tumwater, River Ridge and North Thurston competed along with Bethel High School at the annual North Thurston Holiday Tournament December 27 and 28 in Lacey Washington.
The tournament gives local teams a chance to compete and recharge in preparation for the second half of the WIAA boys basketball season. Tumwater defeated Bethel 55-35 on Friday and River Ridge outlasted North Thurston 77-55. In Saturday action, River Ridge won 68-66 against Bethel and Tumwater beat host North Thurston 53-39.
North Thurston head coach Mike Conner believes the holiday tournament provides a great opportunity for some local teams to play each other that usually don’t have the chance to play. “Cross-town games make for a fun environment for both players and fans. With our Thurston County schools split into four different leagues, it makes it difficult to develop those local rivalries, so the holiday tournament is a great way to give the teams a little taste of that,” stated Connor.
Connor is excited to get back into 3A SSC league play. “We’ve struggled with some injuries and sickness going around our team, so hopefully we will be healthy and ready to compete down the stretch. We have a really nice group of young men who are willing to work hard and compete. I’ll take that any day as a coach.”
For River Ridge head coach Pat Williams, the tournament is a chance to refine his team moving back into 2A SPSL play. “We are young, and we are trying to polish our game up,” Williams remarked. “We are trying to play more consistent basketball and move somewhere to the top of our division. It is great to play against North Thurston as it is a great South Sound rivalry and our kids always get pumped up to play North Thurston.”
Tumwater head coach Josh Wilson loves to play in a local tournament during the holiday season. “It is good to be here and play local teams where we don’t have to travel, which gives a little bit of extra time for the guys during the holidays,” Wilson explained.
Tumwater starts 2A EVCO league play Tuesday, January 7, at Aberdeen. “I’m excited for what this group can be and we have a couple tough teams in our league with Black Hills and WF West. We will clean things up and work on our execution as we keep our focus moving into EVCO play. It should be a special season if the boys can put it together.”