California powerhouse Rancho Christian and 7’0 senior Evan Mobley
are coming to Salem and the CCC in 2019!
SALEM, OR - In its first four years, the Capitol City Classic has grown each year and steadily improved, growing in stature into one of the West Coast's best high school holiday basketball events.
This year, the fifth-year event is in position to take a huge leap forward.
Headlining the festivities at Willamette University this December 18-23 will be ESPN’s #1-ranked high school prospect in the country, 7’0 senior Evan Mobley. Mobley, a USC commit who plays for California juggernaut Rancho Christian (Temecula, CA), is a prolific player with skill, agility, and ball-handling abilities that defy his formidable size. Besides Mobely, the Eagles also feature 6’4, four-star guard Dominick Harris, an electrifying player headed for Gonzaga next year.
Under Coach Ray Barefield, Rancho Christian (26-6 last year) is so good some prognosticators have them ranked among the
nation’s top 10 teams in preseason national polls.
“They are really something,” said CCC Assistant Tournament Director Ben Collier. “I mean,
having the nation’s number one player in the country playing in Salem is incredible in and of itself. Then you add Harris, and that’s a pretty powerful 1-2 punch. “But they also have 4-5 other guys on their roster, or more, who will be Division 1 college basketball players. They have some amazing athletes who are exciting guys to watch. Rancho is truly a powerhouse, and they play the kind of fast-paced, high-flying basketball that will be awesome for fans to watch.”
While Rancho Christian may prove to be the best team to play in the Capitol City Classic to date, they are not the only good team in the field. The other out of state team in this year’s field, the Lanier Longhorns (Buford, Georgia) are an impressive bunch, too. Coach Branden Mayweather’s Longhorns are led by 6’4 senior guard Sion James, who is headed for Tulane next year, and sharp-shooting junior guard Andrew McConnell.
“It would be hard for me to personally say what I am about to share given the fact Rancho is in the tournament,” said Collier, “but some coaches have told us privately that Lanier may have the best back-court in the event. I guess we will see about that soon enough.”
Oregon, of course, will be represented well, too. The Tigard Tigers under coach Shawn Alderman feature a dual-sport mega-athlete in junior Drew Carter, a player who will be choosing between college football and basketball options down the road. The defending 6A Pacific Conference champion Sherwood Bowmen won 21 games a year ago, and have two standout players in point guard Jamison Guerra and 6’7 post Blake Jensen. The Wilsonville Wildcats, who were 27-2 last year, won the Oregon 5A state championship for the third time in four years and finished runners-up to Centennial (Corona, CA) at the CCC, are back and return three starters including high-flying 6’6 wing Dakota Reber.
A strong contingent of programs from the Mid-Willamette Valley also will be competing in this year’s tournament. Sprague’s Olympians will be lead by seniors Kobe Withers and Mason Lomax and 6’9 sophomore post Dallon Morgan. The Titans of West Salem and sharp-shooting Justin Scoggin look to make some noise under Coach Travis Myers. Meanwhile, the South Salem Saxons, led by first-year coach Travis Brown and senior sparkplug Trey Galbraith, will be making their first appearance in the CCC.
“We expect all three of those Salem teams to play very well,” said Collier. “All three are really good teams with talented players, and any one of them could make a push in the CCC. It will be fun to see how they fare in the event.”
A quartet of Mid-Willamette Valley teams will add to the local flavor. Senior guard David Gonzalez will be leading a Silverton Foxes team that finished 25-3 and third at the OSAA 5A State Tournament one year ago. 7’3 senior Jasper Reinalda anchors the paint for a Corvallis Spartan team that looks to build on a strong season a year ago, while both the West Albany Bulldogs and Central Panthers will be making their first-ever appearances in the Capitol City Classic.
“Those seven teams from the Mid-Willamette Valley, that’s a strong group,” said Collier. “We are really excited for those programs and their kids, and we can’t wait to see how they do.”
Rounding out the 2019 field will be the Thurston Colts (20-7 one year ago, and the 2018 OSAA 5A state champions), the Parkrose Broncos (18-6 and 2nd in the 5A NWOC last year), and two additional first-time participants in the Wilson Trojans and the Scappoose Indians.
“We’re hoping basketball fans in the Mid-Willamette Valley and throughout Oregon will join us for what will be a huge week of great hoops at Willamette,” said Collier. “It’s definitely an exciting time for all of us.”
The CCC’s Contest Extravaganza – including the Les Schwab Tires Slam Dunk Contest – will be held Sunday, December 22nd beginning at about 5:45pm this year. “Given the talent in this field, that could be a doozy this year,” said Collier, “I think events like the dunk contest might be ‘can’t miss’ stuff this year.”
Tickets are on sale now at www.capitolcityclassic.com/tickets. Steeply discounted tickets for admission are available to students. Provided they have a school ASB card with photo ID, students from any school can buy a pass to attend any one entire day of the CCC for only $3. Salem-Keizer students with a photo ID ASB card can attend the CCC for an entire day for just $2 per student.
“We want youngsters who want to be at the CCC to be able to come and enjoy everything,” said Collier. “We think the new student ticket pricing will help promote that.”
Similarly, the Jingle Skills free basketball clinic for local players ages 7-14 will be held at Willamette on Sunday, December 22nd from 2:30-5:30pm, and it will be run in conjunction with Cascade Sports Camps, Willamette University’s Bearcat Hoops, and the Salem Hoops Project. All attendees at this fun basketball skills event will be granted free admission to the CCC’s Contest Extravaganza – including the Les Schwab Tires Slam Dunk Contest – on Sunday evening.
The Capitol City Showcase (www.capitolcityshowcase.com), a youth tournament for boys and girls in grades 4-8, is slated for December 14-15 before the high school event at local Salem-area schools. Teams playing in the CCS will get a free team outing to the CCC for their coaches and players. “We are excited about this, too,” said Collier, “because it again is building a relationship with the community’s kids.”
2019 CAPITOL CITY CLASSIC - OPENING ROUND PAIRINGS & SCHEDULE
Willamette University; Salem, OR
Wedneday, December 18
4:00pm - Parkrose Broncos vs. Tigard Tigers
5:30pm - Silverton Foxes vs. Sherwood Bowmen
7:00pm - Central Panthers vs. Wilsonville Wildcats
8:30pm - Corvallis Spartans vs. West Salem Titans
Thursday, December 19
4:00pm - Scappoose Indians vs. Lanier Longhorns (Buford, GA)
5:30pm - Wilson Trojans vs. Sprague Olympians
7:00pm - West Albany Bulldogs vs. South Salem Saxons