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A Seattle-area high school boys basketball tournament set to take place before Christmas announced an updated field that will pit many of the top teams in the state of Washington — and three out-of-state entries — against one another.

The Hardwood Invite, set to take place at Auburn High School from Dec. 18-21, added defending 3A state champion Garfield, Silas (formerly Wilson) and Winter Haven of Florida.

They replace several out-of-state teams that were denied entry.

According to tournament organizer Ryan Menten, PHH Prep (Ariz.), Our Savior Lutheran (N.Y.), Hillcrest Prep (Ariz.) were turned away by the National Federation of State High School Associations, which sanctions in-season high school basketball tournaments.

Though it’s unclear exactly why the NFHS denied sanction, many high school state associations — including the OSAA and WIAA — don’t permit member schools to play high schools not recognized by their home state associations. 

Nine Washington high schools in the field played in the 2019 state playoffs, including the defending 1A state champion King’s and 3A runner-up O’Dea. 

Auburn is widely regarded as a 3A state favorite entering the 2021-22 season.

Winter Haven of Florida is led by Dylan James, a 6-foot-8 Rivals four-star prospect with offers from Alabama and Creighton, among others.

“It’s something our community in Auburn, we’ve never seen anything like this,” Auburn coach Ryan Hansen told SBLive in September. “To have teams come in from all over the country, it’s pretty exciting. I think our community will get behind it.”

Here are the first round matchups:

First round matchups (Saturday, Dec. 18)

Silas vs. Union

Eastside Catholic vs. Ferris

Nathan Hale vs. South Medford (Ore.)

Federal Way vs. Summit Atlas (BFL Prep)

Garfield vs. King’s

O’Dea vs. Gonzaga Prep

Auburn vs. Westview (Ore.)

Winter Haven (Fla.) vs. Ingraham


(Lead photo by Vince Miller)