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Photo credit: Amanda Ray/Yakima Herald-Republic

Elijah Pepper (left) and Corbin Christensen (right) in the 2018 All-Star Classic.

2018 Girls All-Star game

Photo credit: Amanda Ray/Yakima Herald-Republic

Marissa Cortes (left) and Alyssa Agundis (right) in the 2018 All-Star Classic.

2018 Boys All-Star game

Now known as the SWX All-Star Classic, the series was originally called the Newspaper Classic and was conceived in 1994 by the sports departments of the Yakima Herald-Republic and the Tri-City Herald. It was considered the grand finale to the long high school season and featured one boys game and one girls game with 10 players on each roster.

In 2000, the name was changed to the Media Classic and the series was expanded to give more athletes a chance to play. The all-stars from the Class 4A and 3A schools would have their own game. So would the all-stars from the 2A, 1A and B schools. While it allowed more player participation, it also become more fun for the fans as they could watch the players from all classifications come together on the same court, often for the first time.

In 2004, the format returned to one boys game and one girls game with all classifications playing together. The rosters were expanded to 15 players and the quarters were extended to 10 minutes to allow maximum participation.

The games continued until 2015 when the newspapers' changed their focus and no longer had the resources to plan the games.

After a two-year absence, Jeff Morrow and Parker Hodge, two former Herald employees who had together planned the games for over a decade, decided to revive the series and partnered with the staff at KNDU/SWX to televise them.

The excitement about the rebirth of the series was evident as 1,100 fans packed into the Kamiakin High School gym in 2018 and had the chance to see the most talented players from the Mid-Columbia and Yakima Valley play together on one floor — often for the first time.

The history of the storied All-Star Classic

The proceeds of the game are always donated to a charity of the planner's choice. In 2018, the benefactors were the YMCA of the Greater Tri-Cities and the Kamiakin dance team. The games have generated over $20,000 for local charities in the history of the series.

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