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History of the Frank Spencer Holiday Classic

High schools compete for bragging rights in the basketball tournament. It’s named after a man who influenced the sport locally.


Players at RJ Reynolds High School in the 1960s didn’t get to participate in the tournament.

Photo courtesy of Forsyth County Library Photograph Collection via Digital Forsyth

High school basketball players from 16 schools are hitting the hardwoods at East Forsyth and Mount Tabor High Schools. The Frank Spencer Holiday Classic is back for the 48th year.

The three-day event is named after longtime local sports editor Frank Spencer, who was a big fan of basketball. He was 20 years old when he created the Northwest North Carolina Basketball Tournament in 1926. Its popularity and his advocacy for the sport resulted in the construction of many high school gymnasiums throughout North Carolina. The tournament was played until 1951.

Spencer died in 1973. The Frank Spencer Holiday Classic began the following year to honor him and has been played nearly ever year since. Some players, like Chris Paul and Josh Howard, have gone on to play in the NBA.

You’ll need $10 in cash to watch the games. The championship will be played at Mount Tabor on Thursday, Dec. 21.