Since 1989, the Classic has featured 11 McDonald’s All-Americans, a dozen NCAA All-Americans and eight NBA players.
Yet it’s a 5-foot-9 guard from Anchorage who owns the single-game scoring record.
West’s Da’Zhon Wyche torched Planet Athlete (AZ) for a career-high 49 points in the 2016 semifinals.
“I had no idea I was capable of a game like that,” Wyche said recently. “I was locked in.”
The two-time Alaska Class 4A player of the year converted 18-of-35 field goals and 6-of-7 free throws. He made seven 3-pointers, grabbed five rebounds and added six assists.
His team lost the game 83-77, but Wyche stole the show with 34 points in the second half.
“I was just attacking them the entire game,” Wyche said. “And it was easy because I didn’t seem to be getting tired. It just felt like I was out there playing my normal game.”
Wyche broke the previous Classic record of 39 points shared by Trajan Langdon of East Anchorage (AK) in 1992 and Joshua Hampton of East Hall (GA) in 2012.
Wyche’s father Antonio was the West coach at that time and enjoyed a front-row seat to watch the show.
“When a kid gets into a flow that he got into, the basket looked huge,” Antonio said. “We had a saying, ‘Refuse to lose.’ That was his mindset.”
The bright lights of the Classic brought out the best in the senior star, who was already playing with a chip on his shoulder.
“We lost two main pieces from our championship team, so I felt like people counted us out,” Wyche said. “I had proven to Alaska schools what I was able to do so with the Lower 48 team it was just like the cherry on top.”
Wyche went on to play at the next level, spending his first two seasons at Laramie Country, a junior college where he averaged 18.7 points in 48 career games.
He is entering his senior season at the University of Texas at Tyler and has scored 1,195 career points in his college career.
The Classic has always had an intense atmosphere,” Wyche said. “I’m super thankful to have been able to play in the Classic for four years. So many great players and coaches have participated in it that it does make it a little better to have the scoring record.”
Wyche finished the tournament with 96 points – the second highest total in Classic history and the most among Alaska players. Doug Annison of Bishop Sullivan (LA) set the tournament scoring record of 98 points in 1990. Annison went on to play at LSU.