Skip to main content

Neosho Holiday Classic History

Neosho Holiday Classic

Neosho Holiday Classic History


Since 1954, high school basketball squads have converged in southwest Missouri to face off in the Neosho Holiday Classic. Over the years, the tournament has provided thrilling match-ups, amazing upsets, nationally ranked teams, Division I college players and NBA talent.

Branco Enterprises, Inc, tournament sponsor since 1998, is proud to bring another year of excellent high school basketball to Neosho, Missouri.


While the tournament has a rich history, it began to waiver in the 90s. At its lowest point, it included only four teams, one of which was the Neosho junior varsity. Aiming for a tournament revival and noting that successful high school basketball tournaments are driven by both business and community support, Branco Enterprises, Inc. stepped in and became the official tournament sponsor in 1998. Since then, the tournament has grown by leaps and bounds and has become one of the premier tournaments in the nation. A girl's division was added in 2001, and the tournament achieved the goal of fielding 16 boys teams and 16 girls teams in 2009 (the 2011 edition also fielded 32 total teams).


The tournament has survived for many decades due to the dedication of the tournament staff, unwavering community support and the quality of play provided by talented local, regional and national teams. The high caliber of play seen at the Neosho Holiday Classic never ceases to amaze. Many scouts find their way to Neosho to observe and evaluate that talent.

Teams that have recently journeyed to Neosho for the Holiday Classic are:

  • Atascocita (Humble, TX)
  • Sunrise Christian (Wichita, KS)
  • Fort Bend Travis (Houston, TX)
  • Central Park Christian (Birmingham, AL)
  • South Atlanta (Atlanta, GA)
  • Cypress Christian (Houston, TX)
  • San Diego High (San Diego, CA)
  • Thunderbird (Phoenix, AZ)

The 2011 tournament boasted two of the top teams in the nation: Sunrise Christian Academy out of Kansas and Travis High School out of Texas. Travis High School’s Andrew and Aaron Harrison were both drafted into the NBA in 2015.  Buddy Hield of Sunrise Christian was selected Noo. 6 overall in the 2016 NBA draft by the New Orleans Pelicans.

The 2013 Neosho Holiday Classic included two top teams from Florida and Texas. Sagemont High School (Weston, Florida) was led by Prince Aliand G.G. Goloman, who both signed with UCLA.  Malik Monk (Bentonville, Arkansas) put on a show in both the games and the dunk contest. Malik was the first round pick (No. 11 overall) for the Charlotte Hornets in the 2017 NBA draft.


The 2014 tournament featured some amazing matchups between national and local talent. The East Newton Boys team won the Boys Black Division, and St. Joseph Lafayette won the Boys Gold Division. In the Girls Bracket, our local Neosho team won the Black Division, with Senior Chelsey Henry reaching a major milestone of 1,000 points in her high school career. Springdale won the Gold Division over Bentonville on a buzzer beater.


The 2015 tournament champions, Atascocita, featured point guard Carsen Edwards, who played for Purdue. 


The 2016 tournament featured three high caliber teams including: Dekaney High School (Houston), Maumelle High School (Arkansas) and Life Prep Academy (Wichita, Kansas). 


Some of the other big names who have competed in our tournament includes:

  • Lourawls Nairn (Michigan State)
  • Van Green (Columbia, Rice)
  • Jamelle Horn (Arizona)
  • Shekinna Stricklen (Tennessee)
  • Biko Paris (Boston College)
  • Jeremy Tyler (NBA D-League)
  • Hasheem Thabeet (NBA D-League)
  • Josh Freeman (NFL Quarterback)
  • Malik Monk (NBA)



The tournament has become one of the biggest events in the community of Neosho, providing an economic boost for local business and sales tax revenues for the city of Neosho. While the community has reaped significant benefits from the tournament's success, the motivation behind Branco's involvement is the players. It is Branco's desire to provide local, regional and national high school basketball teams with a fun and exciting tournament, as well as a level of hospitality that is both unmatched and genuine. The benefits for the players are diverse and numerous.

For one, bringing in nationally ranked teams and players also brings in college recruiters. Hence, the players get a level of exposure that they normally would not. On top of that, the players relish the opportunity to compete with some of the nation's best players and teams, leaving them with lifelong memories. Furthermore, the incoming teams and players are beneficiaries of unrivaled hospitality. Branco covers all of the lodging expenses for teams that have to stay overnight, and Branco covers the traveling costs for two nationally recognized teams that typically must travel a great distance to get to Neosho. In addition, Branco gives each player and coach a tournament t-shirt and Branco supplies and staffs hospitality rooms for coaches, players, officials and administrators. Hot meals are provided all day long, and the players and coaches are always amazed at the quality of the food and the service that comes with it.

Since Branco's involvement in the Neosho Holiday Classic, it has become a community-wide event. Throughout the week of the tournament, the gym is packed with local and nonlocal fans, and the gym (which seats 2,400) is filled to capacity on multiple occasions. During the festive three-point and slam dunk contests, the gym is typically over capacity with guests overflowing on the sidelines and out the gym doors. Local food vendors are used to supply the hospitality rooms and feed the players, coaches, officials, etc. Moreover, local churches have volunteered to provide the players with home-cooked hot meals: another unique aspect of the tournament's dedication to hospitality.

Even though the extent of the benefits to people from other communities cannot be measured, Branco has received glimpses into the far-reaching effects of the tournament. For example, after the 2010 tournament, Branco received a thank you note from Jeff Flanigan, head coach of the Ashdown (Arkansas) High School Basketball Team. He expressed his sincere gratitude and told us that he and his kids would have never had the opportunity to play in a first-class basketball tournament, if it were not for the Neosho Holiday Classic. He and his team were very touched by the hospitality of the Neosho community. 


Holiday Classic Tournament Winners




Boys Division Past Champions

2022 — Black Division – Crooked Oak, Oklahoma City, Oklahoma

  Gold Division – Cypress Falls, Texas

2021 — Black Division – Neosho, Missouri

  Gold Division – Maumelle, Arkansas 

2020 — East Newton, Missouri

2019 — Black Division – Bentonville, Arkansas 

  Gold Division – West Memphis, Arkansas

2018 — Black Division – Bentonville, Arkansas

  Gold Division – West Memphis, Arkansas  

2017 — North Little Rock, Arkansas 

2016 — Life Prep Academy, Wichita, Kansas 

2015 — Atascocita, Humble, Texas 

2014 — Black Division – East Newton, Missouri
  Gold Division – Lafayette, St. Joseph Missouri 

2013 — Black Division – Morrilton, Arkansas
  Gold Division – Sagemont, Florida  

2012 — Sunrise Christian, Bel Aire, Kansas

2011 — Sunrise Christian, Bel Aire, Kansas 

2010 — Carthage, Missouri

2009 — Central Park Christian School (Birmingham, Ala.)

2008 — Van Buren, Arkansas 

2007 — Marietta, Georgia 

2006 — Kansas City Ruskin, Missouri 

2005 — Cypress Christian (Houston, Texas)

2004 — Springdale, Arkansas

2003 — Fayetteville, Arkansas

2002 — Neosho, Missouri

2001 — Neosho, Missouri 

2000 — Neosho, Missouri

1999 — Neosho, Missouri

1998 — Springfield Hillcrest, Missouri

1997 — Siloam Springs, Arkansas

1996 — Owasso, Oklahoma  

1995 — Neosho, Missouri

1994 — Neosho, Missouri

1993 — Siloam Springs, Arkansas

1992 — Diamond, Missouri

1991 — Siloam Springs, Arkansas

1990 — Neosho, Missouri

1989 — McDonald County, Anderson, Missouri

1988 — McDonald County, Anderson, Missouri

1987 — East Newton, Missouri

1986 — Carthage, Missouri

1985 — McDonald County, Missouri

1984 — Joplin Memorial, Missouri

1983 — Rogers, Arkansas

1982 — Neosho, Missouri

1981 — Carthage, Missouri

1980 — Joplin Memorial, Missouri

1979 — Joplin Memorial, Missouri

1978 — Joplin Memorial, Missouri

1977 — Joplin Memorial, Missouri

1976 — Joplin Memorial, Missouri

1975 — Carthage, Missouri

1974 — McDonald County, Anderson, Missouri

1973 — McDonald County, Anderson, Missouri

1972 — Webb City, Missouri 

1971 — Carthage, Missouri

1970 — Carthage, Missouri

1969 — Mount Vernon, Missouri

1968 — Carthage, Missouri

1967 — Wheaton, Missouri

1966 — Wheaton, Missouri

1965 — Neosho, Missouri

1964 — Lamar, Missouri

1963 — Goodman, Missouri

1962 — Granby, Missouri

1961 — Carthage, Missouri

1960 — Carthage, Missouri 

1959 — Springfield Central, Missouri

1958 — Neosho, Missouri

1957 — Carthage, Missouri

1956 — Carthage, Missouri

1955 — Joplin, Missouri






Girls Division Past Champions

2022 – Ft. Smith Northside, Arkansas 

2021 — Ft. Smith Northside, Arkansas 

2020 — No tournament 

2019 — White Haven, Memphis, Tennessee 

2018 — St. Joseph Central, Missouri 

2017 — North Little Rock, Arkansas 

2016 — Van Buren, Arkansas 

2015 — Van Buren, Arkansas 

2014 — Black Division – Neosho, Missouri 

  Gold Division – Springdale, Arkansas 

2013 — Black Division – Neosho, Missouri 

  Gold Division – Bentonville, Arkansas 

2012 — Black Division – Webb City, Missouri

  Gold Division – Pierce, City, Missouri 

2011 — Bentonville, Arkansas 

2010 — Bentonville, Arkansas 

2009 — Fair Grove, Missouri

2008 — Neosho, Missouri

2007 — Morrilton, Arkansas 

2006 — Siloam Springs, Arkansas 

2005 — Morrilton, Arkansas 

2004 — Morrilton, Arkansas 

2003 — Morrilton, Arkansas 

2002 — Republic, Missouri

2001 — Sapulpa, Oklahoma