45th Annual St. John Lions Club Mid-Winter Classic starts, Tuesday.

The history of one of the longest running basketball tournaments returns to St. John next week with the 45th Annual Lions Club Mid-Winter Classic.

The tournament known almost as much for its famous pie and concessions as the competition, this year’s tournament promises both with Ness City stepping in to permanently fill a rotating spot in the bracket that opened up with Lyons left the tournament three years ago.

Competing this year are teams from St. John, Macksville, Pratt, Larned, Ness City, Central Plains and Medicine Lodge.

Pratt and Medicine Lodge faced off in the final game last year with Pratt winning 55-54.

This year fans are sure to see some tough competition again during the four-day tournament. St. John is currently ranked number 1 in Div. 1, 1A at 8-0. Ness City had an undefeated record until playing St. John last Friday falling 69-44.

Larned comes in with a 2-6 record, Medicine Lodge 2-5, Pratt 0-7, Central Plains 4-4, and Macksville 4-3. Most teams have two more games this week, brackets will be determined are seedings are set this week. A complete bracket will be posted in the St. John News Jan. 16 edition, which will be in newsstands before the first games are played on Tuesday.

Along with the tournament championship, St. John Booster Club Sportsmanship award will be up for grabs again. Larned won the award last year. The Sportsmanship award is voted on by a group of officials, and other members selected from the different communities. The votes are cast according to crowd size, participation conduct and other criteria.

Tournament play starts Tuesday. Check sjnewsonline.com or Like Us on facebook for score updates throughout the tournament.