Holiday tournaments tip off for area boys basketball teams

Benet and Downers Grove South head to expanded Proviso West tourney, Bolingbrook hits the McDipper, Westmont co-hosts an event, Lisle head to Plano and Downers North head to Addison before winter break

Caption
(Matthew Piechalak)
Bolingbrook guard Kendall Guyton (No. 25) eyes a rebound during a game against Sandburg on Friday, Dec. 7, 2012. Staff photo by Matthew Piechalak

The holiday season brings with it a slew of basketball tournaments throughout the state. When the holidays hit, these teams will scatter to several different locations.

BENET
TOURNAMENT
Proviso West Holiday Tournament
LOCATION Proviso West High School, 4701 W. Harrison St., Hillside
FIRST GAME 3:45 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 vs. Urban Prep West
WHAT TO WATCH The Proviso West tournament is actually the culmination of a busy December for the Redwings. They started their holiday season play Tuesday at the Plainfield North tournament against the host Tigers, and they were scheduled to play Thornton Fractional North Wednesday, Lincoln-Way North Thursday and Lockport Friday to finish off the tourney. Then it’s off to face St. Ignatius at 3 p.m. Saturday at Loyola Academy as part of the CCL/ESCC shootout before starting play at Proviso, which is one of the premier events in the country. It may be hectic, but in the long run it could benefit Benet.

“Playing in two tournaments allows us a chance to play quite a few games early and it also gives us a chance to find out more about our team going into the most important part of the season — second half and conference play,” Benet head coach Gene Heidkamp said. “Playing different teams with different styles of play prepares us better for the state tournament.”

Morton or Dunbar will be the second-round foe Dec. 27 with Proviso East, Rockford Auburn, Foreman or Thornton Fractional South waiting down the line.

BOLINGBROOK
TOURNAMENT
McDipper
LOCATION Rich South High School, 5000 Sauk Trail, Richton Park
FIRST GAME 9 a.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26 vs. King
WHAT TO WATCH The Raiders are back on familiar ground at the McDipper tournament, which runs four consecutive days before concluding Dec. 29. For the 2012 version, they face Chicago King in the first game of the tournament.

“Hopefully our guys will be up, alert and ready,” Bolingbrook coach Rob Brost said of the early game time. “That is always a tough time to draw, but their kids will be fighting the same thing.”

“King is a solid team. If they weren’t good, they wouldn’t be invited to the McDipper,” Brost added. “They are athletic and quick, they have put together a few nice wins early in the season and they are going to surprise some people moving forward. The field is stacked with quality teams, as always.”

Being tested throughout the McDipper is in line with the Raiders’ goal of improving each game. Crete-Monee or Thornton wait in the second round. Marian Catholic, Leo, Bloom and Hales Franciscan could meet the Raiders later in the tournament.

Four games in four days (the tournament championship game is at 7 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 29) will be a bit of a switch for the Raiders. They had just two games scheduled between Dec. 8 and Dec. 20 — at home against Romeoville Tuesday, Dec. 18 and at Glenbard West Thursday, Dec. 20.


DOWNERS GROVE NORTH
TOURNAMENT
Addison Trail Pre-Holiday Tournament
LOCATION Addison Trail High School, 213 N. Lombard Road, Addison
NEXT GAME 4:30 p.m. Saturday vs. St. Laurence
WHAT TO WATCH The Trojans will get their holiday tournament play out of the way early as they join host Addison Trail, Wheaton Warrenville South, St. Laurence and St. Francis De Sales for a quartet of games. The Trojans, 5-4 entering the tourney, opened with a 48-46 win against WWS on Tuesday and will face St. Laurence at 4:30 p.m. Saturday in the second game of the event. They are set to play De Sales at 5:30 p.m. next Wednesday and the host Trail Blazers at 6 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 21 to wrap up tournament play.

North had a measure of success with a 2-2 mark at the Wheaton Academy Thanksgiving tournament and will be looking to have even more success at Addison Trail. With Nick Norton, Rimas Barsketis and David Edwards leading the way, the Trojans had won three straight games over Glenbard South, Proviso West and Willowbrook entering the tourney.

DOWNERS GROVE SOUTH
TOURNAMENT
Proviso West Holiday Tournament
LOCATION Proviso West High School, 4701 W. Harrison St., Hillside
FIRST GAME 12:15 p.m. Dec. 22 vs. Westinghouse
WHAT TO WATCH The Mustangs are on the move, switching from York’s Jack Tosh Tournament to the newly-expanded Proviso West tourney, which is one of the premier events in the state. Former Tosh cohorts St. Charles East and Maine South also are making the same switch.

South, which started the year 4-2 even though it returned just one starter (Danny Spinuzza) this winter, might take some lumps at Proviso, but playing elite competition will only serve to make the team better. Win or lose against Westinghouse, the Mustangs will take on Chicago charter school Ellison or south suburban powerhouse Homewood-Flossmoor in the second round Thursday, Dec. 27. The tourney concludes with seventh-, fifth-, third- and first-place games Dec. 31.


LISLE
TOURNAMENT
Plano Holiday Tournament
LOCATION Plano High School, 704 W. Abe St., Plano
FIRST GAME 9 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 22 
WHAT TO WATCH The brackets for the Plano tourney have yet to be announced, but there is definitely an Interstate Eight Conference flavor to the event as Lisle and Plano will be joined by I-8 rivals Sandwich, Seneca, Coal City and Wilmington.

The first game tips off at 9 a.m. Dec. 22, with eight games scheduled between Plano’s main and auxiliary gym each day. A total of 24 teams comprise the field, including 2011-12 regional champions Forreston, Hinckley-Big Rock, Newark, Plano, Streator and Kaneland all in the mix.

WESTMONT
TOURNAMENT
Immaculate Conception/Westmont Christmas Tournament
LOCATION Westmont High School, 909 Oakwood Dr., Westmont
FIRST GAME 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, Dec. 26 vs. St. Edward
WHAT TO WATCH There may be no place like home for the holidays, and Westmont is hoping that home cooking translates into a successful tournament run.

After facing St. Edward, the Sentinels will then take on Elmwood Park at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 27 and Morgan Park Academy at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 28. Wins in all three games would put Westmont into the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Dec. 29. The four teams competing at Immaculate Conception include the co-host Knights, Latin, Northside Prep and Evergreen Park.

Westmont would of course love to compete for the tourney title, but to head coach Craig Etheridge it is more important to set a positive tone for the second half of the season.

“Especially in years when we’ve been rebuilding, we always look at the Christmas tournament as a turning point in the season,” Etheridge said. “That’s where we want to see what we’re capable of. By the time of your 10th or 11th game, you need to be ready for games and you should have a pretty good idea of what you’re going to be.”

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