December’s holiday season gives girls basketball teams a chance to break away from conference play as a slew of tournaments come onto the schedule. Lisle and Benet both host their own tourneys, with the Lions starting play next week and the Redwings concluding this weekend.
Tournament: Lisle Cage Classic
Location: Lisle High School, 1800 Short St., Lisle
First game: 5 p.m. Thurday, Dec. 26 vs. Latin
What to watch: In his first season as Lisle head coach, Nick Balaban has recorded nine wins in 11 games. The Lions are dominating teams on both sides of the ball, shutting teams down with a swarming defense and spreading scoring throughout the lineup. As a result, they sit near the top of the Interstate Eight Conference with a 9-2 overall record and unblemished 4-0 mark in conference.
Lisle will host its 16-team Holiday Cage Classic from Dec. 26 to Dec. 30. The Lions’ first game tips off at 5 p.m. Dec. 26, against the Latin School of Chicago. If Lisle advances, the team will either play Antioch or rival Westmont for a shot at the quarterfinals. Westmont is off to a slow start to their season, while Antioch, the top seed of the tournament, has dropped just one game. Wheaton Academy,
Timothy Christian, St. Francis, and I-8 foes Reed-Custer and Coal City also will compete in the Holiday Cage Classic.
“This is a very competitive field,” Balaban said. “We play Latin in first round, and they are very disciplined and really well coached. We have a chance to play an exceptional Antioch team in the second round, and that would also be a very good test for us.”
The championship game is scheduled for 8 p.m. Dec. 30.
Tournament: Benet/Naperville North Tournament
Location: Benet Academy, 2200 Maple Ave., Lisle
Next game: Friday, Dec. 20
What to watch: Benet is off to another productive start under longtime head coach Peter Paul. The Redwings started 6-2 to begin the season, with a notable victory over a tough Hinsdale Central team.
The Redwings will not have to travel much over the holiday break, as the team continues to play at its Benet/Naperville North Tournament this weekend. They began tournament play with a win over Glenbard West Dec. 12 and carried over some momentum the into the next day when they emerged with a hard fought, 71-61 win over Kenwood.
The tournament resumes on Friday and concludes on Saturday, after which the Redwings will take a break from game action until the new year.