Holiday Tournament Previews!!!!!!!!
This is a busy time of the year for high school basketball in Illinois and the Chicago Area. Hinsdale Central has already started but I have some thoughts anyway:
HINSDALE CENTRAL- Favorite is Stevenson(Lincolnshire) who struggled for a quarter in the 1st round but is still the team to watch. The Ambrose brothers(Matt a senior, Evan a junior) are the key as the shooter(Matt) and the point guard Evan running the show. Senior forward RJ Holmes will have to stay out of foul trouble the deeper they go into the tournament. Defending champ Marian Catholic with senior point guard Ahron Ulis will not go down without a fight. Darkhorse teams are Homewood Flossmoor, DePaul Prep and Wesinghouse. Westinghouse and DePaul Prep match up with each other in the quarterfinals on Thursday.
PROVISO WEST- Bogan is a heavy favorite with the Antoine Bloxton and Darrion Jones backcourt being devastating putting up points in bunches. Fenwick is the 2 seed with junior Bryce Hopkins and sophomore point guard Trey Pettigrew. I think this will be the title game on Sunday. Hillcrest vs Hyde Park is an attractive first round match up.
BIG DIPPER- This one has already started also. Thornton is the heavy favorite who has won this tournament more than any other school. If they don't win the tournament it would be a huge upset. There's not a lot of depth out at Rich South, but Farragut(Chicago) could pull that major upset as they've been known to do that.
PONTIAC- Usually the deepest tournament in the state, it looks like Bloom and Curie are heavy favorites to play in the title game on Saturday. Danville could ruin this if they get to the semifinals and match up with Bloom. Joliet West is another talented threat but they are a junior laden team with little big time game experience. We will see how they play under the bright lights. Simeon to me looks disjointed right now, but could prove me wrong with a big run here.
WHEELING- Notre Dame College Prep is the heavy favorite even without their point guard Anthony Sayles. The teams with the biggest chance to spring the upset are Niles North with Aquan Smart averaging about 25 points a game,and Glenbrook South with Dom Martinelli who averages over 30 points a game.
YORK- This is a 32 team tournament over 5 days. It could be a battle of attrition out there. The host York is the defending champ and still has Nate Shockley. This tournament has the state's best prospect in junior guard Max Christie of Rolling Meadows. He's consensus Top 15 nationally in his class. I'll say Bolingbrook is the favorite with their speed and pressure. Usually I would question if they can do it 5 days in a row, but this tournament is taking a break on Sunday. Brother Rice, Hinsdale South, Conant, and Schaumburg are other threats.
COLLINSVILLE- The host team undefeated Collinsville is favored as they have an overtime win over Chicago Public League Power Morgan Park. Look for undefeated Mundelein to challenge.
CENTRALIA- Undefeated and my #1 team Evanston should win it unless an out of state school comes in and takes the hardware.
PEKIN- Lake Park(Roselle) should win this tournament but look out for Lanpher(Springfield) which has some very good talent.