DuPage County teams ready to fight for a midseason trophy
Get ready for a busy holiday season of boys basketball in DuPage County.Between the tournaments at York, Glenbard West, IC Catholic Prep/Westmont and the debut event at Hinsdale Central, 64 teams will be competing for trophies of all shapes and sizes. And that’s just a beginning. DuPage County’s 29 teams soon will begin scattering to 12 holiday tournaments from Wheeling to Centralia. Here’s a look at what to expect over the next two weeks.York: Dec. 26, 28-31.The field: Batavia, Conant, DeLaSalle, Downers Grove South, Elk Grove, Glenbard East, Highland Park, Hinsdale South, Lake Forest, Lane Tech, Lyons Twp., McHenry, Metea Valley, Minooka, Naperville North, Nazareth, Oswego, Palatine, Providence, Riverside-Brookfield, Rolling Meadows, St. Ignatius, St. Laurence, St. Patrick, Sandburg, Schaumburg, Stagg, Thornton Fractional South, Timothy Christian, Waubonsie Valley, Wheaton North, York.The favorite: Riverside-Brookfield.The scoop: Ranked No. 2 in Class 4A, No. 1 seed Riverside-Brookfield looks to win its first Jack Tosh title since 2001. Returning four starters plus Whitney Young transfer Skyler Nash from a 28-4 sectional champion, the Bulldogs finished second at York in 2014 to two-time defending champ Lake Forest. A potential semifinal awaits with Hinsdale South and Northwestern recruit Barret Benson. Downers South heads the other bracket, an even group in a tourney that showcases various styles and teams from large (Lyons Twp.) to small (Timothy Christian).Quotable: “In terms of preparing your team, it’s going to prepare you. Whether you do better or you have some struggles, you’re going to be better for it,” said Metea Valley coach Bob Vozza.Glenbard West: Dec. 21-23, 26.The field: Glenbard North, Glenbard West, Hoffman Estates, Leyden, Northridge Prep, St. Francis, Wheaton Academy, Willowbrook.The favorite: Glenbard West.The scoop: Playing on its home court with one of the state’s top players, unbeaten Glenbard West is the obvious team to beat. William and Mary-bound wing Justin Pierce has gotten off to a tremendous start, and so has point guard Alex Passi. It’d be a shock if Glenbard West didn’t emerge atop the Green Pool, but the White Pool is a tossup. None of the four teams — Glenbard North, Hoffman Estates, Leyden and Wheaton Academy — has a winning record. Wheaton Academy, after a few years away, makes its return to Glenbard West. Quotable: “If you look at the record, I guess you’d have to consider us as a favorite,” said Glenbard West coach Tim Hoder. “But there are some quality programs coming in with competitive teams. I think a lot of teams are looking forward to getting some momentum for the second half of the season.”Wheeling: Dec. 21-23, 26.The field: Buffalo Grove, Deerfield, Dundee-Crown, Fremd, Glenbrook South, Lake Park, Libertyville, Maine West, Naperville Central, Niles North, Notre Dame, Prospect, Streamwood, Vernon Hills, Waukegan, Wheeling.The favorites: Deerfield, Fremd, Naperville Central, Notre Dame.The scoop: There’s a reason four teams are listed as a favorite. This tournament’s up for grabs. In terms of local hopes, Naperville Central has as good a shot as anyone. The experienced tandem of Matthew Meier, who scored 52 points in two wins last week, and Harrison Hallstrom leads the Redhawks, who have lost only on the road to Oswego and Glenbard West. A win over Maine West likely sets up a second-rounder against Deerfield. Defending champion Lake Park is in the opposite bracket and has an interesting first-round matchup against Prospect.