Boys basketball: Holiday scouting, Lake County
Here's a closer look at the tournaments that the high school boys teams in Lake County will be involved in over the next couple of weeks.
Hinkle Holiday Classic
Location: Jacobs High School
When: Dec. 20, 22, 23, 26, 27
Format/History: This 16-team tournament is now in its 24th year. Two Lake County teams played for the championship last season. Zion-Benton defeated Carmel, 61-49.
Local interest: Carmel opens with Grant, Lakes opens with Rockford Jefferson, Zion-Benton opens with Crystal Lake South, Barrington opens with South Elgin
The field: Other teams include Cary-Grove, Johnsburg, Prairie Ridge, Larkin, Huntley, Marian Central, Bartlett, Jacobs.
Top teams: Zion-Benton, Jacobs, Bartlett, Larkin, Barrington
Top players: Zion-Benton's Admiral Schofield (Tennessee), Carmel's C.J. Duff, Larkin's Christian Negron, Barrington's Rapolas Ivanauskas
What the coaches say: "We go to Jacobs to see great competition. From top to bottom, this is a highly competitive holiday tournament. It also has teams from all over the place, which is great. I believe there are eight different conferences represented. I think this is a great opportunity for our kids to get out and see new teams and see quality teams. This tournament is a great challenge and something I think can help our players for the second half of the season. Another nice thing is after pool play, they set up brackets for different championships so you still have a chance to bring home a trophy even if you are not in the first-place bracket."
-- Lakes coach Chris Snyder
E.C. Nichols Holiday Classic
Location: Marengo High School
When: Dec. 20, 22, 23 and 27
Format/History: This 16-team tournament is now in its 65th year.
Local interest: Antioch opens with Chicago Clark, Round Lake opens with Crystal Lake Central, Wauconda opens with Elgin. Wauconda won the tournament in 2012.
The field: Other teams include Harvest Christian, North Boone, Marengo, Richmond-Burton, Rockford Christian, Sycamore, Stillman Valley, Westminster Christian, Woodstock, Woodstock North.
Top teams: Richmond-Burton got the top seed, but there is plenty of parity in the tournament. Wauconda, Woodstock and Antioch are also top contenders.
Top players: Woodstock's Mason Sutter and Vannis Smith, Wauconda's Ben Carlson, Richmond-Burton's Joey St. Pierre
What the coaches say: "There is a great feel with this tourney. We opened last year with a 9 a.m. game, then had a 7:30 p.m. game later that same day. We stayed out there for the day and bowled and hung out and came out and played one of our best games of the season in that nightcap. Long day, but fun. There are many different schools there that we don't get to see as well."
-- Antioch coach Jim White
"I think this tournament does a great job of finding a range of teams that allows a lot of teams to be competitive. We have been in holiday tournaments where it was a good year if we lost by single digits to two out of three teams in pool play. Here I think we are more competitive."
-- Wauconda coach Scott Luetschwager
Proviso West Holiday Tournament
Location: Proviso West High School
When: Dec. 20-27
Format/History: This 18-team tournament is now in its 54th year.
Local interest: Stevenson opens with the winner of New Trier vs. Providence St. Mel.
The field: Other teams include Proviso West, Phillips, Rockford Auburn, St. Viator, Maine South, Uplift, Fenwick, Hillcrest, Hinsdale Central, Proviso East, Kenwood, Morton, St. Joseph, St. Rita, Homewood-Flossmoor.
Top teams: Stevenson, St. Joseph, St. Rita and Kenwood are the top four seeds respectively. Stevenson won the tournament title last season by defeating Morgan Park in the championship game.
Top players: Stevenson's Jalen Brunson (Villanova), Stevenson's Connor Cashaw (Rice), Bogan's Luwane Pipkins (UMass), St. Rita's Charles Matthews (Kentucky), Hinsdale Central's Matt Rafferty, St. Joseph's Glynn Watson (Nebraska), Hinsdale Central's George Kiernan (Navy), Morton's Weisner Perez (Harvard)
What the coaches say: "I worked at Proviso West for three years and I helped with the tournament a little bit and I saw the background of it and how well it is run. There is also a lot of prestige to this tournament. The teams will test you in many ways on a daily basis."
-- Stevenson coach Pat Ambrose
Wildcat Hardwood Classic
Location: Wheeling High School
When: Dec. 22, 23, 26, 27
Format/History: This 16-team tournament is now in its 37th year.
Local interest: Vernon Hills opens with Libertyville, Deerfield opens with Waukegan.
The field: Other teams include Lake Park, Maine West, Notre Dame, Buffalo Grove, Prospect, Streamwood, Niles North, Glenbrook South, Naperville Central, Wheeling, Fremd, Dundee-Crown
Top teams: Notre Dame, Fremd, Niles North, Deerfield, Libertyville
Top players: Notre Dame's Joe Mooney, Libertyville's Joe Borcia, Vernon Hills' Robby Nardini, Deerfield's Jack Lieb. Borcia and Lieb are both 6-foot-10.
What the coaches say: "Historically, this is one of the best tournaments around. The competition is always top notch. When you come back to watch the championship game, it is always jam-packed. It is always fun to watch games that include some great local rivalries along with Division I talent sprinkled in."
-- Vernon Hills coach Matt McCarty
Chuck Dayton Holiday Tournament
Location: DeKalb High School
When: Dec. 22, 23, 26, 27
Format/History: This 16-team tournament is now in its 87th year.
Local interest: Mundelein opens with St. Charles East.
The field: Other teams include DeKalb, Schurz, Belvidere, West Chicago, Hampshire, Harlem, Moline, Rochelle, Glenbrook North, Belvidere North, Eisenhower, Marmion Academy, Sterling, Winnebago.
Top teams: St. Charles East, DeKalb and Moline are the top three seeds respectively.
Top players: St. Charles East's Cole Gentry, DeKalb's Luke Davis.
What the coaches say: "For the first time in about eight years, we're not taking a trip out-of-state. I was looking for a tournament in the area that would do for us what the out-of-state trips have done in regards to playing teams we normally wouldn't see. I think the DeKalb tournament does that. If I'm not mistaken, I believe it is one of the longest-running tournaments in Illinois. My senior year at Grayslake, we played out there and beat Libertyville, which was a big deal for our school then."
-- Mundelein coach Cory Knigge
State Farm Holiday Classic
Location: Normal West High School
When: Dec. 26-Dec. 30
Format/History: There are a total of 64 boys and girls teams playing in the tournament, which is broken up into four sections. There is a small school and large school division for both boys and girls. Each division has 16 teams. The tournament has existed since 1975.
Local interest: In the large-school boys division, Grayslake Central opens with Rockton Hononegah. North Chicago opens with Rock Island.
The field: Other teams in the large-school division include Normal Community, Plainfield South, North Lawndale, Notre Dame, Edwardsville, Normal U-High, Mahomet-Seymour, Springfield, Champaign Centennial, Chillicothe, Thornwood and Chatham Glenwood.
Top teams: Normal Community, Rock Island and Champaign Centennial got the top three seeds respectively.
Top players: Rock Island's Tyler Hall (Montana State), Normal Community's Tyler Seibring (Elon), Mahomet-Seymour's Christian Romine (UTEP).
What the coaches say: "There are at least eight ranked Class 3A and Class 4A schools in the tournament and more that could be ranked by the start of the tournament. The opportunity to play some great basketball programs that we would not normally see in our area and the great level of competition is why we want to play in this tournament."
-- Grayslake Central coach Kosta Kougias
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
Location: Pontiac High School
When: Dec. 29-31
Format/History: This 16-team tournament is now in its 84th year.
Local interest: Warren opens with St. Charles North
The field: Other teams include Plainfield North, Bloomington, Bloom Township, Benet, Chicago Curie, Danville, Oak Park-River Forest, Peoria Manual, Aurora West, Lockport, Simeon, Pontiac, Joliet West, Niles West.
Top teams: Simeon, Curie, Plainfield North and Aurora West are the top four seeds respectively.
Top players: Simeon's D.J. Williams (Illinois), Simeon's Ed Morrow (Nebraska), Simeon's Isaiah Moss (Iowa), Plainfield North's Trevor Stumpe (Wofford), Aurora West's Roland Griffin (Illinois State), Curie's Josh Stamps
What the coaches say: "It is one of the strongest tournaments in Illinois and Warren has always gone to play there. Simeon has the most talent with an abundance of Division I players. Spending time together and eating together is always a good perk."
-- Warren coach Ryan Webber
Pekin Insurance Holiday Tournament
Location: Pekin High School
When: Dec. 29-31
Format/History: This 16-team tournament is now in its 50th year.
Local interest: Lake Zurich opens with Richwoods.
The field: Other teams include Limestone, Peoria, United Township, Plainfield East, Morton, Evanston, Mt. Carmel, Boylan, Normal West, Hersey, Pekin, Freeport, Lanphier, Washington.
Top teams: Lake Zurich is the No. 1 seed, followed by Peoria, Evanston and Pekin respectively. Plainfield East and Washington are also top contenders.
Top players: Lake Zurich's Mike Travlos (Hillsdale), Plainfield East's Aaron Jordan (Illinois), Evanston's Nojel Eastern, Washington's Louis Griffith.
What the coaches say: "It is great to play against and see teams from other parts of the state and there are many different styles at Pekin. The team bonding, staying in a hotel, going out to dinners are a lot of fun as well."
-- Lake Zurich coach Billy Pitcher
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- Lakes Community High School
- Libertyville High School
- Mundelein High School
- Round Lake High School
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