Prepping for another busy tournament season in DuPage County
From East Aurora to York and everywhere in between, we've got you covered.
It's holiday tournament time again and DuPage County's boys basketball teams will spread across the state trying to bring home some hardware.
Here's a brief preview of what's to come in the next two weeks.
East Aurora Holiday Tournament
Dec. 23, Dec. 26-28.
Teams: Aurora Central Catholic, Downers Grove North, East Aurora, Joliet Catholic, Metea Valley, Neuqua Valley, Plainfield Central, Wheaton Academy.
Top players: Marcus Bult, Wheaton Academy; Connor Davis, Neuqua Valley; Joe Edozie, Plainfield Central; Donovan Grunloh, Aurora Central Catholic; Myles Leavy, Metea Valley; Jack Mielke, Downers Grove North; John Poulakidas, Neuqua Valley; Amarion Savage, East Aurora; Christian Young, Joliet Catholic.
Defending champion: Wheaton Academy.
Outlook: Metea Valley's arrival to the Tomcats' 54th tournament adds local interest (and Leavy's 3-point shooting); strong starts by host East Aurora and 2018 runner-up Plainfield Central add greater competition and depth. As Wheaton Academy and defending tourney MVP Bult showed last year in its opening win over Neuqua Valley -- then in its Game 3 loss to Marmion -- teams must play their A game on this classic court. Division I recruit Poulakidas, who scored 32 points Monday, has the potential to take this thing over, though playing in a team framework best serves the Wildcats. Key games include Neuqua-Downers North on Dec. 23, Wheaton Academy-Plainfield Central and East Aurora-Downers North on Dec. 26, and East Aurora-Neuqua on Dec. 27.
Glenbard West Holiday Classic
Dec. 21, Dec. 23, Dec. 26-27.
Teams: Chicago Agricultural Science, De La Salle, Glenbard North, Glenbard South, Glenbard West, Guerin, Hoffman Estates, Marmion.
Top players: Jerry Abushanab, Glenbard North; Joshua Holmes, De La Salle; Braden Huff, Glenbard West; Brandon Malone, Glenbard South; Vatsal Pandya, Hoffman Estates; Diallo Phillips, Glenbard West; Nick Plaso, Glenbard South.
Defending champion: Lake Park.
Outlook: With Lake Park and Leyden headed elsewhere this season, the chase for the title opens up quite a bit. Glenbard West, especially on its home court, is a heavy favorite to emerge at the top of its pool. The senior leadership of Phillips pairs well with the sophomore trio of 6-foot-9 Huff, Caden Pierce and Paxton Warden. Glenbard North, however, could challenge for the top spot in the pool after recovering from an 0-4 start that included a loss to Glenbard West. It might be a District 87 reunion in the title game if Glenbard South claims first place in the other pool. The Raiders will see plenty of competition from De La Salle and Hoffman Estates.
ICCP/Westmont Christmas Classic
Dec. 26-28, Dec. 30
Teams: Catalyst Maria, Christ the King, Eisenhower, Elmwood Park, Evergreen Park, Fenton, IC Catholic Prep, Latin, Legal Prep, Perspectives, Reavis, St. Edward, Sullivan, Taft, Tinley Park, Westmont.
Top players: A.J. Casey, Tinley Park; Julian Davila, Elmwood Park; Jordan Diaz, Elmwood Park; Rasheed Dyson, Evergreen Park; Armani Jones, Christ the King; Jemel Jones, Eisenhower; Zach Jordan, IC Catholic; Ben Juska, Westmont; Joe Kennedy, Latin; Diamon King, Fenton; Chauncey Lee, IC Catholic; J.P. McGuire, St. Edward; Johnathan Oden, Legal Prep; Alex Pietrzak, Westmont; Andre Reed, Fenton.
Defending champion: Westmont.
Outlook: Unfamiliar opponents? Mix of large and small schools? City and suburbs? ICCP/Westmont is your place. In the top bracket IC Catholic Prep obviously has a the home advantage, while Tinley Park plays a steady stream of larger foes and fields the 6-8 sophomore Casey, who has offers from Kansas, Illinois and DePaul, according to Rivals. Elmwood Park, also among the upper eight-team bracket, had its best start in program history at 7-1. In the lower bracket, played at Westmont -- which graduated nearly all its principles from last year's title team -- Eisenhower remains capable of the 100-point game. Fenton has a great shot at the title contest with its senior strength including rebounder King and 3-point ace Reed.
York Jack Tosh Holiday Classic
Dec. 26-28, Dec. 30-31.
Teams: Andrew, Batavia, Bolingbrook, Brother Rice, Conant, Downers Grove South, Elk Grove, Glenbard East, Highland Park, Hinsdale South, Lake Forest, Lemont, Lyons Twp., Minooka, Montini, Naperville North, Nazareth, Palatine, Providence, Riverside-Brookfield, Rolling Meadows, St. Francis, St. Ignatius, St. Laurence, St. Patrick, Sandburg, Schaumburg, Solorio, Stagg, Timothy Christian, Wheaton North, York.
Top players: Myles Barry, Naperville North; Julian Campbell, Palatine; Max Christie, Rolling Meadows; Trey Davis, St. Laurence; Jake Dimovski, Downers Grove South; Billy Durkin, Hinsdale South; Devon Ellis, Conant; Kai Evans, Bolingbrook; Daniel Florey, St. Ignatius; Dominic Galati, St. Patrick; Deandre Hagan, Brother Rice; DaRon Hall, Glenbard East; Chris Hodges, Schaumburg; Garrett Horner, Wheaton North; Grant Johnson, Naperville North; Jayden Johnson, Batavia; Grant Niego, Lyons Twp.; Tagen Pearson, Nazareth; Nate Shockey, York; Aaron Tims, Hinsdale South; Ben VanderWal, Timothy Christian; Paul Zilinskas, Riverside-Brookfield.
Defending champion: York.
Outlook: The defending champion Dukes love playing on their home court, whether it's with a balanced group like last year or a group led by an explosive player like Shockey. He'll be one of the many stars on display in Elmhurst. At the top of the list is Rolling Meadows' Christie, regarded as one of the top juniors in the nation. Also from the Mid-Suburban League you've got Schaumburg's Hodges, committed to Wisconsin. So many teams are capable of winning the Tosh this year. Unbeaten Hinsdale South is among the favorites, but the Hornets share a quarterfinal quadrant with Riverside-Brookfield and Wheaton North. York and Rolling Meadows also could meet in the quarterfinals. In a marathon like the Tosh, the question often becomes which team can survive the grind of five games in six days?
DeKalb Chuck Dayton Holiday Classic
Dec. 26-28, Dec. 30.
Teams: Belvidere North, Byron, DeKalb, Dundee-Crown, East Dubuque, Gary Comer Prep, Geneseo, Hononegah, Huntley, LaSalle-Peru, Naperville Central, Oswego, Rockford Guilford, Schurz, West Chicago, Yorkville.
Defending champion: Oswego.
Outlook: Defending champion Oswego is the top seed, but watch out for Naperville Central in the same half of the bracket. The fourth-seeded Redhawks (6-1) are off to a terrific start behind 6-foot-6 Cam Dougherty and 6-10 Oakland University-bound Chris Conway. Both are third-year starters. Should Naperville Central get past West Chicago in the opening round, a doozy of a second-rounder likely awaits against Huntley before the Redhawks would face Oswego in the semifinals.
Jacobs Hinkle Holiday Classic
Dec. 21, Dec. 23, Dec. 26-28
Teams: Barrington, Bartlett, Cary-Grove, Crystal Lake South, Grant, Grayslake Central, Jacobs, Johnsburg, Marian Central, Payton, Prairie Ridge, Prosser, Rockford Jefferson, South Elgin, Streamwood, Waubonsie Valley.
Defending champion: Cary-Grove.
Outlook: This could see a repeat of last year's title game when Cary-Grove beat Waubonsie Valley, 55-50. Waubonsie Valley coach Jason Mead likes what he's seeing on both ends of the court from the 7-0 Warriors. They've proven to be much deeper than Ben Schwieger and returning all-tourney pick Marcus Skeete. Waubonsie, Rockford Jefferson and Jacobs appear to head their respective pools. Cary-Grove, featuring returning all-tourney picks Frank Jakubicek and Beau Frericks, will get major Game 3 pushback from Barrington, 6-1 and tested by the physical Mid-Suburban grind.
Teams: Boylan, Hersey, Lake Park, Lake Zurich, Lanphier, Limestone, Morton, Mt. Carmel, Moline, Normal West, Pattonville, Mo., Pekin, Plainfield East, Richwoods, United Twp., Washington.
Defending champion: Moline.
Outlook: After shifting from the Wheeling tournament to Glenbard West, Lake Park settles in at Pekin. And the unbeaten Lancers debut with the top seed ahead of Boylan, Lanphier and Pekin, which would be Lake Park's potential semifinal opponent. The experienced Lancers are ready for this new challenge thanks to a dynamic duo of seniors Luke Sgarbossa and Trevor Montiel. Two other starters return to the backcourt in Montrell Perry and Joey Czaja. Unbeaten through eight games, Lake Park can outscore teams or apply the defensive clamps. Three times the Lancers have held teams in the 30s.
Bloomington-Normal State Farm Holiday Classic
Dec. 26-28, Dec. 30.
Teams (Large School): Calumet (Indiana) New Tech, Joliet Central, Kenwood, Machesny Park Harlem, Mahomet Seymour, Metamora, Normal, Normal University High, North Chicago, North Lawndale, Peoria, Plainfield South, Rock Island, Springfield, Thornwood, Wheaton Warrenville South.
Defending champion: Rock Island.
Hinsdale Central Holiday Classic
Dec. 23, Dec. 26-28.
Teams: DePaul Prep, Glenbrook North, Hinsdale Central, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lincoln-Way Central, Maine South, Marian Catholic, Oswego East, Richards, Rockford Auburn, St. Charles East, St. Rita, Stevenson, T.F. South, Westinghouse, Willowbrook.
Defending champion: Marian Catholic.
Dec. 26-28, Dec. 30.
Teams: Addison Trail, Argo, Bulls Prep, Crane, Holy Trinity, Jones, Kennedy, Lakes, Leyden, Lincoln-Way West, Maine East, McHenry, Niles West, Oak Forest, Vernon Hills, Von Steuben.
Defending champion: Lane Tech.
Plano Christmas Classic
Dec. 26-28, Dec. 30.
Teams: Burlington Central, Coal City, Hinckley-Big Rock, Kaneland, King, Lisle, Mendota, Morris, Newark, Northridge Prep, Ottawa, Peoria Notre Dame, Plano, Sandwich, Streator, Yorkville Christian.
Defending champion: Peoria Notre Dame.
Pontiac Holiday Tournament
Teams: Benet, Bloom, Bloomington, Curie, Danville, Joliet West, Lockport, New Trier, Oak Park, Peoria Manual, Plainfield North, Pontiac, St. Charles North, Simeon, Warren, West Aurora.
Defending champion: Curie.