It's the Holiday season once again and for high school basketball supporters, it's also Holiday tournament time, one of the great traditions of the season where teams from all over gather to compete for honors and to see how far they've progressed going into the bulk of their conference seasons in January and February.
Here's where the Riverbender.com schools will be playing during this coming week:
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At the 38th Collinsville Prairie Farms Holiday Classic, the host Kahoks will have Alton, Granite City and Triad playing from Dec. 28-30, and it starts on Wednesday with the Warriors playing Lincoln at 2:30 p.m., followed by Collinsville meeting Oakville, from south St. Louis County, at 6 p.m., Triad facing Collierville, Tenn., at 7:30 p.m. and Alton concluding the first night with a game against Quincy at 9 p.m. The quarterfinals and semifinals are set for the next day, Dec. 29, with the final tipping off at 7:30 p.m Dec. 30. Also competing will be O'Fallon, Madison, Belleville East and Belleville Althoff Catholic.
Edwardsville moves from the Collinsville Classic to play in the Don Mauer Invitational this week at Mary Institute-Country Day School in Ladue, Mo., which was originally slated to start Friday, but postponed until Monday, due to the arrival of sub-zero weather and wind chills in the aftermath of Winter Storm Elliott. The Tigers are set to meet Parkway South in the opening round Monday at 1:30 p.m., with the quarterfinals set for Tuesday, Dec. 27, the semifinals on Dec. 29 and the final on Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Also slated to compete in the tournament are the host Rams, St. Louis St. Mary's Catholic, Kirkwood and Whitfield of west St. Louis County.
Jersey and Roxana will be playing in the 16th Duster Thomas Hoops Classic in Pinckneyville, named for one of the most famous players and coaches in Illinois high school basketball history, and the Panthers will open up on Dec. 27 against Chester at 4 p.m., while the Shells meet Murphysboro at 1:30 p.m. The quarterfinals and semifinals will be played on Dec. 28, with the final on Dec. 29 at 8:30 p.m. Other teams set to compete at Pinckneyville are the host Panthers, Okawville, Carlyle, Benton and Campbell Hill Trico.
Staunton, Bunker Hill and East Alton-Wood River will be playing in the Carlinville Holiday Tournament at the Carlinville Big House, starting with the group stage Dec. 26-28. In the Maroon group, the Bulldogs and Warriors will square off Monday at 1:30 p.m., while the host Cavaliers meet Litchfield at 4:30 p.m. On Dec. 27, Calhoun meets Litchfield at 3 p.m., while Carlinville plays against Staunton at 7:30 p.m. In the final games of the group on Dec. 28, the Warriors play the Cavies at 4:30 p.m and the Purple Panthers meet the Bulldogs at 7:30 p.m.
In the White group, the Oilers play against Gillespie at 3 p.m., while Hillsboro meets the Minutemen at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, then on Dec. 27, the Minutemen go up against EAWR at 1:30 p.m, while the Miners meet the Hilltoppers at 8 p.m. in the final group games on Dec. 28, Gillespie plays Bunker Hill at 12 noon and the Oilers meet Hillsboro at 7:30 p.m.
The finals are set for Dec. 29 at 7:30 p.m.
Marquette Catholic, Civic Memorial and Piasa Southwestern will be playing in the Columbia-Freeburg Holiday Tournament, this year at Freeburg High, and it starts with the group stage on Dec. 27. In Group A, the Explorers play the host Midgets at 11 a.m., then the Piasa Birds take on the hosts at 3:30 p.m, followed by Marquette meeting Waterloo Gibault Catholic at 5 p.m. On Dec. 28, Southwestern plays the Hawks at 11 a.m., Marquette plays against the Birds at 3:30 p.m. and Gibault goes up against Freeburg at 5 p.m.
In Group B, play starts Dec. 27 with CM meeting Waterloo at 12:30 p.m., and Nelson County, Ky. going against Columbia at 2 p.m., with Columbia going against Waterloo at 8:30 p.m. On Dec. 28, Nelson County meets Waterloo at 12:30 p.m., Columbia takes on CM at 2 p.m. and CM plays Nelson County at 8:30 p.m. The final is set for Dec. 29 at 6:30 p.m.
Metro-East Lutheran will be playing in the Breese Mater Dei Christmas Tournament, starting off on Dec. 27 against CBC at 9 a.m in Group A, then play again at 9:30 p.m. that night against Trenton Wesclin. The Knights then play on Dec. 28 against Mascoutah at 12 noon and conclude group play Dec. 29 against the host Knights, again at 12 noon. The final is set for Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Also set to compete at Mater Dei will be Briarcrest Christian of Levee Eads, Tenn., Breese Central, McCluer of Ferguson, Mo., Orchard Farm, Mo. and Nashville.
Highland is the area's only team competing in the ninth Effingham/Teutopolis Holiday Classic and plays the co-host Flaming Hearts Dec. 28 at 7:30 p.m. The quarterfinals and semifinals are set for Dec. 29, with the final being played Dec. 30 at 7:30 p.m. Also playing in the tournament will be St. Louis Lutheran North, Effingham St. Anthony Catholic, the other co-host Wooden Shoes, Oak Lawn, Belvidere, Chicago Brooks, Dixon, Charleston, Mattoon, New Lenox Lincoln-Way West, Newton, Pleasant Plains, Knoxville and Champaign Centennial.