Boys Basketball: As usual, it’s a big McDipper
By Tina Akouris email@example.com December 25, 2012 5:24PM
Bloom coach Jasper Williams. | File photo
BEACH BALL CLASSIC, MYRTLE BEACH, S.C.
Local Team: St. Rita
Local Teams: Eisenhower, Marist, Richards, St. Laurence.
Local Teams: Brother Rice, Providence, Sandburg, Stagg.
Local Teams: Evergreen Park, Morgan Park Academy.
Local Team: Andrew
RICH SOUTH MCDIPPER
Local Teams: Bloom, Crete-Monee, Marian Catholic, Rich Central, Rich East, Rich South, Seton, Thornton, Tinley Park.
LINCOLN-WAY MEDIEVAL CLASSIC
Local Teams: Lincoln-Way Central, East, North and West; Oak Forest, Oak Lawn.
Local Team: Lockport
Days: Dec. 22-Monday
Local Teams: Hillcrest, Homewood-Flossmoor, Morgan Park, T.F. South.
Local Teams: Chicago Christian, Lemont, Reavis, Romeoville.
STATE FARM CLASSIC (BLOOMINGTON)
Local Teams: T.F. North, Thornwood.
Updated: January 27, 2013 6:10AM
It’s Christmas tournament time, and though area teams will be cast far and wide — one in Myrtle Beach, S.C. — one of the state’s best stops for holiday hoops remains Rich South’s McDipper, celebrating its 40th year at the Richton Park school.
A pair of Chicago Heights schools are among the most-mentioned squads in the Dipper field, one of the many tourneys beginning play Wednesday. Defending champ Bloom wouldn’t mind tacking another title on Jasper Williams’ resume before the coach retires after this season, and Marian Catholic is steamrolling in after blowing out previously unbeaten Lemont in Saturday’s Crete-Monee Shootout.
“The quality of this tournament has been so good and we look forward to it every year,” Spartans coach Mike Taylor said. “I think we are among a group of favorites when you throw in teams like Thornton, Bloom and Crete-Monee. There are a lot of teams who could win it.”
Marian’s Tyler Ulis, he of the whopping 25.9 points per game average, will be among the most-watched players in the Rich South gym. He should be the catalyst as the Spartans will try to advance to the McDipper’s final four for the first time since 1978.
Too, a lot of eyes will be on Crete-Monee forward Laquon Treadwell, the nation’s top-rated unsigned wide receiver in football. Treadwell led the Warriors football team to the school’s first state football title before rejoining the basketball team, and had 19 points Saturday in just his third game back.
A new format
Homewood-Flossmoor has been competing in the Proviso West Tournament for the past 14 years. But when tournament director Joe Spagnolo announced the tournament was moving to a 32-team tournament over six days on two courts and a title game set for New Year’s Eve afternoon, Vikings coach Jim McLaughlin was skeptical.
With the Vikings’ history at Proviso West — a 34-18 record, 10 tournament trophies and the 2003 title — McLaughlin had every reason to feel iffy on the new format.
“We had been going there for a long time and we scratched our heads a bit at what they were doing,” McLaughlin said. “But everyone agreed they handled (the changes) the right way. We had a meeting Dec. 3 and were assured that the field wouldn’t be watered down.”
And it isn’t. Not when H-F could face the likes of Oswego, Benet, Hillcrest and Morgan Park if the Vikings get deep into the tournament.
One thing McLaughlin doesn’t want to do is play in the Proviso West fieldhouse. That’s where another court will be set up for consolation games.
“Any time you go to Proviso West, you want to play on the last day and play your five games,” McLaughlin said. “The biggest thing is you have to have your game ready and your systems set.”
Hoping for a rebound
Lockport was able to pull out at least one victory in the Plainfield North Tournament and finished 1-3 there. Now the Porters have to travel down to Pontiac and play in a tournament that features some of the best teams in the state.
The Porters open against West Aurora, Pontiac’s No. 3 seed. If it can get past West Aurora, Lockport would advance to play either St. Charles North or Waukegan.
Having played in an earlier tournament should benefit the Porters, not just for the experience but because they have had a full week of practice leading up to Pontiac.
“I love the chance that we can get some practices in now before we play at Pontiac,” Lockport coach Lawrence Thompson said. “To not be eliminated in two games will be a challenge. We still need to do a better job of knowing the game situations on the offensive end. On the defensive end, we’ve been playing OK, but we have to learn to talk more to each other.”
Junior guard Mantas Tamasauskis missed the Plainfield North Tournament because of an illness, but he should be back in time for Pontiac. In Tamasauskis’s absence, Thompson used sophomore guard Jake Pierson, who pleased Thompson with his performance.
Thompson is also hoping to get more out of 6-foot-6 forward David Robinson, so the Porters can have a deeper run at Pontiac.