Girls Basketball: Hillcrest Holiday Classic loaded with familiar foes
By Tony Baranek firstname.lastname@example.org December 25, 2012 5:24PM
Tierra Webb (3), of Rich South. | File photo
HILLCREST HOLIDAY CLASSIC
Local Teams: Bloom, Hillcrest, Homewood-Flossmoor, Lockport, Oak Forest, Queen of Peace, Rich Central, Rich South, Sandburg, Seton, Stagg, T.F. North, Thornton, Tinley Park.
Local Teams: Ag. Science, Bremen, Evergreen Park.
Local Team: Mother McAuley
Local Teams: Chicago Christian, Illiana Christian, Mount Assisi.
LINCOLN-WAY MEDIEVAL CLASSIC
Local Teams: Andrew, Lincoln-Way Central, Lincoln-Way East, Lincoln-Way North.
Local Team Marian Catholic
NAPLES (FLA.) SHOOTOUT
Local Team: Marist
Local Teams: Argo, Reavis.
STATE FARM CLASSIC
Local Team: Morgan Park
Local Teams: Crete-Monee, Eisenhower, Thornridge, T.F. South, Thornwood.
Local Team: Lemont
Updated: January 27, 2013 6:14AM
The 2012 version of the Hillcrest Holiday Classic has the potential for few big ones, including a possible third meeting of the season between No. 9 Rich South and No. 8 Bloom.
The Holiday Classic is one of 10 tournaments tipping off Wednesday that involve area teams. The two Southland-heaviest tourneys are at Hillcrest and the Lincoln-Way Medieval Classic, while Marist will be the longest-distance traveler, competing at the Naples (Fla.) Shootout.
Rich South pulled off a shocker earlier this season at its own Galaxy Tournament, beating Bloom 53-51 in the semifinal and using some late three-point shooting by Tierra Webb and Tierney Lockett to end Hillcrest’s seven-year reign as the Galaxy champion via a come-from-behind 58-55 victory. The Stars also feature the Garrett twins, CiErra and DeAsia Garrett.
Bloom enacted revenge Dec. 11 against Rich South by beating the Stars 54-48 in a Southland Athletic Conference game. The third meeting wouldn’t occur before the Holiday Classic final. Before then, Rich South has a possible semifinal collision looming against Hillcrest.
“I told my kids, ‘Ladies, we’re in a great position,’ ” Rich South coach Brian Mays said. “This is a good opportunity. By beating Hillcrest, that set a tone. So we can definitely be there. If we get to the semis, which will probably be Hillcrest again, at that point it doesn’t matter who is in the championship game, as far as I’m concerned.”
Hillcrest, led by Dana Gettis and Mariam Awoniyi, won the Holiday Classic title in 2009 and ’10.
“If things hold the course, obviously it will be a game of redemption for us,” Hawks coach John Maniatis said of a possible rematch with Rich South. “I believe that we are gaining experience minute by minute. This was a huge growing period, this first segment of the season.”
Another intriguing possible semifinal rematch is Bloom and Homewood-Flossmoor. When the two met Nov. 27, Sydni Johnson had 18 points, eight rebounds and five steals to pace H-F to a 38-37 victory over the Bria Gaines-led Blazing Trojans.
The field also includes rebuilding Oak Forest, which is playing well of late behind Nour Salah and Kelly McEathron. So is Stagg, which features the sharp-shooting of Casey McMahon, the speed of Revi McMahon and the presence under the basket of Ali Conrad. Another sleeper could be Tinley Park. The Titans are led by Diamond Beatty, who exploded for a school-record 40 points against Lincoln-Way West. Sandburg, with Carly Katalinic, went 3-1 at the Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament.
At the Lincoln-Way Medieval, No. 7 Lincoln-Way North will be aiming for its second tournament title in as many weeks. The Phoenix, led by MVP Ashley Weringa, beat Sandburg 44-31 in the championship game at the Oak Lawn Holiday Tournament. North’s main nemesis in the Medieval Classic has been No. 4 Lincoln-Way East.
“Usually our team starting clicking, coming together at Oak Lawn and it carries over into the Medieval,” North coach Jim Nair said. “East has beaten us pretty bad the last two years. We’re not looking toward (revenge) yet. Lincoln-Way Central has been playing better, so we’ve got to take care of that one first.”
Andrew, with Tiana Karopulos and Molly Franson, should also be a contender at the Medieval.
No. 1 Marian Catholic will be competing in the Montini tournament, while No. 2 Marist is taking a one-year hiatus from the Hillcrest Holiday Classic to travel to Naples (Fla.) for a special invite. No. 3 Morgan Park, which behind Kierra Graves shocked Bolingbrook on Dec. 15, is to play at the State Farm Classic in Bloomington.
No. 5 Mother McAuley opens play at the Dundee-Crown Tournament against Bartlett. No. 10 Crete-Monee is the favorite at the T.F. South Tournament.