Prep Sports Notebook | Exciting moments from holiday tournament basketball


Have you had enough basketball? A lot of games were played last week and there is still a lot more to do as the season nears halftime.

Congratulations to the winners of five basketball tournaments in our immediate area this past week. We’ve done our best to bring you detailed coverage of each venue.

Marion, Arkansas took first place in the Route 13 Christmas Tournament co-hosted by Carbondale and Marion. Kudos to the other – Marion – our Wildcats who finished third overall and won three out of four games.

Herrin won the Eldorado Holiday Tournament in impressive fashion and had a very good Massac County Ballclub, 67-49, for the second year in a row. The Tigers defended well and hit enough shots early in the second half to establish a comfortable lead. Many coaches and media at the tournament believed that Massac County would win the duel as the Patriots mishandled Vienna earlier in the season while the Tigers struggled to get past them in the semifinals.

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As it turned out, the so-called experts were wrong.

Olney won the Duster Thomas Christmas Tournament in Pinckneyville for the second straight year. Last year, Olney went undefeated before losing to Marion in the regional tournament’s league game.

Altamont won the Sesser-Valier Holiday Tournament after finishing third and second in the previous two years. The Indians will have a tough time when the Regional Class 1A tournaments begin.

Mount Vernon won the Benton Girls Holiday Tournament.

The Lady Rams, who are 12-4 overall, won all four games at the Benton invitation with an aggregate score of 295 to 133. The Rams’ closest game was the title match against Benton, which won 67-41. That’s called dominance.


Herrin’s senior forward Haydon Mayer won the Most Valuable Player award at the Eldorado for the second straight year – no small feat as only four players had previously turned the trick in the tournament’s 58-year history.

Bahari Amaya of Harrisburg (2013-14) was the last repeat winner. Tyler Smithpeters from Harrisburg is also a two-time winner (2010 and 2012), as is Anthony Webster from Cairo (1979-80). Norris City’s Reed Jackson is the only three-time winner (1988-90).

Owen Treat, a junior sniper guard from Vienna, and senior striker Parker Price from Eldorado recently jumped into the 1,000 point club. Jerzy Bittle of the Marion Lady Wildcats moved up to fourth overall on Marion’s all-time scorer list with 1,474 points. She is just 16 points behind third-place finisher Amy Fletcher (1987 graduate with 1,490 points). Second place currently belongs to Lindsay Lenon (Class of 2011 with 1,596 points).

The leader for Marion is Clarissa Gross (2002 graduate with 1,701 points). An interesting note is that both Gross and all-time all-time boys scorer Jackson Connor started their playing careers at Herrin before joining Marion.

Christopher’s junior Amiah Hargrove led the Bearcats to third place at the Benton Holiday Tournament and scored a career-best 51 points in a tournament-record win over Salem in third place. For the four games, she scored 121 points, or 30.25 points per game.

There are only two undefeated boys basketball teams in southern Illinois. Herrin is 13-0 after a 4-0 win at the Eldorado Holiday Tournament. Herrin is attending a Class 2A – River-to-River conference, but will face off against Class 3A schools in the postseason.

The other undefeated team is Christ Our Rock Lutheran, a Class 1A school. The Stallions are 12-0 so far after losing 5-0 in last week’s Vandalia Holiday Tournament. And their closest game was a 48-38 win over the Flora Wolves in the semifinals. In fact, this game with Flora is the closest game the team has been involved in all season. CORL resumes Wednesday’s regular season game against Webber Township.

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