Holiday tournament thoughts from McDipper and more

Holiday tournament thoughts from McDipper and more
December 31, 2013, 2:45 pm
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Scott Phillips

Holiday tournament season chugs along this week and Monday night saw the finale of a few big tournaments, including the McDipper and State Farm Holiday Classic.

We'll have more updates from Proviso West and York as those tournaments end and we'll unveil the new edition of the CSN Chicago Prep Basketball Power Rankings later in the week after tournament action dies down.

Marian Catholic makes it back-to-back at McDipper

Marian Catholic came into the McDipper as the heavy favorite over challengers Bolingbrook, Joliet Central and Thornton, but it's still impressive that the No. 8 Spartans were able repeat in the event.

[RELATED: Early observations from the holiday tournament season

The Spartans were the hunted this season and since they feature a Player of the Year candidate in senior point guard Tyler Ulis, every team that plays them this season is going to give their best shot at Marian Catholic. So far, the Spartans have passed with flying colors, with their only loss on the season coming in the Chicago Elite Classic to a talented Etiwanda bunch from California.

Ulis and company have defeated teams like Bloom to win their Thanksgiving tournament, survived an overtime thriller against Benet and now won the McDipper for the second year in a row.

Marian Catholic is a no-brainer Top-10 (probably Top-5) team that will be a serious threat in Class 4A. This team really plays well together and Ulis can carry them for long periods of time.

North Chicago makes a statement downstate 

Since the State Farm Holiday Classic doesn't feature the starpower of a ton of Chicagoland teams, sometimes it can get overlooked in the area.

[MORE: Okafor focused on winning state championship]

That shouldn't be the case.

North Chicago took home the State Farm Holiday Classic's Large School division on Monday night, defeating a very good Chatham Glenwood team led by one of the state's best unsigned seniors, Peyton Allen.

The No. 11 Warhawks are led by a tremendous trio in seniors Kurt Hall, JaVairius Amos-Mays and darkhorse Player of the Year candidate JayQuan McCloud. McCloud, an absolute steal for Murray State, averaged 22 points a game during the State Farm Holiday Classic and because the Warhawks have a potent, high-scoring offense that can hang 90 on you with ease, they can be tough to stop.

Geneva off to a solid start 

You don't usually think of Geneva as a hoops hotbed, but after an impressive win over Neuqua Valley in the semifinals on Saturday and host East Aurora on Monday night, it might be time to start paying attention to Phil Ralston's bunch.

[WATCH: High School Lites Hoops Week 4]

College coaches called all fall trying to track down information on Ralston's best player, 6-foot-7 junior Nate Navigato -- who was MVP of the East Aurora Tournament -- and Navigato has helped lead Geneva to a 12-3 start to the year.

Navigato is a versatile inside-outside threat at the forward, but he's also playing with another 6-foot-7 forward in Mike Landi and guard Chris Parrilli is a talented senior guard.

Geneva will have their work cut out for them in the Upstate Eight River with teams like Larkin and St. Charles North, but they have to be feeling good after winning at East Aurora.