High school basketball draws great crowds and a lot of local attention during the season, but it often takes holiday tournaments and showcase events -- during the regular season -- to bring out some big crowds to see premier matchups. Here are 10 events that fans should check out this season.
Team Rose Basketball Classic:
Sunday, Dec. 1 gets a great event at Curie as the Condors face St. Rita in the headlining game of the Team Rose Basketball Classic. Von Steuben opens with Gordon Tech at 11 a.m., Farragut faces Providence-St. Mel at 12:30 p.m., East St. Louis faces North Lawndale at 2 p.m. and the big matchup of top-ten teams is at 3:30. Morton closes with a game against Homewood-Flossmoor.
Chicago Elite Classic:
The Dec. 7 event at UIC doesn't have the enticing local matchups that fans often seek out, but instead, the event showcases the elite talent of the Chicagoland area squaring off against some of the best high school basketball teams from across the country. Whitney Young, Simeon, St. Rita, Curie, Benet, Fenwick and Marian Catholic will face teams from coast-to-coast and includes some of the top nationally ranked players in the country including 2015 center Stephen Zimmerman from Bishop Gorman (NV.) and elite 2015 guard Tyler Dorsey and his teammate, UConn commit Daniel Hamilton of St. John Bosco (CA.).
Mac Irvin Diabetes Classic:
If you can't make it to the city on Dec. 7 then the solid consolation prize is this shootout at Larkin High School. Bogan opens against Huntley at 1:30, and following the loaded girls matchup between Whitney Young and Rolling Meadows, Orr takes on Providence St. Mel before Proviso East faces Saint Viator. For the final game, Larkin takes on Morgan Park in a game that should feature some great guard play.
Proviso West Holiday Tournament:
The (co) biggest and longest holiday tournament in Chicagoland returns as 32 teams on two courts return from Dec. 21 through Dec. 31 (with breaks on Dec. 24 and 25). The field is once again loaded as early favorites include Benet, Bogan, Fenwick, Hillcrest, Morgan Park, Proviso East, St. Joseph and Stevenson. There are sure to be other contenders that step up and with a 32-team bracket, it has a mini March Madness feel to it.
Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament:
By expanding to 32 teams itself, the Jack Tosh Holiday Tournament at York will be five miles away from Proviso West's deep field, meaning 64 teams playing tournament basketball within a short drive away from each other. Running Dec. 26 through Dec. 31, favorites include the host, York, as well as Gordon Tech, Kenwood, Lake Forest, Riverside-Brookfield and St. Ignatius.
McDipper Holiday Tournament:
The premier tournament in the south suburbs, McDipper has a really good field of teams at Rich South from Dec. 26 through Dec. 30. Bloom, Bolingbrook, Crete-Monee, Hales, Leo, Marian Catholic, Seton, and Thornton headline the field as Tyler Ulis and the Spartans will be the favorite.
Pontiac Holiday Tournament:
The 83rd Pontiac Holiday Tournament continues on Dec. 26 through Dec. 28 this season with its unmatched atmosphere and a bevy of great teams. Simeon and Curie headline the oldest and original holiday tournament in the country and the hometown crowd in Pontiac always comes out in full force to see the field of teams from around Illinois. Joliet West, Lockport, Niles West, Oak Park-River Forest, St. Charles North and Warren are also some teams to compete from the Chicagoland area.
Pekin Holiday Tournament:
Another great tournament downstate is the three-day Pekin Holiday Tournament at Pekin High School from Dec. 26 through Dec. 28. Evanston, Hersey, Lake Zurich, Mount Carmel and Plainfield East represent the area and much like Pontiac, Pekin draws a lot of great competition from all over the state.
State Farm Holiday Classic:
With a field featuring large and small school brackets for both boys and girls basketball, the State Farm Holiday Classic in downstate Bloomington has something for everyone. The Chicagoland area will have some teams in the event that runs Dec. 26 through Dec. 29. North Chicago is a favorite and Grayslake Central, North Lawndale, Plainfield South, T.F. North and Thornwood also represent Chicagoland. They'll face a deep field of Central Illinois teams including Normal Community, Normal U-High and Champaign Centennial.
The Feb. 22 Showdown at Niles West High School is always one of the premier events in the state and this year's matchups are fantastic. Lake Forest and junior forward Evan Boudreaux facing Marian Catholic and Ulis is a great undercard, but the Class 4A state championship rematch between Simeon and Stevenson as the headlining game will be tremendous.