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Prep Boys Basketball | Bates Holiday Tournament to provide variety
PREP BOYS BASKETBALL | PAUL BATES MEMORIAL HOLIDAY TOURNAMENT

Prep Boys Basketball | Bates Holiday Tournament to provide variety

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If you like variety, the 56th Paul Bates Memorial Holiday Tournament might be for you.

Whether it’s up-tempo basketball, star players or good defensive teams, you should be able to find it from Friday to Sunday in Carbondale.

“We’ve got a tremendous lineup,” Carbondale coach Jim Miller said. “I don’t know that I’ve seen a more balanced lineup in years. Marion is awfully good and Murphysboro’s had a lot of success early without having a lot of practice time after their football players came in late.

“You have Du Quoin coming in to give us some more local flavor, and you have some good teams coming down from Chicago. It’s all about having a chance to play teams you don’t see that often. That’s what we look for — the opportunity to see different styles.”

Carbondale athletic director Mark Albertini had to cast around at the last minute for a 16th team to fill the field. Marion, Arkansas, which won that state’s Class 5A title last year, pulled out of the event late last month when it learned it wouldn’t be allowed to play on Sunday, per Arkansas by-laws.

“Seems like that has happened to us the last few years,” Albertini said. “They can break the contract and there are no penalties attached because they’re not an IHSA school. That’s the problem you run into sometimes.”

Albertini’s search landed Horizon Academy of Chicago, which jumped out to a 6-0 start and was ranked as the No. 6 Class 1A team in the state by an online poll before dropping three straight. It will open at 4:30 p.m. Friday against St. Mary, Mo.

Minus Marion, Arkansas, the top team from out of town might be Lutheran North of St. Louis, which is off to a 6-1 start with its only loss occurring in the season opener against Quincy. Memphis Overton is 8-5 but plays in one of the nation’s best basketball cities, and Covington, Tenn. is 5-2 and averaging 77 points per game.

Covington and Lutheran North hook up in the first of four games Friday at 3 p.m. in Banterra Center, followed by Overton’s matchup with Jacksonville (Ill.). That Jacksonville is here represents a bit of sentiment, as it won the first edition of this tourney in 1964, placed third in 1965 and hasn’t been back since.

Three local teams seem poised to make a splash as well. Marion, which finished third last year, opens with an 8 p.m. game Friday against St. Louis Carnahan. The Wildcats’ Jackson Connor lit up Union City (Tenn.) for 37 points last year on his way to all-tourney team status.

Carbondale is the top seed in the large school pool, drawing Southland Prep in its opener Friday night at 6:30. And Murphysboro drew the No. 1 seed in the small school bracket, getting an opening round game with Saxony Lutheran (Mo.) at 6:30 Friday night at Carbondale High School.

Quarterfinal games are Saturday night at 6:30 and 8 at Carbondale and Banterra Center. Carbondale will host the semifinals on Sunday at noon and 1:30, with the championship game slated for Banterra Center at 8 p.m. Sunday.

The tourney was renamed in honor of Carbondale’s long-time scorekeeper, who passed last December.

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