If you thought Montini's Christmas Tournament was good last month, wait until next year.
Montini coach Jason Nichols reported that he has added Trinity, Geneva and DeKalb and is close to adding Neuqua Valley to the 16-team field.
Add those four to an already stacked field that includes Montini, Marian Catholic, Rolling Meadows, Plainfield East and Fremd, and it's easy to see why Nichols is like a kid itching for Christmas to come.
"You add four good programs to what was already a dynamite tournament, I'm excited," Nichols said. "I wish we could start it tomorrow."
Neuqua Valley coach Mike Williams confirmed that, provided that there are no schedule conflicts, his team would be going to Montini next Christmas. Neuqua plays in the Oswego Holiday Tournament as well, but that is a pre-Christmas event.
Neuqua Valley, which will graduate just one starter off this year's team, senior Allison Hedrick, is 21-1 after an impressive 54-37 win over Fremd on Saturday at the McDonald's Shootout.
"I think this group of girls is made for the moment," Williams said. "If we take a walk down that road, I think we'll be OK. We have some young kids who are made for it."
This year's Montini tournament had four teams -- Marian Catholic, Rolling Meadows and Plainfield East -- unbeaten going in. Once-beaten Montini ended up beating Rolling Meadows in the championship game.
Trinity, DeKalb and Neuqua all received votes in the Associated Press' latest Class 4A rankings, and traditional power Geneva returns most of its players.
"You get that kind of competition, you get not one or two but maybe three or four first-round games that are just going to be very tough," Nichols said. "It will be a gauntlet. Somebody's going to go 1-3 and are going to be very good. Winning this tournament might be tougher than winning a sectional."
Another benefit of adding local teams like Geneva and Neuqua Valley is that they will surely bring fans. The crowds the last few nights at Montini this year were as good as you'll get at a girls game, with up to 30 college coaches.
"That's the goal, is to create an atmosphere where people will come out and watch good teams in a tournament setting," Nichols said.
Glenbard South, Metea Valley might catch a break:
Lady Luck appears to have smiled on Glenbard South and Metea Valley.
Both had key starters suffer what looked like serious injuries over the weekend. Both could be OK.
On Friday night Glenbard South junior guard and leading scorer Stefi Bazigos took a hard fall and left the game with what looked like a possible broken arm. Bazigos had an MRI done, with two radiologists reading it, a specialist confirming Monday morning that there was no fracture and no ligament damage. Bazigos does have a bad bone bruise around the elbow and a muscle strain. She won't play Tuesday against St. Charles North and will be re-evaluated before Thursday's game against Ridgewood.
Needless to say, it could be worse.
"I'm counting my lucky stars," Raiders coach Julie Fonda said.
Fonda could be without both of her point guards, Bazigos and Jenna Brambora (knee sprain) against St. Charles North.
"We're down to seven guards, and we'll go to war with seven kids," Fonda said. "If I could get in there myself, I would."
On Saturday afternoon Metea Valley senior guard Bria Walker went down on a jump-stop and had to be carried off the court, her right knee iced on the bench.
Mustangs coach Kris Kalivas reported that Walker saw an emergency room doctor Saturday who diagnosed a hamstring sprain and said her knee was "loose" -- but thought that the ACL was intact at least partially. Walker did not have much swelling on Sunday and was to have an MRI Monday afternoon with a doctor's appointment Tuesday morning.
Movin' on up the record book:
Wheaton Warrenville South has as good a girls basketball record book as you'll find, but it may soon need some editing.
Last Thursday Tigers junior Meghan Waldron became the sixth player in program history to score 1,000 points. If she keeps up this pace, Waldron could challenge some big-time names on the WW South all-time scoring list. Katie Meier, who led Wheaton Central to the Class AA championship game in 1985, is at 1,539 and 2000 Daily Herald All-Area Captain Charliss Ridley is No. 1 in the books, at 1,892. Keilani Moeaki, the 2007 Captain, is at 1,538.
On Saturday WW South senior Sierra Bisso broke the school record for 3-pointers in a game with 8 in a win over Hillcrest, breaking Grace Delaney's previous record of 7.
Shoot for a Cure at Downers Grove South:
On Jan. 26, as part of Downers Grove South's 7:30 p.m. home game with Hinsdale South, the Mustangs will host their 5th annual "Shoot for a Cure" breast cancer event. Raffles will be held for prizes including gift cards to local restaurants, designer products, spa treatment days and sports memorabilia. All funds will be donated to the Kay Yow Breast Cancer Research Fund in the name of the former North Carolina State coach who battled breast cancer three times before passing away in 2009.
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