No rest for the weary: More basketball tournaments, showcases coming our way

They’re high school students.

They’re in top physical condition. They have got all sorts of energy.

They’ll need it.

After a slew of holiday basketball tournaments offering games that began in mid-December and concluded Wednesday with the girls of Willows Academy successfully defending their tournament title, a further round of exhibitions comes our way.

The Grow the Game Showcase is a three-day girls basketball extravaganza played at five high schools. More than 40 teams will play at least one game.

Stevenson hosts six games on Jan. 4, starting at 11 a.m.

The action moves Jan. 5 to Glenbard East and Glenbard West.

On Jan. 6 Downers Grove South and Hinsdale Central each will host seven games.

Those first four games at Hinsdale Central on Jan. 6, starting at 10 a.m. in two gyms, are prime action — Montini vs. Evanston, Mother McAuley vs. Hersey, New Trier vs. Hinsdale Central, and a rematch of Stevenson vs. Maine South.

Stevenson and Maine South just met Dec. 29 in the title game at the Charger-Komaromy Classic at Dundee-Crown. A battle between the two most recent tourney winners, Maine South won 49-46 to repeat as champions at the 40-year-old tournament.

We also recently received the schedule for Wheaton Warrenville South’s Martin Luther King boys basketball shootout on Jan. 13 and Jan. 15.

Aside from Carmel and several programs outside the Daily Herald coverage area, the WW South MLK invites a wealth of DuPage County teams to one of the go-to events of the season, starting at 10 a.m. both days over two courts.

Tigers coach and athletic director Mike Healy lined up a couple marquee games with Normal traveling north to play 13-0 Waubonsie Valley at 5:45 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 13; and Normal against Downers Grove North at 5:45 p.m. Monday, Jan. 15.

Normal comes off a 72-58 title-game win over Metea Valley, featuring all-tournament pick Will Ashford, in the large-school bracket of the Bloomington State Farm holiday tournament.

Also on Jan. 13 and 15 is one of the premier events of the girls basketball season, the Coach Kipp Hoopsfest, named for the late Maine West coach, Derril Kipp.

This whopper, the 34th annual, has a first round of games running nonstop with tipoffs from 9:30 a.m.-8 p.m. Jan. 13 at Montini Catholic in Lombard.

Fun matchups include Batavia vs. York (12:30 p.m.), Lake Zurich vs. Montini (2 p.m.), Glenbrook South vs. Fremd (3:30 p.m.) and Geneva vs. Prospect (5 p.m.).

On Martin Luther King Day, Monday, Jan. 15, Benet Academy hosts 11 games spanning two gyms — one of them its classic Alumni Gym — with tipoffs from 10:30 a.m.-7 p.m.

The game roster has three out-of-state teams plus Lincoln, Ill. The final three games are Montini vs. Whitney Young (5:30 p.m.), Hersey vs. Willowbrook (6 p.m.) and Bolingbrook vs. Maine South (7 p.m.).

Like Maine South, Montini just won a holiday tournament, its own, as MVP Nikki Kerstein and the Broncos beat St. Charles East 54-46 to win the 12-team tournament.

Fans can check the action and get more information on X (formerly Twitter) @CoachKippHoops.

Another perfect game

As long as Vernon Hills bowlers score 300 games we’ll note it here.

In a Cougars victory Dec. 14 over Niles North at the junior varsity level, Grant Osharow bowled his first 300 game, and a 794 series.

It’s Vernon Hills’ fifth 300 game ever; Osharow’s series score is the program’s third-highest.

His 300 game is the Cougars’ second of the season, following C.J. Mendoza’s perfect game Nov. 16 against Evanston in a varsity dual.

When a junior varsity bowler rolls one, that’s a deep squad. As of Dec. 26 the JV Cougars were 13-0. The varsity team was 11-2 and 10-2 in the Central Suburban League.

A great cause

In mid-December, the Glenview-based Western Golf Association announced that the 2023 BMW Championship in Olympia Fields raised $5.5 million for the Evans Scholars Foundation, run by the WGA.

We care about this because the Evans Scholars program provides housing and tuition college grants worth about $125,000 to golf caddies. It’s increasingly reached girls and applicants of need; some recipients are the first in their family to attend college.

In 2023 the scholarship was extended to 131 Illinois seniors among a record 325 students nationwide.

Since 2007 the BMW Championship has contributed $50 million to the Evans Scholars Foundation. In December the PGA Tour named the 2023 BMW at Olympia Fields its “tournament of the year,” along with the 2023 Phoenix Open.

Welcome to the club

The West Aurora High School Athletic Hall of Fame will induct four new members on Jan. 19.

Cory Anderson, Class of 1989, played football for the Blackhawks but excelled in wrestling. In his senior year he finished fifth in Class AA at 160 pounds, among several state finals qualifications. Anderson was an All-American in freestyle and Greco-Roman styles and represented Illinois at the Asics Junior Nationals. He was a four-year starter at Bloomsburg University.

Colin Kirk (2003) led the Blackhawks boys soccer team’s first Sweet 16 season as a junior in 2002. A second-team all-state selection, Kirk was part of USA Soccer’s National Pool Player selection. He played soccer at Western Kentucky University and later coached a United FC soccer team to a national title.

Gary Krattenmaker (1973) as a senior helped kick off West Aurora baseball’s four consecutive state finals appearances from 1973-76 including third place in Class AA in 1973. The all-conference pitcher went 9-1 that season with 5 playoff victories. Krattenmaker was a four-year letterman at Northern Illinois, where he remains among program leaders for victories and complete games in a season and overall. He’s also a member of the Aurora Boys Baseball Hall of Fame.

Nicki Pieart (2000), Lake Forest College athletic director and a former athletic trainer for the Chicago Bandits and Benedictine University, was a West Aurora soccer and basketball star. A four-year varsity soccer player and two-year varsity basketball player in high school, Pieart was a three-year soccer captain and four-year starter at Aurora University, and played for NCAA Tournament basketball teams in 2002 and 2004. She’s currently the chair of the NCAA Committee on Competitive Safeguards and Medical Aspects of Sport.

These inductees will be welcomed at a reception at West Aurora’s Veterans Memorial Fieldhouse at 5 p.m. Jan. 19, and inducted before tipoff of the boys basketball game against Joliet West, around 6:30 p.m.

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