It’s a quick turnaround, but here we are again — tournament time.
If you feel like you just got feeling in your backside again from being perched on bleachers and watching plenty of hoops, that’s because you did. The championship game of the Centralia Holiday Tournament finished up slightly before the turn of the calendar on New Year’s Eve and now here we are delving back into tournament action.
The Alton Redbird boys and girls will make their way to Washington for the Teamworks Invitational on Saturday and Monday, the Civic Memorial, East Alton-Wood River and Roxana boys all go to the Litchfield Invitational beginning Saturday and ending Jan. 24 and the Marquette Catholic boys head to the Jersey Invite starting Saturday and ending on the 24th. The CM and Marquette girls go to the Carrollton Invitational beginning Jan. 24.
The Roxana and EA-WR girls aren’t participating in a January tourney after playing in Gibault prior to their respective holiday tournaments.
Starting with Alton, the Redbird ladies kick off the all-gender tournament in Washington at 12:30 p.m. Saturday vs. Urbana. Their male counterparts follow vs. Mahomet Seymour at 2 p.m.
The Alton boys are back in action at 7 p.m. against Grayslake North with the girls playing at 8:30 p.m., also vs. Grayslake North.
Idle until Monday, the AHS girls then play host Washington at 4 p.m. with the boys battling Washington at 5:30 p.m. to close out the round-robin tourney.
The Alton boys won the inaugural version of the tournament a year ago. Seniors Bryan Hudson, Carlos Anderson and Darrius Edwards return from the starting lineup last season looking to defend.
Marquette will kick off its time in Jersey with Pittsfield at 5:30 p.m. Saturday. The Explorers then battle Quincy Notre Dame at 4 p.m. Monday, Collinsville at 6 p.m. Wednesday, defending champ Cahokia at 5 p.m. on Jan. 23 and the host Panthers at 7 p.m. on Jan. 24.
Marquette was 1-3 at the Jersey Invite last season.
The Explorers bested Jersey 51-49 on Dec. 20 at Marquette on the heroics of a late basket by Shandon Boone.
The CM boys are looking to defend their Litchfield Tournament title where Jakob Lowrance earned MVP honors. Lowrance and the Eagles kick off the ‘15 version of the tourney in Pool C vs. Hillsboro at 7 p.m. Saturday.
They round out pool play with Nokomis at 6 p.m. on Tuesday and bracketed play begins on Thursday. CM is the No. 3 overall seed. Greenville is the top seed this year.
EA-WR and Roxana are lumped together in Pool B. Roxana is the No. 7 seed, while the Oilers are No. 10. No. 2 Taylorville is tops in Pool B.
EA-WR starts with Taylorville at 7 p.m. Saturday before meeting the rival Shells for the third time this season at 5:30 p.m. on Monday.
Roxana has won the previous two meetings this season, 64-55 at Metro East Lutheran to open the season on Nov. 25 and 59-57 in overtime at Roxana on Dec. 12. The Shells then get Taylorville at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday before delving into bracketed play.
For the CM and Marquette girls, tournament action doesn’t pop off until Jan. 24 in Carrollton. Calhoun is the top seed there, while the Eagles are perched at No. 2. The Explorers are ranked eighth.
CM earned tournament gold at Carrollton during the ‘13-14 season and will look to defend its title behind sophomore sensation Allie Troeckler.
The bracketed tourney sees Marquette start with No. 16-seeded Madison at 11 a.m. on Jan. 24, while the Eagles play No. 10 Greenfield at 3:30 p.m. the same day. Bracketed play continues throughout the following week with the finals scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 31.
Good luck to the eight teams participating and good luck to those fans ready for their second stint in a month plopped on hard bleachers for extended periods of time.