Mendota returns as the defending champion of the Lady Bruins Classic, bringing back its core of a talented junior classic and a 10-1 record. The Lady Trojans, however, will find some hot teams at the tournament.
Mendota heads up the Green Pool as the No. 1 seed in the 10-team event which starts Saturday on the Academy hardwood. Fieldcrest brings in a 8-2 record at No. 2 atop the White Pool, most notably posting a 54-47 win over previously undefeated Putnam County on Monday.
“I’m excited, as always, about the tournament and the talent and the teams that are coming in,” St. Bede coach Tom McGunnigal said. “We get to see some really good basketball every year when tournament time rolls around, and I think St. Bede is a good venue to see some good basketball every year.”
Other top seeds went to No. 3 Seneca (8-2), No. 4 Kewanee (5-6) and No. 5 St. Bede (4-6). The remaining field includes No. 6 IVC (4-5), No. 8 Henry (3-7) and No. 9 Eureka (1-6) in the Green Pool, and No. 7 LaMoille/Ohio (6-6) and No. 10 Princeton (1-9) in the White Pool.
“I think the tournament should be a competitive field with multiple different teams that have a chance to get to the championship,” Mendota coach Kevin Geldon said. “I especially think Fieldcrest, Kewanee, IVC and Seneca are tough teams and certainly championship contenders. You also never know with the host St. Bede if they can muster some magic. Should be a fun and exciting way to spend the holiday season.”
Kewanee coach Chuck Blake said he always looks forward to coming to St. Bede.
“Even though it contains two conference schools (St. Bede and Princeton), the pool play assures us of playing comparable sized schools out of our area,” he said. “Coach McGunnigal and St. Bede administration really seem to go out of their way to accommodate the schools by making it a well organized and fun experience for the competing teams.”
Mendota defeated St. Bede, 65-62, in last year’s title game. Geldon brings back four starters in juniors Ally Bromoschenkel (13.9), Amy Devitt (14.8), Abby Bromoschenkel (8.9) and Brooke Carroll (7.1). The Lady Trojans’ lone loss this year came to Rockford Lutheran in the championship of the Oregon Tip-Off Classic.
Fieldcrest has as strong a 1-2 punch as anyone with senior post Tessa Holland and senior guard Haley Reustman, who combined for 39 points in the Lady Knights’ win over Putnam County.
“There’s definitely some very good teams coming in. Starting with defending champ Mendota who is bringing back their entire team save one or two seniors off of last year’s team – and they’re still only juniors,” McGunnigal said. “Fieldcrest and Seneca are certainly on rolls with a lot of returning starters. And it’s always interesting with Eureka and IVC who play very strong competition coming in and maybe don’t have as strong a record, maybe pick up a little lower seed than they expected but always bring in a team filled with talent and ability.”
Saturday afernoon games have been moved up 90 minutes with Henry withdrawing from its scheduled noon tip vs. Mendota due to weather concerns. Now, LaMoille/Ohio will play Fieldcrest at noon, Eureka will play Kewanee at 1:30 p.m., Princeton meets Seneca at 3 p.m., IVC plays Mendota at 4:30 p.m. and St. Bede faces Fieldcrest at 6 p.m.
At Prophetstown: Hall (3-7) will start up their Holiday Hoopla at Prophetstown at 1:30 p.m. Thursday vs. L-P. They will also face Hinckley-Big Rock and Riverdale in pool play.
Other teams in the field include the host Lady Prophets, the defending champion who sports a 10-2 record and stands 4-0 atop the Three Rivers North.
At Erie: Bureau Valley also waits until the day after Christmas, returning to the Warkins Memorial Classic in Erie. The Storm (4-6) are pooled with Rockridge, Stockton, Morrison, Monmouth-Roseville and Ridgewood, playing all but Morrison. Finals will be held Dec. 28.
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