Some of the top players in Illinois and Missouri will be on display Saturday at Highland High School during the 23rd annual Highland Optimist/Scott Credit Union Shootout.
Tennessee recruit Larry Austin, Jr., leads the state's top-ranked Class 3A team, Springfield Lanphier (14-0) in scoring at 23.8 points per game. He also averages 6.9 rebounds, is hitting 56 percent of his shots and has 58 steals.
Six-foot-eight Texas recruit Jordan Barnett (19.8 points and 6.8 rebounds per game) is the top player for St. Louis powerhouse CBC.
Lanphier and CBC meet in the shootout finale at 7 p.m.
Chatham Glenwood's 6-5 senior guard Peyton Allen averages nearly 28 points and 7.2 rebounds and is attracting a lot of Division I attention from Wisconsin, Oklahoma State, Michigan and Iowa, among others.
Fort Zumwalt North guard Chaz Glotta has signed with Southern Illinois University Carbondale.
"With the bad weather, people are getting cabin fever so hopefully they'll come out to see some basketball," said Highland coach Matt Elledge, expecting a large crowd to visit the Shootout at various times Saturday.
The shootout kicks off at noon Saturday with a girls game between Highland (9-7) and Chatham Glenwood. Highland's top scorers are Olivia Laporta (10.6 ppg) and Amanda Ponce (10.2 ppg).
Tickets are $5 for students and $8 for adults. Here is a look at the boys matchups:
Wesclin vs. Mater Dei, 1:45 p.m.
This matchup would be even more attractive if it included Wesclin senior standout Michael Klein, a Southern Illinois University Carbondale baseball recruit still hoping to return from a fractured ankle before the end of the basketball season.
"I thought that he had a chance to be an all-state player," Wesclin coach Andrew Wilson said. "It's up in the air if he'll be back at all."
Wesclin has found several more scorers, most notably 5-11 senior guard Alex Smith. Smith missed last season with a serious knee injury that required surgery, but is averaging 16.7 points and 4.6 rebounds and broke the tournament scoring record at the Duster Thomas Classic in Pinckneyville.
"He really, really worked at it and got himself healthy," Wilson said of Smith, who had 82 points in four games at Pinckneyville. "He's playing like a true leader as a senior and I've been very, very impressed with him. Not only is he our best scorer, he's also our best defender."
The Warriors also got senior Kyle Eversgerd back from knee surgery earlier this season and he has averaged 12.1 points in his first seven games.
Wesclin's top outside threat is sophomore guard Jarad Steenbergen (13.5 ppg, 31 3-pointers), while Jared Timmermann (12.3 ppg) is another threat.
Mater Dei relies on size and strength and the Knights are capable of lighting it up from the outside as well.
Their top scorers are 6-4 junior Ben Lampe (12.3 ppg), 6-4 junior Zach Haake (8.6 ppg), Eric Vandeloo (8.4 ppg) and 6-8 junior Nolan Gerling (7.7 ppg).
Chatham Glenwood (8-5) vs. Fort Zumwalt North (4-4), 3:30 p.m.
This game should feature plenty of scoring thanks to Allen and Glotta, but both teams have additional firepower.
Glenwood also has an athletic guard in 6-5 junior Cole Harper, averaging 11.3 points and 8.2 rebounds, while Glotta's younger brother, junior guard Zach Glotta, is averaging 18.9 points with 22 3-pointers.
Highland (9-5) vs. Jerseyville (8-4), 5:15 p.m.
Adding an Mississippi Valley Conference rivalry game to the Shootout should crank up the intensity.
Highland was 2-3 at the Mater Dei Christmas Tournament, then followed that up with a 61-55 win over 2A-ranked Teutopolis last Friday.
"Even though we lost some games (at Mater Dei), we feel like we made strides," Coach Elledge said. "I think our team's starting to come together a little bit more, understanding each other and our roles."
The Bulldogs have a three-game win streak and are led by sophomore guard Austin Elledge (12.3 ppg), senior guard Aaron Elledge (10.6 ppg) and senior Eastern Illinois University baseball recruit Joe Duncan (10.6 points 5.1 rebounds per game).
Jerseyville's six-game win streak ended Wednesday with a 64-57 loss to Civic Memorial. The Panthers' top scorers are senior Kyle Steckel (13.9 ppg), 6-3 senior Luke Shively (12.2 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, 30 3-pointers) and 6-4 senior Jake Varble (11 points, 8.3 rebounds per game).
Springfield Lanphier (14-0) vs. CBC (7-4), 7 p.m.
Austin had a career-high 39-points with 10 rebounds on 13-for-17 shooting in an 80-63 victory over Limestone in the championship game of the Pekin Holiday Tournament game.
Lanphier sophomore guard Xavier Bishop (18.8 ppg) makes teams pay if they concentrate their defense on Austin while Scottie Wallace averages 7.4 points.
Bishop had 28 points in the Pekin tourney championship game as he and Austin combined to score 67 of their team's 80 points.
CBC is one of the top-ranked teams in Missouri and recently played in a national-level tournament in Palm Springs, Calif., over the holidays.
Coached by former St. Louis University and CBC star Justin Tatum, the Cadets have other capable scorers in 5-11 sophomore Jordan Barnes (12.9 ppg), 6-2 sophomore Christian Willis (9.7 ppg) and 6-4 senior Beau Bommarito (8.6 ppg).
CBC defeated Louisville Ballard (Ky.) 75-68 Thursday at the Coaches vs. Cancer Shootout in St. Louis behind 26 points and 17 rebounds from Barnett and 17 points from Bommarito.