The Civic Memorial Eagles highlight a list of five state-ranked teams that will compete at the Highland Scott Credit Union Girls Basketball Tournament, which begins Saturday at Highland High School.
Ranked fourth in the latest Class 3A state basketball poll and leading the Mississippi Valley Conference, the Eagles (18-1) will make their tournament debut as the top seed and will take on the Wesclin Warriors in the opening game of the weeklong event at 10 a.m. Saturday.
The Eagles, who return four starters from a team that reached the Class 3A super-sectional a year ago, are led by senior Kaylee Eaton (15.3 ppg) and sophomore Anna Hall, but feature a deep team without any noticeable weaknesses according to Highland coach Mike Arbuthnot.
“They are a very good ballclub with a nice mix of experienced players and some talent at the underclass level,” Arbuthnot said. “They’ve got a bunch of good shooters, and in Anna (Hall), they have a player who can score and rebound.
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“But there are some very good basketball teams here. You’ve got O’Fallon, which won the Mascoutah Tournament and is having a great year. You’ve got Teutopolis, which was undefeated until (Breese) Central knocked them off the other night. And you have Central, Mater Dei, Okawville, Nashville and ourselves.”
There will be eight first-round games Saturday, with the tournament continuing all week. The championship game will be at 2:30 p.m. Jan. 20. Highland is the defending champion.
Former tournament champion Teutopolis (19-1) is ranked fifth in the Class 2A poll, while Okawville (12-6) is ranked 10th in the Class 1A poll. Class 4A O’Fallon (16-2) and Class 3A Central (15-2) received votes in their respective state polls this week, but neither is in the top 10.