Many metro-east area boys basketball teams will take their annual mid-season break from conference play this week to compete in tournaments throughout Southern Illinois.
Play began Saturday at the Jerseyville Tournament where Highland and Collinsville won opening-round games, while events at Nashville, Benton and Okawville High Schools begin Monday.
The much anticipated Chick-fil-A Classic at Belleville East and Sparta Tournaments begin Tuesday with the Salem Tournament getting underway Wednesday at Salem High School.
Following is a closer look at the tournament schedule this week.
The Highland Bulldogs defeated host Jerseyville 58-45 and Collinsville upended Quincy Notre Dame 77-55 in pool play as action began Saturday at Jerseyville High School.
Cahokia is the other local team competing in the weeklong event. The Comanches will take on Quincy Notre Dame on Monday at 5 p.m. in its first pool play game.
The host Hornets along with Mater Dei and Central lead a strong field of teams with their skills on the line Monday at Nashville High School’s Assembly Hall.
Brentwoood (Missouri) makes its tournament debut when it takes on Central at 6:30 p.m. Monday, while Mater Dei will battle the Granite City Warriors at 8 p.m. Granite City is coming off consecutive last-second wins against East St. Louis and Belleville East.
Mascoutah rounds out the six-team field. The title game is set for 8 p.m. Saturday.
The Okawville Rockets and Wesclin Warriors showdown was postponed Friday by icy road conditions but the two will collide in the tournament finale at 8 p.m. Saturday.
The round-robin event begins Monday when Madison, coached by former Trojans great Maurice Baker, takes on DuQuoin at 6 p.m. and Gibault battles Okawville at 7:30 p.m.
The Carlyle Indians lead the charge at Benton High School this week and will take on Class 2A state power Pinckneyville in its opening game at 7 p.m. Monday.
Play continues through Saturday and other teams competing include Benton, Hamilton County, Mounds Meridian and Sesser-Valier.
Sparta Mid-Winter Classic
Champions of the Columbia-Freeburg Holiday Tournament and state-ranked Alton Marquette headlines a strong field at Sparta High School this week.
The undefeated Explorers will take Red Bud at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday in the opening game of the pool-play event. Host Sparta along with Trico, Murphysboro and Waterloo comprise one four-team pool, while Marquette, Steeleville, Freeburg and Red Bud are in the other pool.
Play continues all week with the title game set for Saturday.
Play at the Salem Invitational begins Wednesday but the Edwardsville Tigers and Triad Knights play their first-round games Thursday at Salem High School.
Host Salem will take on Triad at 6:30 p.m. Thursday with Edwardsville battling Thornton Fractional North at 8 p.m. The tournament concludes Saturday with the title game set for 8 p.m.