Sev­eral hol­i­day tour­neys get can­celed

Chicago Sun-Times - - SPORTS - MICHAEL O’BRIEN mo­brien@sun­ | @michael­so­brien

Foot­ball sea­son has been moved to spring. At this point, it seems un­likely that there will be any­thing close to a state tour­na­ment in any sport.

Over the last week, another sta­ple of high school sports was faced with can­cel­la­tions be­cause of COVID-19: hol­i­day bas­ket­ball tour­na­ments.

Cen­tralia, Bloom­ing­ton, Mar­seilles and Eff­in­g­ham all can­celed last week. The Big Dip­per, hosted by Rich South, can­celed Thurs­day.

The Big Dip­per field con­sists of south sub­ur­ban and South Side schools, so there was a lit­tle hope that it would be one of the tour­na­ments that would find a way to ex­ist.

“We tried to see if there was any way to pos­si­bly have it,” Rich Town­ship ath­letic di­rec­tor Omari Gar­rett said. “But as the days and weeks went on, we re­al­ized we wouldn’t be able to put it on the way we wanted do. We didn’t want just two teams in at a time and then ev­ery­one leav­ing. The Dip­per is about the ex­pe­ri­ence, and we wanted it to be the full ex­pe­ri­ence or noth­ing at all.”

The Big Dip­per has been on the de­cline in the last decade, but things fi­nally were start­ing to look up. Gar­rett had added Hill­crest, Hyde Park, TF South and Lin­coln-Way Cen­tral to this year’s field.

Pro­viso West of­fi­cials say they have not made a de­ci­sion on their hol­i­day tour­na­ment. There also has been no word from Pon­tiac, York and Hins­dale Cen­tral.

The Chicago Elite Clas­sic event tra­di­tion­ally held at Win­trust Arena will likely look much dif­fer­ent. Noth­ing is of­fi­cial, but there clearly won’t be any out-of-state teams in­volved. Don’t be sur­prised if host coaches Tyrone Slaugh­ter of Young and Robert Smith of Simeon fig­ure some­thing out to keep the brand alive, though, per­haps a Young vs. Simeon show­down to tip off the sea­son.

On the move

Sev­eral talented play­ers have re­cently de­cided to move out of state. Kanka­kee’s AJ Storr and Bol­ing­brook’s Kai Evans left for schools in Las Ve­gas. Lin­coln Park’s Is­mail Habib is now in Mary­land, and Fen­wick’s Trey Pettigrew moved to Ari­zona.

There also has been the usual move­ment around the area. Jalen Hous­ton has left Hyde Park for Bo­gan, and Walt Mat­tingly left Deer­field for Lake For­est. Amar­ion Os­borne has trans­ferred from Vo­ca­tional to Kanka­kee.

The big­gest lo­cal trans­fer story has yet to play out. AJ Casey, the state’s top ju­nior, is not en­rolled at Tin­ley Park.

Casey played his fresh­man year at Simeon and was with the Ti­tans last sea­son.

A new name

Ru­mors have swirled for a year that Casey would wind up at Young, but the fam­ily hasn’t con­firmed any­thing.

Few high school bas­ket­ball fans have seen Long­wood play. That could change this year, as­sum­ing fans are ever al­lowed at games.

For­mer Wash­ing­ton star Keyon Smoth­ers took over the pro­gram last sea­son and was an in­stant suc­cess, lead­ing the Pan­thers to an 18-9 record, 8-1 and first place in the White-South.

Smoth­ers has two key play­ers back, Ja­mar­ion Walker and Adam Clay­bourne. And he has added some trans­fers to help out in the school’s first sea­son in the Red.

Ju­nior Da­mar­cies Moore, a 6-5 wing, trans­ferred from Bo­gan. He re­ceived pos­i­tive re­views from scouts af­ter play­ing at a Pan­gos Show­case in Utah last month.

Two new guards have ar­rived, as well. Lionel Wilson trans­ferred in from Collins and DaQuan Har­grove from Ju­lian.


AJ Casey (right), the state’s top ju­nior, is not en­rolled at Tin­ley Park. Ru­mors have swirled that he will wind up at Young.

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