10 prep events to catch before 2017 concludes

10 prep events to catch before 2017 concludes

Much attention will be paid ­— and rightfully so — to local holiday basketball tournaments as the 2017 calendar year comes to an end. With that in mind, we’ve compiled all those games into one neat webpage, which we’ll update with scores after each day of games. But it’s not only round robins and other events filling out the year’s final days. Preps coordinator COLIN LIKAS provides 10 non-holiday tournament prep events to catch between now and Dec. 31:

­— Tuscola at Judah Christian, boys’ basketball, tonight: This matchup features a tale of two surprises. The Warriors, who went 16-11 last season, are off to a rugged 0-4 start. The Tribe, meanwhile, has put behind a 13-14 previous campaign while jumping out to a 4-0 record and putting up 99 points against Chrisman on Tuesday.

— Urbana at Danville, girls’ basketball, Saturday: The Vikings’ exploits are well known, as Mikala Hall and Co. leaped to a 6-0 mark — including a Paris Thanksgiving Tournament title — before falling to Rock Island. The Tigers’ 3-5 record may be deceiving, given four of their losses are by five points or less.

— Bloomington Invitational, boys’ swim and dive, Saturday: If you’re up for a drive, you can see Centennial, Champaign Central, Danville and Urbana athletes competing together in the same pool. Top guys to watch include Chargers Alex Shilts and Luke Starks, Maroon Ryan Wierschem, Viking Lane Wagner and Tiger Ethan Chow.

— Westville at Schlarman, girls’ basketball, Monday: The Hilltoppers, led by Notre Dame commit Anaya Peoples and fellow Division I prospect Capria Brown, are tearing through opponents on an 9-0 start, while the Tigers boast eight wins this season and can offer a Vermilion Valley Conference challenge.

— Monticello at Paxton-Buckley-Loda, boys’ basketball, Tuesday: This should be entertaining hoops, especially considering the teams squared off for a Class 2A sectional title last season. The Sages came out on top en route to fourth place at state, and don’t think the Panthers who are still around have forgotten about that.

­— LeRoy/Tri-Valley at Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley/Fisher, wrestling, Tuesday: This could be a sneaky-good dual meet involving four Heart of Illinois Conference schools in two co-ops. The Panthers, led by the likes of Dylan Woolridge, aren’t far outside the state’s Class 1A top 10, while the Falcons constantly offer stiff resistance.

— Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley at Fisher, boys’ basketball, Thursday: There typically isn’t a ton of court action for the guys this day of the week, but fans should be glad this one is on the docket. The 6-1 Falcons have Ryland Holt and others to count on, while the 5-3 Bunnies can always look to Jaden Jones-Watkins for big numbers.

— St. Joseph-Ogden at Schlarman, girls’ basketball, Thursday: These Hilltoppers make a second appearance on the list, and rightfully so given the matchup. Bree Trimble and friends have posted an 8-3 mark so far and won’t make for an easy out, even having to travel to Danville.

— Prairie Central at Coal City, wrestling, Dec. 23: Prepare for Christmas Eve and Day by watching two of the state’s best small-school grappling programs, if you’re up for the trip (an hour from Fairbury). The Hawks are ranked 10th in Class 1A and narrowly lost to No. 4 Clinton, while the Coalers are No. 6 in 1A.

­­— Petersburg PORTA Tournament, wrestling, Dec. 27-28: Now this is a healthy drive (two hours from Champaign), but if you’re a big wrestling fan and have some holiday downtime, you can witness Hoopeston Area, Monticello, Prairie Central, St. Joseph-Ogden and others in action at this event, which runs multiple days.