Plenty of tourneys to satisfy the fans
|By Aaron Schultz|
Christmas is all but here and gone, depending when you get the Herald Journal, and New Year’s is right around the corner.
With that said, there will be, once again, like every year, plenty of high school basketball tournaments to fill a fan’s appetite this week.
Going through the scoreboard prior to writing this column, I found 15 different boys’ basketball tournaments going on this week, and those are just the ones that have a team participating that is in the scoreboard.
The most prominent, at least in this area, are the ones hosted by Howard Lake-Waverly-Winsted, Lester Prairie, and Glencoe-Silver Lake.
As in previous years, all three tournaments will again feature some of the best teams in the area, and state, and should provide a lot of entertainment.
Taking a look at all three tournaments, I’ll start with the Laker Holiday Tournament, which, of course, features the 3-1 Lakers.
HLWW will open up tournament play Tuesday against a strong Southwest Christian team from the Minnesota Christian Athletic Alliance conference.
Southwest Christian enters the tournament with a 6-1 overall record, and has a win over Lester Prairie on its resume.
Other match-ups on the opening day include a winless Meadow Creek Christian squad against 1-5 Zimmerman.
In the second quarterfinal, Heritage Christian (2-5) will face Dassel-Cokato (2-2).
Look for the Chargers to get through this half of the tournament and make it to the championship game, which is Thursday at 8 p.m.
In the Lakers’ half of the draw, Annandale (0-2) will face Oh Day Aki (4-0).
Although Oh Day Aki is undefeated, I will pick the undefeated Annandale Cardinals to come away with the win and face the Lakers in the semifinals.
Without a doubt, I believe the Lakers will surpass Annandale, and reach the finals of the tournament against the Chargers.
Then, in the championship, I think the game will be very competitive, but look for HLWW to come away with the tournament title.
Next up on the local slate of tournaments is the Lester Prairie Holiday Tournament, which features four teams, and will occur Tuesday and Wednesday.
In the opening round Tuesday, Watertown-Mayer, undefeated and ranked 8th in Class 2A, will face winless Kimball.
This game is a no-brainer, as the Royals steamroll over the Cubs to reach the finals.
In the second opening-round game, the host Bulldogs will battle the 3-2 Belle Plaine Tigers.
This should be a very entertaining game, and I believe it will go right down to the wire.
After losing a couple of heartbreakers over the past week, I believe it will be the Bulldogs’ turn to pull one out of the fire, get the win, and meet up with the Royals in the finals.
This is going to be a tough pick for me, because while I hate to pick against any one of the local teams I cover, I might just have to in this one.
The Royals, led by Matt Janning and his 34.8 points-per-game average, are very good.
I see the boys from Lester Prairie giving the Royals all they can handle and more, but Watertown-Mayer will prevail in the end.
Sorry Bulldog fans, but Watertown-Mayer is a very strong Class 2A team.
Moving on over to the Glencoe-Silver Lake Holiday Tournament, where the Trojans will, once again, compete, the field is very strong.
The bottom half of the bracket has Mayer Lutheran (3-2) facing the 4-0 Waconia Wildcats.
Waconia is ranked fifth in Class 3A, and should get past a pesky Crusader squad to reach the semifinals.
The other quarterfinal in this half has Gibbon-Fairfax-Winthrop against 3-2 Rockford.
This game, I think, will be a toss up, but I will give the nod to Rockford for not really any good reasons.
No matter, whichever team does win will fall to Waconia in the semifinals, giving the Wildcats one spot in the championship game.
The other half of the draw features the Trojans getting a rematch against Trinity.
Due to a very slow start Dec. 16, the Trojans fell to Trinity 72-56.
However, Holy Trinity did outscore Trinity in the second half, and I think they will carry that over into this game.
So, with upset on their mind, I have the Trojans getting their first win of the season in this 6:30 p.m. Wednesday night match up.
The second quarterfinal in this half has the winless hosts Glencoe-Silver Lake and 1-5 Cedar Mountain.
As hosts, I’m sure that the Panthers will get their first win of the year and face off with the Trojans in the semifinals.
While I won’t put it past the Trojans to upend Glencoe-Silver Lake, I am going to give the nod to the Panthers in this semifinal match-up.
In the finals, look for Waconia to steamroll Glencoe-Silver Lake for the title.
There you have it, one man’s uneducated, somewhat biased, opinion on how the three local holiday tournaments will turn out.
So, all you sports fans out there, get off your butts this week and go attend one of the many high school basketball games going on this week.