By Mark Jurgena
We are hitting the home stretch so far as the high school basketball season is concerned but before we do let’s take a look back at last week’s January tournament action throughout South Central and Southern Illinois
At the 72nd Salem Invitational East St. Louis, who got a few votes in this week’s Class 3A AP poll, won the title for the fifth consecutive time thanks to a 45-37 win over Centralia. Centralia, the seventh ranked team in Class 3A, dropped to 21-2 on the season. East Side is 15-6 on the year.
At Nashville Breese (Central), the number one ranked Class 2A team in Illinois, beat St. Louis (KIPP) 65-32 for the championship at the 41st annual event.
Troy (Triad) won the 56th annual Litchfield Invitational by a 52-37 count over Bethalto (Civic Memorial). It was the second year in a row the Knights beat CM to win.
The Belleville East tourney only had six teams this season with East and Belleville West going 3-0 in tourney pool play. Collinsville went 2-0 but didn’t play Florissant, Mo. (McCluer Sr.) due to a weather induced school cancellation at the Missouri school. The two meet Saturday afternoon in Collinsville to help decide the tourney champion.
If the Kahoks win and go 3-0 the tourney will come down to defensive points allowed.
Columbia beat Highland 41-32 to win the Okawville Invitational.
Granite City upset Edwardsville 47-43 at the Jerseyville Mid-Winter Classic for the championship while Waterloo (Gibault) beat Jackson, Mo. (Saxony Lutheran) 44-36 at the 60th annual Chester Invitational.
At the 93rd annual Midland Trail Conference tourney Bluford (Webber) beat Waltonville 58-51 while Benton won their own tourney with a 53-45 win over Pinckneyville.
The 104th Macoupin County tourney went to Piasa (Southwestern) after their 43-41 win over Virden (North Mac). It was the third straight year the Piasa Birds beat the Panthers in the championship game.
Anna-Jonesboro finished the Johnston City tourney with a 4-0 mark after beating the hosts 51-32 on Saturday.
Metropolis (Massac County) beat Vienna 77-63 at the 40th Superman Classic while Freeburg beat Murphysboro 53-49 to win the 59th Sparta Mid-Winter.
West Frankfort swept through their tourney with a 71-55 win over Marion (Crab Orchard).
Marissa/Coulterville beat Zeigler-Royalton 72-67 in double overtime to win at Zeigler.
At the 37th Highland tourney, the championship featured the number two teams in Class 4A and Class 2A in the title contest. Alton beat Breese (Central) 57-46 to give the large schools bragging rights.
In the third place game, the number four team in Class 2A beat the number three team as Nashville upset Breese (Mater Dei) 40-39. The Hornettes had upset the defending Class 4A state champions O’Fallon earlier in the tourney. O’Fallon was ranked number nine state-wide in the large schools category.
At Vandalia, the number 10 team in Class 3A, Effingham, beat Greenville 40-29 for the championship.
Gillespie beat Staunton 63-32 at the Macoupin County tournament.
Jr. High Tourney
In the 75th Annual James Burke boys basketball tourney in Greenville, Troy (Triad) beat Effingham 48-43 for the crown.