EFFINGHAM — Christmas has passed but the holidays are just beginning for nearly every boys and girls basketball team in the area.
Sixteen teams kick off the holiday tournament season today, with brackets taking place in Dieterich, Monticello and Vandalia.
Altamont’s girls are playing in the Okaw Valley Tournament, and play began Saturday with a 62-21 loss to Sullivan. They play the Taylorville JV at 10:30 a.m. Thursday. Teutopolis’ JV girls also played, beating Okaw Valley’s JV 45-15. They play Mount Pulaski at 8 p.m. Thursday.
Dieterich is the only local school hosting tournaments for both the boys and the girls, and both kick off today. On the boys side, Beecher City and Dieterich begin play at 11:30 a.m., followed by North Clay facing Centralia Christ Our Rock (1 p.m.), Newton taking on Red Hill (2:30), Oblong playing Beecher City (4 p.m.), North Clay facing Newton at 5:30 p.m. and Dieterich playing Arcola to end the day.
Newton enters the tournament undefeated and with a target on its back, as coach Doug Mammoser said his Eagles should be the favorite coming into play.
On the girls side, the Maroons start that side of play at 10 a.m. against Oblong. South Central takes on Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City at 11:30 a.m., North Clay plays Arcola at 1 p.m., Newton faces Oblong at 2:30 p.m. and Dieterich plays Casey-Westfield at 5:30 p.m.
Neoga’s boys and girls are the only team playing in Monticello. The boys take on Monticello at 11:30 a.m. today and GCMS at 6 p.m. The Lady Indians play the same schedule, facing Monticello at 10 a.m. and GCMS at 7:30 p.m.
Vandalia’s boys tournament starts at 9:30 a.m. today, with South Central taking on Flora. At 11 a.m., St. Anthony plays the hosting Vandals. St. Elmo takes on Pana at 3:30 p.m. and Altamont takes on Maroa-Forsyth at 6:30 p.m.