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.
On Thursday, Effingham kicks off its tournament play, with the boys facing Alton at 2 p.m. in Centralia. The Lady Hearts head to Charleston and face Rantoul at 4 p.m.
Play also begins at the Tri-County Tournament Thursday, with Windsor playing Tri-County at 3 p.m. Stew-Stras plays Arthur-Lovington at 6 p.m., and Cumberland plays Hutson-Palestine at 7:30 p.m.
The Lady Shoes head to Edwardsville, playing two games Thursday. Teutopolis plays Minooka at 1 p.m. and Edwardsville at 8:15 p.m.
St. Anthony and Cumberland girls play in Mattoon for the holidays. The Lady Bulldogs play Mattoon (11:30 a.m.) and Olney (6 p.m.), and the Pirates play Salem (10 a.m.) and Mahomet-Seymour (4:30 p.m.)
Lastly, Teutopolis’ boys head to Pinckneyville beginning Friday, with the Wooden Shoes playing Jerseyville at 4 p.m.
The tournaments continue throughout the week. Both Dieterich tournaments and both Monticello tournaments end Friday.
Centralia, Pinckneyville, Tri-County, Vandalia, Charleston, Mattoon and Okaw Valley conclude play on Saturday.
Matchups will be updated for tournaments that start today in Thursday’s edition of the Daily News, and matchups for all other tournaments will be updated as play progresses.