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Head basketball coach Jasper Williams (left) of Bloom High School hands the first place trophy to his team after they beat Crete-Monee in the McDipper Tournament of Stars at Rich South High School on Friday, Dec. 30, 2011, in Richton Park, Il. | John Smie

Unlike most Holiday tournaments, the Rich South McDipper Tournament officially kicks off weeks before the tipoff of the first game of the four day event that starts on December 26.

Glenwood Oaks hosted the annual dinner Wednesday night for the McDipper 40, where coaches, officials, administrators and reporters got a preview of what teams will be in the tournament and a first look at the brackets.

The tournament was originally known as the Big Dipper before a local McDonald’s decided to play a major sponsorship role a few year ago. As always, the event will feature some of the top teams in the Southland area along with representation from a few city schools and some north side schools.

Defending champion Bloom is expected to have a legit chance of repeating and would like to send retiring coach Jasper Williams out with a bang. Marian Catholic is the only team ranked in the Top 25 and is expected to have a good run in a year when the tournament radiates parity.

“Anybody can win this,” said Marian Catholic coach Mike Taylor, whose team will play Rich Central in opening round action. “You are looking at a quarterfinal that could field anybody. Their really isn’t a clear cut favorite."

Crete-Monee, a three-time consecutive runner-up, is hoping to have its luck change. They’ll be led by LaQuon Treadwell, who led the football team to a Class 7A state title a few weeks ago but has yet to play a game with the 5-0 Warriors. He is expected to be back full time this week.

Former Hillcrest coach Tom Cappel is in his second year with the Warriors and can’t wait to have his entire team on the court.

“I’m just thrilled we are where we are right now without Treadwell and a few of the other football players,” said Cappel, whose team will have a tough first round opponent in Thornton. “We’ve played pretty well in this tournament.”

Bolingbrook, Rich East, and Joliet Central are three other teams that should have an impact. All teams will have a special incentive this year. Lansing Sport Shop, a sponsor since the tournament’s inception in 1973, will provide new uniforms for the team that wins the championship.

Lincoln Park and Evanston are no longer in the tournament. They were replaced by first-year member King and Phillips.

Wednesday, December 26

McDipper 40 Tournament Pairings

At Rich South

First Round

Bolingbrook vs. King, 9 a.m.

Crete-Monee vs. Thornton, 10:30 a.m.

Hales vs. Tinley Park, 12 p.m.

Bloom vs. Phillips, 1:30 p.m.

Marian Catholic vs. Rich Central, 4 p.m.

Rich East vs. Joliet Central, 5:30 p.m.

Rich South vs. Leo, 7 p.m.

Seton vs. Corliss, 8:30 p.m.



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