Area teams return to Romeoville Christmas Classic

By Scott Taylor

@Taylor_Sports

This year’s Romeoville Christmas Classic will have a new look.

After having separate big and small school brackets with the two divisions meeting in the final round, this year there is just one bracket with the different school sizes mixed in.

Defending champion Downers Grove North returns this year to lead the field.

It has been a slow start this year for the Trojans as they are just 2-5 and have yet to win a WSC Silver game. However, they used the tournament last year to springboard into a strong second half of the season.

Defending tournament MVP Devin Blake returns to lead the Trojans.

“We are looking forward to playing a four-game tournament format,” Downers North coach James Thomas said. “Being able to complete against a field of teams and get a variety of styles of play allows for your team to improve heading into the new year.”

Dontia Johnson and Romeoville host the Romeoville Christmas Classic

Dontia Johnson and Romeoville host the Romeoville Christmas Classic

They open the tournament Saturday, Dec. 26 at 6:30 p.m. against Lincoln-Way East (3-4). A win would put them in the 8 p.m. game Dec. 28 against the winner of Chicago Christian (7-1) and Lemont (4-3), which features recruit PJ Pipes. The losing schools will play at 1:30 p.m. that day.

The other half of the bottom bracket features the host school, Romeoville. It opens play in the nightcap on the first day at 8 p.m. against Oak Forest (4-3).

The Spartans (3-4) feature several underclassmen on their roster, but are led by senior Matt Cappelletti.

“We open up the RHS Classic against Oak Forest, which is well coached in has played in the championship game at RHS the past two years,” Romeoville coach Marc Howard said. “We just want to continue developing our youth and playing four solid quarters of basketball each night. We are emphasizing closing out games better in the fourth and that starts with attention to detail defensively.”

The winner of that game plays at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 28 against the winner of Glenbard South (4-3) and Phillips (1-2). The losers of the game will face off at noon.

The bottom bracket winners will face off at 8 p.m. Dec. 29, while the consolation winners face off at noon.

On the other half of the bracket are two more Voyager Media teams. Plainfield Central (0-8) faces off with Reavis (4-3) at 9 a.m. Dec. 26 to open the tournament.

The Wildcats feature several senior leaders in Justin Windt, Chris Bowitz and Scott Gustafson.

“The Romeoville Christmas Tournament provides a quality atmosphere in a very competitive setting,” Central coach Steve Lamberti said. “Every team in the tournament feels like they can win it. We are going up against at solid Reavis team that will force us to be at our best. As always in a tournament situation, we are looking to play our best basketball and put ourselves in a position to win four games.”

In the other game, Joliet Catholic (4-2) takes on Shepard (1-6) at 5 p.m. JCA is anchored by Jalen Jackson and Harold Davis.

“We are looking forward to the Romeoville Tournament,” JCA coach Joe Gura said. “We would like to think we are at a point that we are contenders.”

The winners of the two games will play each other at 5 p.m. Dec. 28, with the others playing at 10:30 a.m.

The other part of the top half of the bracket features Oswego East (3-4) against Geneseo and Argo (5-3) against Linblom (5-3).

The winners of the top half of the bracket will play at 6:30 p.m. Dec. 29 while the consolation winners will play at 1:30.

The overall championship is at 8 p.m. Dec. 30 with the third place game at 6:30 p.m. and the consolation championship at 5 p.m.

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