Three holiday girls basketball tournaments are set for next week, with the Dieterich Holiday Tournament to start Tuesday, as well as the Monticello Hoopla Tournament and the Arthur Okaw Christian Holiday Classic to start Thursday. 

Two are teams are at Dieterich in Casey-Westfield and Arcola, while Neoga is the lone area team at Monticello, and Arthur Okaw Christian is the lone area team in its own tournament. 

Dieterich Holiday Tournament

Casey-Westfield enters as the third-seeded team out of eight and is in Pool B with Newton, Dieterich and Arcola, who are seeded second, sixth and seven, respectively. 

The Lady Warriors are 8-4 and have won three straight games and six of their last seven contests, with the only loss being to Paris (65-27). 

"I think the tournament provides the opportunity for us to play teams we don't see in the regular season," said Casey coach Jerome Williams. "The people at Dieterich do a great job of putting on the tournament, and it's been a positive experience for us over the years."

Casey averages 46.4 points per game and allows just 35.3 with JaeLynn Riggleman, Mackenzie Morgan and Myriah Warner leading the way with averages of 12.8, 11.9 and 11.3 points per game. 

"We have done a good job defending and continue to work on our defense," said Williams. "Sharing the basketball is a strength which is reflected in the balanced scoring."

Casey is to play the host school at 5:30 p.m. Tuesday. The only team the Lady Warriors played that is in the tournament is North Clay, who is the other pool. 

Pool A also consists of Cowden-Herrick/Beecher City, Brownstown/St. Elmo and South Central. CH/BC is the top seed, while B/SE is fourth, North Clay fifth and South Central eighth. 

CH/BC is 7-4, while B/SE is 7-6, Newton is 7-5 and Dieterich is 1-5, while Arcola is 3-7. 

"The seeding was won early, and most teams have only played a few games this year," said Williams on who he thought the top teams are. "Some teams have played a tougher schedule, and the record may not be better than other teams who have not played as many quality teams. This, along with early season injuries, make it difficult to truly evaluate the teams."

One team that has had several injuries is Arcola as Olivia Key, a 6-1 junior, is out with a knee injury. Freshman KayLee Hohlbauch, 5-11, leads the team in scoring at 12.0 points and 9.7 rebounds per contest. 

The Lady Riders average 31.6 points and allow 42.4. Their victories have been against Chrisman, Urbana University High and Cumberland. 

Riggleman averages a double-double for the Lady Warriors. 

"Riggleman works hard on this part of her game (rebounding), and she has a nose for the ball," said Williams. "The key is we must to continue to defend and share the basketball. If we do this, we will be competitive."

Williams said the team has been focusing on defense, rebounding and end-of-game execution.

Newton is the defending champion, having defeated North Clay 62-26 in the championship. Newton enters on a five-game winning streak and averages 42.9 points per game while allowing 41.9. 

South Central lost to North Clay 46-6 and to CH/BC 56-13 as well as Brownstown/St. Elmo 56-22. 

B/SE averages 49.6 points per game and allows 47.8, while CH/BC averages 46.8 and allows 42.0. Dieterich's lone win was against Sandoval/Odin 39-38. They average 33.1 points while allowing 53.1 per contest. 

Returning from the all-tournament team include Abby Frohning and Kaitlyn Cohorst of Newton and Warner of Casey.

Monticello Hoopla Tournament

Neoga, 8-6, is in the Gold Pool with Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley, Stark County and Paxton-Buckley-Loda. The Lady Indians are led by Blair Banning, who was on the all-tournament team last year. She averages 15. 6 points per game. Neoga averages 44.9 points per game and allows 41.4. 

"I like the tournament because of the fact that we see some great competition, but we don't see anyone that's on our regular season schedule," said Neoga coach Kim Romack. "It's also nice for our fans to be able to go up and watch both the girls and boys. They do a great job running the tournament."

The Purple Pool consists of Monticello, Argenta-Oreana, Ridgeview and Tuscola. 

Eight of Neoga's opponents were held to 40 points or less. 

"Our strength has been our defense so far," said Romack. "We've made great strides, but we still have things to work on. The best thing with this team so far is their ability to make in-game adjustments."

Neoga enters on a three-game losing streak. 

"We continue to work on our defense, but we are also spending a lot of time shooting," said Romack. "We have to find ways to score a little more than we are."

On Friday, Neoga plays the first game at 10 a.m. against GCMS after playing PBL at 2 p.m. Thursday. The Lady Indians plays the last game Friday at 7:30 p.m. against Stark County to end the pool play. 

"That big of a break isn't a great thing on the second day, but we are used to it," said Romack. "We make the best of it and head into Champaign to get some lunch and hang out before going back for the nightcap."

Monticello is 8-0 and averages 59.8 points per game while allowing 38 per contest. Argenta-Oreana is 2-6 averaging 38.3 and allowing 56.6. The Lady Sages are the defending champions, having defeated Ridgeview 49-21. 

Ridgeview is coached by Arcola grad Scot Ghere and enters on a four-game winning streak. Their only loss was to Cissna Park 47-44. The Lady Mustangs average 51.5 points per game while allowing 30.6. All-tournament player Mya Tinsley, a junior, is back for Ridgeview. 

Tuscola, 10-1, enters on a nine-game winning streak, with its only loss occurring Nov. 16 to Tri-County 45-39. The Lady Warriors average 53.3 points per game while allowing 31.5. All-tournament team player Natalie Bates, a junior, is back. 

Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley is 7-4 and averages 42.2 points per game while allowing 35.6. Stark County is 4-4 and averages 41.3 while allowing 36.8.

Paxton-Buckley-Loda is 8-4 and returns all-tournament team player Liberty Jamison. The Lady Panthers average 40.6 and allow 35.3.

The eight teams combine for a 57-25 (.687) record, with only one team below .500. 

"This tournament is usually very competitive, and several teams have a chance to be playing in the late game (Dec. 30)," said Romack. "We need to focus on us and continue to look for ways to get a little more scoring."

The championship is set for 5:30 p.m. Dec. 30.

Arthur Okaw Christian Holiday Classic

A total of eight teams are in the tournament, an increase of four from last year when AOC won the round-robin. 

Other teams in the tournament are Calumet Christian School from Griffith, Ind.; Families of Faith Christian Academy of Channahon; Galilean Christian Academy of Liberty, Ky.; Illinois CRU Homeschool of Chicago; Mid-Missouri Homeschool of Columbia, Mo.; Mountain Top Christian Academy of Horicon, Wis.; and Wabash Valley Homeschool of Terre Haute, Ind. 

The Conquering Riders are 7-4 and average 36.6 points per game while allowing 35.5. Their losses have been to Okaw Valley, Sangamon Valley/Tri-City, Tri-County and Meridian. 

Lillian Messmore averages 8.8 points per game, while Savanna Spitz is at 8.1 for AOC.

Games are to be played at three courts, including the new one at Arthur Okaw Christian. Other games are to be played at Arthur-Lovington-Atwood-Hammond in both gyms. All games played in the AOC gym are to be streamed on

The championship is set for 1 p.m. Dec. 30 at Arthur Okaw Christian. 


Sports writer

Mike Monahan covers area sports for the JG-TC.

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