MIT features diverse tournament
The McLouth Invitational again will feature a wide range of schools when the tournament opens Tuesday in the MHS gymnasium.
Boys basketball squads from classes 2A through 4A will appear in this year's bracket.
MHS athletics director Tom Pierce said pairings would be decided today. Because there are four Delaware Valley League squads in the tourney, seeds will be distributed as Nos. 1 through 4 for both DVL teams and non-DVL teams. The two groups of four then will be criss-crossed so that no league teams face each other in the first round.
"That seemed to work pretty well doing it that way last year," Pierce said.
Next week's field is nearly the same as last year's lineup, with the exception of one school. Bishop Ward replaces Cair Paravel at this year's tournament.
Returning to the tourney for another year are Atchison County, Jefferson County North, Maranatha Academy, McLouth, Oskaloosa, Perry-Lecompton and Valley Falls.
Quarterfinals will be Tuesday, while semifinals will be played Jan. 21 and finals Jan. 22. Losers bracket games also will be played on those dates.
For the host Bulldogs, a win at their home tournament would be well-received. McLouth led Oskaloosa until the third quarter on Monday and couldn't recover in the fourth. That would have been McLouth's first win of the season.
"When we went into break, we had some really competitive practices during break and that helped us coming out of break," MHS coach Chad Brown said. "We made a lot of strides from where we were before. Honestly, we knew we had a lot of questions going into this season."
McLouth only returned two varsity players from last season, so this year certainly has been a work in progress.
Even with the young squad, Brown said the team is getting shots -- they're just not falling.
"Right now our weakness is shooting percentage," Brown said. "We're getting good shots, but not getting them to go in.
"Once we get that up, we'll be doing a little better."
The McLouth Invitational just might give the Bulldogs a chance at improving those statistics.
"It should be a really competitive tournament," Brown said.