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Here’s a look at the five early-season tournaments (listed chronologically) our basketball coverage schools will take part in.
1. Lady Falcon/Bunnie Tip-Off Classic — The eight-team girls basketball tournament co-hosted by Fisher and Gibson City-Melvin-Sibley is split up into two pools. Fisher opens the season at 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 12, against Dwight at Fisher, with Bunnie Pool play games at 7:30 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 13, against Villa Grove and at 7:30 p.m. on Thursday, Nov. 15, against Paxton-Buckley-Loda. On Friday, Nov. 16, the seventh-place game is at 6 p.m. at Fisher, the fifth-place game is at 7:30 p.m. at Fisher, the third-place game is at 6 p.m. at GCMS and the championship game is at 7:30 p.m. at GCMS. GCMS, Danville Schlarman, Iroquois West and St. Joseph-Ogden are in the Falcon Pool.
2. Timberwolf Tip-Off — Cissna Park hosts the eight-team girls basketball tournament that Armstrong-Potomac is in. The Trojans will start the season at 5 p.m. on Nov. 13, against Clifton Central before squaring off against Tri-Point at 5 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 14, and Watseka at 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 15. A-P will play twice on Saturday, Nov. 17, and it depends how the Trojans finish up Silver Pool play. The host Timberwolves, Donovan, Kankakee and Momence make up the Navy Pool.
3. Blue Star Country Classic — The sixth annual round-robin girls basketball tournament features 10 teams, including Rantoul Township High School. The Eagles’ season opener comes at 5:15 p.m. on Nov. 15 at St. Thomas More against Urbana, and the Eagles will then play four games in the next five days at three different sites. RTHS plays Monticello in the Sages’ Robert Miller Gymnasium at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 16 before making the quick turnaround to play Champaign Central at 9 a.m. on Nov. 17 at Parkland College. RTHS continues play at 5:15 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 19, against Danville at St. Thomas More before closing out the tournament at 5:15 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 20, against Bismarck-Henning at St. Thomas More. Other teams at the tournament are Champaign Centennial, Mahomet-Seymour and Springfield Southeast.
4. GCMS Thanksgiving Tournament — Both RTHS and Fisher are in the 41st annual eight-team tournament that runs the week of Thanksgiving. RTHS is in the Red Pool while Fisher is in the Black Pool. Fisher tips off its season the first night of the tournament, Nov. 19, at 6:30 p.m. against Prairie Central. RTHS starts at 5 p.m. on Nov. 20 against Serena. Fisher continues play at 6 p.m. on Wednesday, Nov. 21, against Roanoke-Benson while RTHS follows at 7:30 p.m. against Tri-Point.
On the final day of pool play, Friday, Nov. 23, RTHS will play Blue Ridge at 5:30 p.m., with Fisher facing off against rival GCMS at 7 p.m. The final day of the tournament is Saturday, Nov. 24, with the seventh-place game at 2 p.m., the fifth-place game at 3:30 p.m., the third-place game at 5:30 p.m. and the championship game at 7 p.m.
5. Interstate Classic — The eight-team tournament will feature A-P boys basketball. The Trojans’ season debut is at 7:30 p.m. on Nov. 19 at PBL against the host Panthers. A-P plays at 6 p.m. on Nov. 20 against Tri-Valley at PBL before playing rival Oakwood at 6 p.m. on Nov. 23 at PBL. Beecher, Grant Park, Manteno and Peotone are the other four schools who will play their pool play games at Manteno. The final day of the tournament is Nov. 24 at PBL, with the seventh-place game at 1 p.m., the fifth-place game at 2:30 p.m., the third-place game at 4 p.m. and the championship game at 5:30 p.m.