MLK Hoops Action To Dominate The Stateline

ROCKFORD - The brakes have been applied to NIC-10 boys basketball competition this weekend while teams pause for action in Martin Luther King holiday tournaments.

Hononegah will be hosting it's MLK tournament for the 15th year. There will be a field of six teams. Boylan is the new addition this year. DeKalb is the third local team involved. The other three teams are an impressive group Neuqua Valley, Normal Community and Normal West.

"We've got two teams in the tournament that won major Christmas Tournaments. Four teams in the tournament that are at least tied for first place in their conferences. It's going to be a great weekend of basketball!," says Hononegah head coach Mike Miller.

Hononegah's first game will be against a powerhouse Normal West team at 12:30 Saturday afternoon. Normal West won the Pekin Holiday Tournament. Normal West is ranked seventh in the state in Class 4A and its top player is one of the top college prospects in the country 6-9 junior Francis Okoro. He has already has offers from Kansas and Illinois.

"Okoro is probably as close to Patrick Ewing as you'll see at the high school level," says Miller.  "He's a 6-9 athlete. You can see he's really good now, but you can see five years from now he's going to be off the charts."

At Rockford Jefferson there will be more MLK tournament action Saturday and Monday.  11 varsity teams and several sophomore teams will play there. The NIC-10 teams participating will be Jefferson, Belvidere, Harlem and  Guilford. The other schools are Woodstock Marian, Elgin Larkin, New Trier, Johnsburg, South Elgin, Batavia and Milwaukee.

"We're excited with the teams we have coming in," says Jefferson coach Todd Brannan. "A number of teams with big-time players and big-time recruits. The schools individually have great traditions so we're looking forward to an exciting weekend of basketball."

The J-Hawks are currently leading the NIC-10 with a 7-1 conference record, half a game ahead of Boylan, but Brannan thinks the J-Hawks are capable of playing better.

"There have been glimpses (of what they could be) here and there. There's been times when we've shot the ball really well, but maybe we haven't defended like we need to or maybe we haven't rebounded like we need to. I definitely feel that our best basketball is ahead of us."

South Beloit will also host a boys MLK Tournament. DeKalb will host a girls tournament.

HONONEGAH MLK SCHEDULE
Saturday, January 13
9:30 a.m. DeKalb vs. Boylan
11:00 a.m. Neuqua Valley vs. Normal Community
12:30 p.m. Hononegah vs. Normal West
3:30 p.m. Boylan vs. Neuqua Valley
5:00 p.m. Normal West vs. DeKalb
6:30 p.m. Normal Community vs. Hononegah
Monday, January 15
9:30 a.m. Normal West vs. Boylan
11:00 a.m. Hononegah vs. Neuqua Valley
12:30 p.m. Normal Community vs. DeKalb
3:30 p.m. Neuqua Valley vs. Normal West
5:00 p.m. Boylan vs. Normal Community
6:30 p.m. DeKalb vs. Hononegah

ROCKFORD JEFFERSON MLK TOURNAMENT
Saturday, January 13
9 a.m. Marian vs. Harlem
10:30 a.m. Belvidere vs. Marian
Noon Harlem vs. Larkin and Batavia vs. South Elgin
1:30 p.m. Guilford vs. New Trier
3:00 p.m. Johnsburg vs. Jefferson and Larkin vs Belvidere
6:00 p.m. New Trier vs. Johnsburg
6:00 p.m. Marian vs. Guilford (at Guilford)
7:00 p.m. Jefferson vs. Batavia

Monday, January 15
10:30 a.m. Larkin vs. Marian and Batavia vs. Guilford (at Guilford)
Noon Winnebago vs. Harlem and Johnsburg vs. Belvidere
1:30 p.m. Jefferson vs. Milwaukee and Marian vs. South Elgin
3:00 p.m. New Trier vs. Larkin
4:30 p.m. South Elgin vs. Jefferson and Johnsburg vs. Guilford (at Guilford)
6:00 p.m. Harlem vs. New Trier
 


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