Once again, boys basketball fans will have the chance to get their fill of hoops right after they celebrate Christmas.
The Catholic Spirit Christmas Basketball Tournament begins Dec. 27 and runs for three days, with the finals at 8:15 p.m. Dec. 29. As usual, there will be eight teams, with four games each day. The tournament will take place at the Anderson Athletic and Recreational Complex at the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul.
Last year’s winner returns
Six of last year’s teams are returning, including the champion, Wayzata, and the runnerup, Cretin-Derham Hall in St. Paul. Other returnees are Holy Angels in Richfield, St. Agnes in St. Paul, Hill-Murray in Maplewood and Providence Academy in Plymouth.
Wayzata has won the tournament two years in a row and Cretin-Derham Hall has finished second both times.
“I think Cretin’s team is a lot younger this year than they have been,” said tournament organizer Bill McKee, who coaches at Augsburg College in Minneapolis. “But, they’ve got [sophomore Sam] Neumann who started last year as a freshman.
He’s going to be a tough matchup for anybody. He’s a nice player.”
Two teams are new this year — Rosemount and Milwaukee Bay View. McKee said the Wisconsin school was looking for a holiday tournament and called him when the coach found out there were openings for this year’s tournament. McKee said the school features one player who is a Division I recruit.
Rosemount, meanwhile, had an overall record of 11-16 last year.
The tournament schedule for Day 1 is as follows:
- Wayzata vs. Hill-Murray, 3 p.m.;
- Rosemount vs. Providence Academy, 4:45 p.m.;
- Cretin-Derham Hall vs. St. Agnes, 6:30 p.m.;
- Milwaukee Bay View vs. Holy Angels, 8:15 p.m.
Game times for Days 2 and 3 are the same, with losing teams playing each other in the early games on Day 2, and winning teams playing later.
Then, on Day 3, there will be games for seventh place (3 p.m.), fifth place (4:45 p.m.), third place (6:30 p.m.) and first place (championship game, 8:15 p.m.).
McKee has coached two teams that have played in the tournament, Cretin-Derham Hall and Blaine, and won championships with both teams.
Cretin-Derham Hall’s last championship came in 2009, and the Raiders have won the tournament a total of six times (more than any other team), and have finished second six times.
In fact, they have failed to reach the championship game only three times. They played Rosemount twice last season, winning once and losing once.