Previewing York’s Jack Tosh holiday tournament

The Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York has been raising its profile and gaining in prestige recently.

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St. Ignatius’ Richard Barron drives the ball past Gonzaga.

St. Ignatius’ Richard Barron drives the ball past Gonzaga.

Kirsten Stickney/For the Sun-Times

The Jack Tosh Holiday Classic at York has been raising its profile and gaining in prestige recently.

The massive 32-team tournament even has a preview show on YouTube featuring Max Christie of the Lakers and Max Strus of the Heat, who both played in the event.

York (Jack Tosh)

When: Dec. 26-30

Team to beat: Rolling Meadows

A terrific and fun team to watch with a big-time talent in Cameron Christie. Rolling Meadows has been out of the limelight a bit over the first month of the season, but the Mustangs are ready to impress.

Christie, one of the state’s very best, is a versatile 6-6 guard headed to Minnesota. He meshes so well with an impressive supporting cast that has endless size, led by 6-7 Tsvet Sotirov and 6-7 Mark Nikolich-Wilson.

Top challengers: St. Ignatius and Lyons

There were some unknowns for a promising St. Ignatius team when the season began. But as the first month of the season has played out, many of those unknowns have been answered.

Richard Barron and Jackson Kotecki, the two Division I standouts, remain the bookend seniors, while junior Reggie Ray and sophomore Phoenix Gill have provided a big boost.

Lyons, led by the still underrated Nik Polonowski, is looking to make a statement. The Lions are unbeaten on the year and are a legitimate threat at York.

Darkhorses: Lemont, St. Patrick and Bolingbrook

Lemont has a winning formula with the backcourt of Matas and Rokas Castillo. Those two veteran guards have led their team to a perfect 10-0 start.

St. Patrick could be an early test for Rolling Meadows; the two ranked teams could meet in the second round.

Bolingbrook, led by Mekhi Cooper, has been up and down but is always dangerous.

Five players to watch: Cameron Christie, Rolling Meadows; Richard Barron, St. Ignatius; Asa Thomas, Lake Forest; Mekhi Cooper, Bolingbrook; Matas Castillo, Lemont

Underrated player to watch: Luke Williams, Naperville North

Williams is well known in football circles with Big Ten offers. But the 6-2 guard is in the midst of putting together an outstanding season. The physical Williams is just a junior but is putting up some significant numbers. Williams is averaging 20.5 points, five rebounds, 2.8 assists and 3.8 steals a game while shooting 39 percent from the three-point line.

Storyline to follow: How long can the unbeaten runs last?

Yes, everyone has Rolling Meadows and St. Ignatius as the favorites. But two of the very few remaining unbeaten teams in the Chicago area intend to be road blocks to the favorites: Lemont and Lyons.

No matter who Lyons faces in the first three rounds of the tournament, the Lions will be favored. With three tournament wins it would likely meet St. Ignatius in the semifinals.

Lemont’s road to getting a shot at Rolling Meadows would likely include facing Bolingbrook in the quarterfinals –– if coach Rick Runaas’ team can get past the first two rounds.

If Lemont is 13-0 heading into a semifinal showdown with Rolling Meadows? That would be a holiday tournament treat with a little drama for the fans at York.

Title game pick: Rolling Meadows over St. Ignatius

Jack Tosh bracket

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