By Jim Rueda
Free Press Sports Editor
It’s tournament time in southern Minnesota and we’re not talking section playoffs or state championships.
It’s holiday tournament time and a large number of area teams will be bouncing basketballs or skating across ice and multiple venues.
The showcase event in Mankato is the Pepsi Holiday Boys Basketball Tournament hosted by Bethany Lutheran College. Mankato Loyola will compete in that one, which begins at 6 p.m. today.
The Crusaders will take on pre-tournament favorite Maple River in the first round (6 p.m., Younge Gym). The eight-team tourney continues Friday and concludes with the 8:30 p.m. championship game on Saturday.
The Mankato East boys began play in the Marshall Fastbreak Club Holiday Tournament Wednesday. The six-team competition ends Friday.
The Mankato West boys will participate in the Worthington Daily Globe Holiday Tournament beginning at 6 p.m. today. The three-day, four-team competition includes Perham, Worthington and Sibley East.
Other area boys basketball tourneys include The Federated Insurance Tournament in Owatonna, the St. James Area Holiday Tournament and the Mountain Lake Area Tournament, the Windom Holiday Classic and the St. Peter Holiday Tournament. St. Peter’s event is a two-day, four-team tournament being hosted by the third-ranked Class AA team in the state.
On the girls side, St. Clair is hosting its annual eight-team event. Minnesota Valley Lutheran, ranked in the Top 10 in the state in Class A, is the favorite. The competition runs today through Saturday.
The Mountain Lake Area and St. James Area tournaments also begin today. St. Peter hosts a two-day competition beginning Friday.
Windom’s Holiday Classic and the Norwood Young America Tournament will be held Friday and Saturday. The Mankato East and Mankato West girls teams are not involved in tournaments over the break.
The Mankato East boys hockey team began play in the River Lake Holiday Tournament in Paynesville on Wednesday. The eight-team competition culminates with the championship game at 7:30 p.m. Friday.
The Mankato West boys hockey team is at the Marshall Hilltopper Holiday Classic in Duluth today through Saturday. Class A’s 15th-ranked Scarlets are matched up against Notre Dame in today’s first round at 5:45 p.m.
Notre Dame is rated No. 1 in Wisconsin. Delano, Minnesota’s 16th-ranked Class A team, is also in the field.
The Mankato East/Loyola girls hockey team, rated fourth in the state in Class A, is at the Blaine Schwan’s Super Rink Holiday Tournament. The event begins today.
The Cougars take on the Bismarck Blizzard in the first round and Dodge County in the second round. East/Loyola wraps up the competition sometime on Saturday.
Jim Rueda is the Free Press sports editor. To contact him, call 344-6381 or e-mail him at email@example.com.