By Kyle Daubs
Both the Charleston and Mattoon boys basketball teams will kick off their regular-season action in Thanksgiving tournaments this week. Mattoon will return to the Effingham St. Anthony Thanksgiving Tournament while Charleston heads to Paris.
Charleston is coming off an 81-56 win in the season opener over Georgetown-Ridge farm. The Trojans return to action today against South Vermillion, which is based out of Clinton, Indiana. South Vermillion beat Paris, 50-43, in its season-opener.
Last year, South Vermillion finished 11-13 in the regular season, but 5-2 in conference play. The team brings back leading scorer, senior Anthony Garzolini, who led the team with 14.0 points per game. Senior Peyton Hawkins returns as the leading rebounder at 7.7, as well as the lead assist man. Both are undersized at 6-foot-3 and 160 pounds.
On Friday, Charleston will take on Paris in the afternoon game. Paris was 6-8 last season and 2-7 in the Little Illini Conference. The Tigers lost their second-leading scorer from last year but returned senior Conor Breneman, who averaged 10.7 points and 7.5 rebounds. Paris graduated eight seniors overall.
The Trojans will finish the tournament against Mount Zion, who was 1-14 last year. With the upcoming matchups, Charleston has a chance to start off the year strong.
In Effingham, Mattoon will be challenged by three quality opponents. Rantoul is coming off a 69-42 loss to Teutopolis in the tournament opener. Last year, Rantoul went 0-10, including 0-8 in the tough Illini Prairie Conference. The team appears to bring back three starters from last year’s team.
After that, the Green Wave will take on Highland, who was 6-6 last year, including 6-4 in the Mississippi Valley Conference. Stats were unavailable, as well as a current roster. To cap off pool play, Mattoon will finish with Teutopolis, who finished 15-4 last year with a 7-4 mark in the Apollo Conference. The Wooden Shoes joined the conference on a one-year basis due to COVID-19.
T-Town defeated Mattoon 70-50 in the team’s lone matchup last year. Evan Wermet led the team in points with 20.0 points, as well as 5.2 rebounds, but has graduated, including standout guard Jordan Hardiek. However, the team brings back six seniors who played significant minutes.
Paris Boys Basketball Tournament Schedule
Tuesday: Charleston vs. South Vermillion – 5:30 pm
Friday: Charleston vs. Paris – 1:30 pm
Friday: Charleston vs. Mt. Zion – 4:30 pm
St. Anthony Boys Basketball Tournament Schedule
Tuesday: Mattoon vs. Rantoul – 5 pm
Wednesday: Mattoon vs. Highland – 5 pm
Friday: Teutopolis vs. Mattoon – 4:30 pm